Non-profit

Western Conservation Foundation

Website:

www.wcfnd.org

Location:

DENVER, CO

Tax ID:

33-1107506

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $10,310,253
Expenses: $10,884,535
Assets: $4,517,280

Formation:

2005

Chief Executive Officer:

Brandon Cechovic

Western Conservation Foundation is an environmentalist group based in Denver that provides grants to like-minded organizations in the western United States.[1] The group informs the public of actions taken by public officials that it claims hurt the natural resources of the West, often putting it at odds with the energy sector.[2]

Some ranchers have accused the foundation of using subversive tactics to get its message across.[3]

Initiatives

The foundation worked in conjunction with the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in the conservation of habitats of the lesser prairie chicken in the West.[4] It was the work of such conservationists that helped convince the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to consider the chicken a threatened species, which greatly restricts where the oil and gas industry can work – with fines as much as $45,000 for disturbing an acre of lesser prairie chicken habitat.[5]

On June 24, 2014, Bill Eikenberry, describing himself as a “third-generation Wyoming rancher,” posted an op-ed in The Hill calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the U.S. rule-making proposal “balanced water policy” and criticized the American Farm Bureau Federation’s “misleading” opposition to it. He claimed most of his colleagues were for the proposal.[6] But Range Magazine discovered that Eikenberry had sold his family farm years ago and was funded by the Western Voices Project, a featured funding recipient of the Western Conservation Foundation.[7]

People

Brandon Cechovic serves as CEO and was paid total compensation of $198,817 in 2014, according to its IRS 990 form. Six other members on staff also earn at least $100,000, according to that document.[8]

Cechovic took the job in 2013 after serving for eight years as the executive director of Washington Conservation Voters, the state of Washington’s environmental establishment lobby.[9]

Chris Killingsworth is the president of the board of directors. She also serves on the board of directors of the Conservation Lands Foundation[10], and is vice president of the Wyss Foundation, another group focusing on environmentalist policy in the American West. She previously worked for the Bureau of Land Management and Department of Interior.[11]

Funding

The foundation reported $10,445,183 in revenue and $9,694,933 in expenses on its IRS 990 form for 2015.[12] It used $426,448 of that for lobbying purposes in 2014.[13]

The foundation doesn’t report its donors, as is permitted under federal tax law, but some funders have been identified through other filings. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation gave $2.5 million in 2014, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation gave $500,000 and the Wyss Foundation provided about $3 million total from 2007-2009.[14]

Recent grant recipients have included Arizona Council of Trout Unlimited, Organizers in the Land of Enchantment and the labor-union-aligned Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.[15] The foundation reported on its 2015 IRS 990 form giving to such left-leaning groups as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington ($5,000), Common Cause Foundation ($5,000), Environment America ($31,000) and Hispanic Access Foundation ($238,164).[16]

 

References

  1. Idealist: Western Conservation Foundation. Accessed May 4, 2017. https://www.idealist.org/en/nonprofit/f02e597dac6342909097a55f336e2069-western-conservation-foundation-denver
  2. Guidestar: Western Conservation Foundation IRS form 990 for 2015. Accessed May 4, 2017. http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2015/331/107/2015-331107506-0d475bb6-9.pdf.
  3. Skinner, Dave. “Identify Your Enemies.” Range Magazine. Winter 2015 issue. Accessed May 5, 2017. http://www.rangemagazine.com/features/winter-15/range-wi15-identify-your-enemies.pdf.
  4. Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies: Conservation Plan and Certificate of Participation. Accessed May 5, 2017. http://www.wafwa.org/Documents%20and%20Settings/37/Site%20Documents/Initiatives/Lesser%20Prairie%20Chicken/Landowner%20Enrollment%20Materials/WAFWA_Conservation_Plan_and_Certificate_of_Participation_term(02-09-15)-DJW.PDF.
  5. Perry, Travis. “Prairie chicken killing jobs in western Kansas.” Watchdog.org June 18, 2014. Accessed May 5, 2017. http://watchdog.org/154984/prairie-chicken-killing-jobs/.
  6. Eikenberry, Bill. “Ranchers and farmers for new EPA water rule.” The Hill. June 24, 2014. Accessed May 5, 2017. http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/energy-environment/210244-ranchers-and-farmers-for-new-epa-water-rule.
  7. Skinner, Dave. “Identify Your Enemies.” Range Magazine. Winter 2015 issue. Accessed May 5, 2017. http://www.rangemagazine.com/features/winter-15/range-wi15-identify-your-enemies.pdf.
  8. Guidestar: Western Conservation Foundation IRS form 990 for 2015. Accessed May 4, 2017. http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2015/331/107/2015-331107506-0d475bb6-9.pdf.
  9. Connelly, Joel. “Conservation lobby: A change at the top.” SeatllePI. October 8, 2013. Accessed May 4, 2017. http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/2013/10/08/conservation-lobby-a-change-at-the-top/.
  10. Conservation Lands Foundation: Board of Directors. Accessed May 5, 2017. http://conservationlands.org/home/who-we-are/board-of-directors.
  11. Southern Utah University: Interview with Chris Killingsworth. February 15, 2012. Accessed May 5, 2017. http://archive.li.suu.edu/docs/ms130/OH/killingsworth.pdf.
  12. Guidestar: Western Conservation Foundation IRS form 990 for 2015. Accessed May 4, 2017. http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2015/331/107/2015-331107506-0d475bb6-9.pdf.
  13. Guidestar: Western Conservation Foundation IRS form 990 for 2015. Accessed May 4, 2017. http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2015/331/107/2015-331107506-0d475bb6-9.pdf.
  14. Skinner, Dave. “Identify Your Enemies.” Range Magazine. Winter 2015 issue. Accessed May 5, 2017. http://www.rangemagazine.com/features/winter-15/range-wi15-identify-your-enemies.pdf.
  15. Western Conservation Foundation: Featured Funding Recipients. Accessed May 4, 2017. http://www.wcfnd.org/featuredfunding.html#.
  16. Guidestar: Western Conservation Foundation IRS form 990 for 2015. Accessed May 4, 2017. http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2015/331/107/2015-331107506-0d475bb6-9.pdf.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 2005

  • 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 $10,310,253 $10,884,535 $4,517,280 $838,831 N $10,302,680 $0 $7,573 $347,183
    2015 Dec Form 990 $10,445,183 $9,694,933 $4,761,637 $508,906 N $10,431,852 $0 $7,237 $336,316 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $8,175,481 $7,765,651 $4,225,528 $723,047 N $8,169,957 $0 $7,184 $279,881 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $5,876,963 $7,029,523 $3,778,270 $685,619 N $5,869,990 $0 $6,973 $334,145 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $7,900,844 $6,990,645 $4,468,499 $223,288 N $7,890,568 $0 $10,276 $323,327 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $6,618,773 $7,882,104 $3,930,521 $595,509 N $6,590,800 $0 $19,293 $330,188 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Western Conservation Foundation

    1536 WYNKOOP ST STE 410
    DENVER, CO 80202-1375