Training Resources for the Environmental Community (TREC)




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2016):

Revenue: $1,696,875
Expenses: $1,624,088
Assets: $838,146




Activist Training Organization


Wendy Francis

Executive Director:

Megan Seibel

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Training Resources for the Environmental Community (TREC) is a left-of-center nonprofit which provides leadership and activism training for professional environmentalists. The organization credits the Wilburforce Foundation as its major financial supporter,1 though it has also received major support from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. 2

The organization provides coaching and consulting services to environmentalist groups based in western North America. It primarily operates in the United States and Canada. Beyond environmental work, the organization also touts a left-of-center agenda and claims that inequality and injustice played a role in the conservation movement in North America.


Training Resources for the Environmental Community provides leadership and activism training for professional environmentalists. Its primary funder is the Wilburforce Foundation. 3The Wilburforce Foundation, founded in 1991, is solely funded by Rose Letwin. After a successful career in technology, Letwin wanted to protect land, water and particularly wildlife. Wilburforce Foundation has given out more than $150 million in conservation grants across western North America since it was established. 4

The group carries out “coaching, consulting and targeted training” to leaders of local environmental advocacy groups to lead their community organizations and sells itself as “activists helping activists.” 5

Training Resources for the Environmental Community identifies priority regions in need to promoting wildlands and habitat. TREC consulting services can be available to organizations already receiving Wilburforce grants. However, Wilburforce contends that TREC training programs are aimed toward organizations with needs that exceed what grants provide. 6

TREC organizes around three separate levels—leaders, organizations and coalitions. TREC spends more than $1 million on training organizations to be effective, according to Charity Navigator. It spends another $340,663 on its leadership program, and $122,426 on its collaborative program. 7

It claims to shun traditional role of consulting because this is based on a presentation of specific problems and not sustained change. Instead, the group aims to focus local organizers in achieving long-term change for the green movement. Thus, TREC touts that it provides “capacity-building services” for small, local environmental groups that focuses on “readiness in leaders” and “campaigns that are poised or impact.” 8

Among the training sessions and webinars the organization conducts includes topics such as sustaining staff resilience and effectiveness, how to make working with a board worth an organization’s time and effort; and how to reach across the age gap from millennials to boomers to sell a environmentalist agenda items. But seminars are not limited to administrative and environmental matters—and veers into more politically correct matters. 9

Left-of-Center Social Policy

Training Resources for the Environmental Community produced a webinar titled, “Getting Woke and Staying Woke: What Does it Mean?” endorsing far-left-wing positions and rhetoric on social policies.

The course description states: “Being ‘woke,’ the state of being aware of and attentive to issues of racial and social justice, is a state you may or may not be in now–in this session, learn how to get there and stay there, and turn this attention into practice. This webinar focuses on key components of designing and implementing equitable practices. More specifically, we will examine the equity paradox: how we believe in equity, yet our behaviors and decisions don’t always reflect that belief.”

The course description continues, “Participants will leave with increased understanding of implicit bias and the mind science behind it. In addition, participants will leave with tools to begin and/or deepen equitable practices on an individual level.” 10

The organization denounces the history of “inequity and injustice in the United States and Canada,” but goes a step further to say “we acknowledge that this inequity and injustice are similarly interwoven into the history of the conservation movement.” It concludes, “We also acknowledge our own privilege as an organization.” 11

Therefore, TREC contends it has a “deep responsibility to actively leverage our resources and capabilities to amplify inclusion and equity in ourselves, in our operation, in our services, with our clients, and in our sector.” The organization pledges to maintain a diversity of staff with an inclusive culture. The website says, “we challenge ourselves to speak to the limitations and biases that inform our work.” For this, the organization is promoting ” diversity, equity and inclusion” program. 12

The organization also steers other environmental groups against “bias in fundraising,” by promoting fundraising among a more diverse group of donors. 13

The organization promotes the notion that colonialism still exists today in North America, and promotes the need to “decolonize.” The group argues that colonialism was harmful to the climate. The group also admits that some early conservationists had connections with segregationists and eugenicists. 14

A message in February 2019 from TREC Executive Director Megan Siebel stated: “We look to daylight ways that we are impacted by power and privilege in our work together . . . . We are also are actively changing our organizational systems to mitigate the influence of dominant culture. We have changed our staff hiring practices, our personnel manual and staff evaluation process, and we created a style guide for our communications.”

TREC says that it has carried this out in its training and consulting for other community-based environmental groups, by offering courses such as, “Crafting a DEI Case for Change,” “Mitigating Bias in Hiring,” and “Working Across the Values Divide” as well as the woke and the colonialism courses. 15



Environmental activist Wendy Francis is the president of the Training Resources for the Environmental Community board. Francis, a resident of Banff, Alberta, was the founding conservation director for Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society in Calgary. In 1991, then-Alberta Environment Minister Ralph Klein named Francis to a panel that developed new environmental protection legislation for the province. 16

Executive Director

Megan Seibel became the executive director of TREC in 2015 after 10 years with the organization. She was previously the director of finance. She has more than three decades’ experience in nonprofit management—mostly working for other environmentalist groups at the local, state and national level. 17

Board of Directors

Diana Toledo is the vice president of TREC’s board of directors. A resident of Asheville, N.C., Toledo is the leadership development director at the River Network, a group that advocates for preserving rivers and waterways. She has worked for more than 20 years in nonprofit advocacy. 18

Kim Gilliam, the secretary/treasurer of the TREC board, was a community organizer at Volunteers in Service to America in North Dakota. He also ran development for the Southern Environmental Law Center. In 2003, he set up a private consulting firm for environmental organizations. He is also currently the board chairman for Appalachian Voices, an environmentalist group opposing coal mining in southern Appalachians. 19

Liz Bense, another TREC board member, is also the vice president of Resource Media. Bense is the author of Seeing is Believing: A Guide to Visual Storytelling Best Practices. 20

David Lamfrom, the director of the California Desert and Wildlife Programs, is also a TREC board member. 21

Annie Callender, who worked for TREC since 2012, is the operations director, leading a team on strategy and planning. Callender has close to 20 years of experience with nonprofit groups. 22


Kellie Richardson is a senior associate for Training Resources for the Environmental Community concentrating on the diversity, equity and inclusion initiative of the organization. Richardson is a certified racial justice trainer, and has two decades experience consulting organizations on diversity initiatives from nonprofit and corporate sector. She joined TREC in 2019. 23

Joe Golinveaux, a resident of Oakland, California, has been the finance manager and program specialist with TREC since 2016. 24

Kristie Chester Vance has been an associate at TREC since 2017. She is part of the leadership development team, where she focuses on training and coaching. Vance previously worked for 16 years at—an environmental group formerly known as Forest Ethics. While there, she led a team to push companies to oppose fossil fuels and protect 65 million acres of forests. Vance is also the co-founder of MOMS, which is a group dedicated to “stopping chemical contamination of children.” A resident of Bozeman, Montana, she is the co-founder a public relations firm, Half-Full Communications. 25

Katie Davis, an associate, focuses on TREC’s clients’ organizational effectiveness. A resident of Bend, Oregon, she has more than two decades experience in nonprofits and held various roles in other nonprofits, such as executive director, and communications director. 26

Don Elder is a senior associate at TREC, after working at the group since 2011, with about 30 years of previous conservation work experience. The Portland, Oregon resident was previously the founding executive director of the Cahaba River Society, the co-founder of the Alabama River Alliance and was the development director for the Nature Conservancy in Alabama. 27

Cyndi Harris, a senior associate with TREC, focuses on leadership development. She joined the organization in 2010, and has 30 years’ experience in nonprofit organizations. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 28

Cliff Jones, a consultant and trainer for TREC, came to the organization in 2018 for his second run there. He has been a coach in diversity matters for businesses, government agencies and nonprofit groups and is a co-founder of Tools for Diversity, which provides a multi-cultural training curriculum for organizations. 29

Julian Griggs, a consultant, facilitator and trainer for TREC was a founding principal of the Dovetail Consulting Group in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has more than 20 years of training and management experience. 30

Ellie Stanley is a senior associate for TREC. She began an animal welfare organization two decades ago, and grew interested in protecting wildlife. She has been with TREC since 2009 where she focuses on strategic planning. 31

David Thomson, a senior associate, has been with TREC almost since its beginning—starting in 1999. He works with the Organizational Effectiveness Program and Leadership Development programs for TREC that provide training for community organizations. He has 30 years of training experience in the private sector and government. 32


  1. Mission. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  2. Data compiled by FoundationSearch subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the IRS. Queries conducted May 30, 2019.
  3. Mission. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  4. About Us. Wilburforce Foundation. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  5. Facebook Page. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  6. Grants. Wilburforce Foundation. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  7. TREC. Charitable Navigator. May 14, 2019.
  8. Mission. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  9. Upcoming Events for Wilburforce Grantees. TREC. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  10. Getting Woke and Staying Woke. TREC. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  11. Diversity, Equity Inclusion. TREC. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  12. Diversity, Equity Inclusion. TREC. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  13. Addressing Bias in Fundraising: Developing an Inclusive Individual Giving Program. TREC. May 14, 2019.
  14. Colonialism and the History of Conservatism. TREC. May 14, 2019.
  15. DEI Update and Welcome Kellie to TREC. TREC. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  16. Wendy Frances. President. TREC. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  17. Megan Seibel. Executive Director. TREC. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  18. Diana Toledo. TREC. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  19. Kim Gilliam. TREC. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  20. Liz Bense. TREC. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  21. David Lamfrom. TREC. May 14, 2019.
  22. Annie Callender. Operations Director. TREC. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  23. Kellie Richardson. TREC. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  24. Joe Golinveaux. TREC. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  25. Kristi Chester Vance. TREC. May 14, 2019.
  26. Katie Davis. TREC. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  27. Don Elder. TREC. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  28. Cyndi Harris. TREC. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  29. Cliff Jones. TREC. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  30. Julian Griggs. TREC. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  31. Ellie Stanley. TREC. Accessed May 14, 2019.
  32. David Thomson. TREC. Accessed May 14, 2019.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 1998

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Dec Form 990 $1,696,875 $1,624,088 $838,146 $124,813 N $1,622,203 $71,039 $728 $189,175
    2015 Dec Form 990 $1,568,781 $1,539,572 $735,265 $94,719 N $1,475,015 $92,892 $762 $376,834 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $1,534,691 $1,491,150 $712,544 $101,207 N $1,452,448 $81,410 $833 $339,842 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $1,393,722 $1,474,144 $648,738 $80,942 N $1,360,581 $31,971 $854 $292,077 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $1,395,891 $1,453,092 $709,761 $61,543 N $1,306,900 $87,583 $1,408 $305,119 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $1,408,691 $1,345,441 $787,646 $82,227 N $1,255,250 $149,583 $5,199 $311,951 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Training Resources for the Environmental Community (TREC)

    SANTA FE, NM 87501-0000