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May 13, 2022


Executive Compensation at the Nature Conservancy (2020)

by Anne Paddock

The Nature Conservancy – a 501 (c) (3) based in Arlington, Virginia – whose mission is “to conserve land and waters on which all life depends” has been around since 1951 and is one of the most popular and wealthy non-profits in the country.

There are 20 voting members (directors) of the governing body, 17 of whom are independent, although the Form 990 lists 26 directors (due to timing differences) – 15 (58%) of whom are male and 11 (42%).of whom are female.

The most recent financial information (the 2019 IRS Form 990 for the year ending June 30, 2020) reports the organization raised $1.1 billion (compared to $1 billion in 2019 and $1.2 billion in 2018) and spent $900 million. The difference between revenue raised and revenue spent was $200 million which along with nearly $75 million in net unrealized gains on investments and other changes in assets helped increase net fund assets from $6.7 billion at the beginning of the year to nearly $7.1 billion at the end of the year. Many people see the Nature Conservancy as an organization that raises nearly a billion dollars a year and therefore has high staff costs. 4,091 persons were employed during the 2019-2020 year (compared to 4,185 in 2019 and 4,099 in 2018) with total staff compensation reported to be $415 million which equates to an average compensation package of $101,000 per employee.  757 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation.  $13 million was paid to the following 26 staff (representing July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020):

  • $1,206,765:  Brian McPeek, Chief Conservation Officer (thru 7/2019)
  • $  858,875:  Charles Bedford, Regional Director
  • $  749,530:  Seema Paul, Managing Director
  • $  638,603:  James Willis Asp, Chief Development Officer
  • $  531,473:  Mark Tercek, Director, President, and CEO (thru 7/2019)
  • $  530,607:  Wisla Heneghan, Chief Operating Officer
  • $  469,036:  David Banks, Interim Chief Conservation Officer
  • $  453,927:  Santiago Gowland, EVP
  • $  449,913:  Marc Touitou, CIO (thru 11/2019)
  • $  446,519:  Richard Loomis, Chief Marketing Officer
  • $  437,465:  Michael Sweeney, State Director
  • $  436,200:  William Ulfelder, NY Executive Director
  • $  425,757:  Giulio Boccaletti, CSO and Global Ambassador of Water
  • $  424,235:  Maria Damanaki, Global Managing Director for Oceans
  • $  414,137:  Mark Burget, EVP and Regional Director (thru 3/2020)
  • $  409,906:  Lynn Scarlett, Co-Chief External Affairs Officer
  • $  407,301:  Thomas Neises, VP and Associate Chief Development Officer
  • $  404,687:  Jan Mittan, Chief Philanthropy Officer, New York
  • $  401,835:  Leonard Williams, CFO
  • $  396,897:  Glenn Prickett, Chief External Affairs Officer (thru 3/2020)
  • $  383,193:  Heather Tallis, Chief Scientist/Strategy Innovation
  • $  367,159:  Aurelio Ramos, Regional Managing Director
  • $  361,061:  Michael Tetreault, Chief People Officer
  • $  359,417:  Angela Woo Sosdian, Executive Director, Gift Planning
  • $  354,110:  Hugh Possingham, Chief Scientist
  • $  350,306:  Colleen Johnson, Director of Principal Gifts

As listed above, 18 of the 26 (69%) of the most highly compensated employees are male while 8 – or 31% – are female.  Of the ten most highly compensated employees, 8 – or 80% – are men – and 2 are women.  Of the ten on the bottom of the list of the 35 most highly compensated employees, 6 are men and 4 are women.  The bottom line is that there are more than twice as many men as women on the highly compensated list and in the very top, nearly all are men. At the bottom of the list, the distribution appears to be more equitable.

The IRS Form 990 also reports the organization paid for personal housing or provided a housing allowance along with gross up payments or tax indemnification.  Specifically,  for key employees working outside the US, a housing allowance or a residences for personal use is paid for by the Nature Conservancy as part of their participation in the Conservancy’s Global Mobility Program.

With regards to first class travel, “persons listed on the 990 may receive first class travel in limited circumstances, which include (2) when no economy fare was available, or (2) when there was no price difference.”

A separation payment of $224,900 was received by Karen Berky.

A separation payment of $700,000 was received by Brian McPeek.

A separation payment of $250,000 was received by Glenn Prickett.

A separation payment of $40,000 was received by Marc Touitou.

The Nature Conservancy made a $10 million loan at 0% interest to Shirley Harry Hagey Community Property Trust, a trust related to Mr. Hagey, also a Board member to fund conservation loan in Idaho. The outstanding balance due is $10 million.

293 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation. The 5 most highly compensated were reported to be:

  • $6.4 million:  DM Group, of Prince Frederick, MD for direct mail services
  • $5.0 million:  RR Donnelley and Sons Company, of Warrenville, IL for printing services
  • $4.4 million:  Luhr Brothers, of Columbia, IL for heavy construction and marine services
  • $3.9 million:  Tallwave, of Scottsdale, AZ for professional fundraising services
  • $3.7 million:  Personal Fundraising, of Chicago, IL for professional fundraising services

To read the IRS Form 990 (2019 for the year ending June 30, 2020), click here.

1 Comment
  1. Gale McMahon
    May 13 2022

    Thank you for the work that you do

Comments are closed.

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