GOLD2024

NORTHEASTERN MINNESOTANS FOR WILDERNESS

aka Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters   |   Ely, MN   |  www.savetheboundarywaters.org

Mission

We unite people to advocate for the protection of wilderness and wild places, especially the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the greater Quetico-Superior Ecosystem.

Ruling year info

2016

Executive Director

Ingrid Lyons

Associate Director

Samantha Chadwick

Main address

Po Box 625

Ely, MN 55731 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

01-0743018

NTEE code info

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness is the founder and lead organization for Save the Boundary Waters, a campaign to permanently protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and its watershed from proposed sulfide-ore copper mines. Sulfide-ore copper mining within the Boundary Waters Wilderness watershed is an imminent threat, as pollution from these mines will flow directly into the heart of the Boundary Waters. At stake is the lucrative tourism industry and economic lifeblood of northeastern Minnesota. Boundary Waters and Superior National Forest tourism generates $913 million in revenue per year in economic benefits and creates 17,000 jobs that support local families and businesses. These mines also threaten critical habitat provided by the Wilderness for species such as moose, loon, and Canada lynx.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

The Campaign to Save The Boundary Waters was organized by local residents in and around Ely, Minnesota, who are dedicated to creating a national movement to protect the clean water, clean air and forest landscape of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and its watershed from toxic pollution caused by mining copper, nickel and other metals from sulfide-bearing ore.

Faced with a grave threat to the Wilderness, the Campaign has developed a unique, diverse and powerful coalition including businesses, hunting and fishing groups and brands, veterans, conservation organizations, students, faith groups, and tribes. The Campaign, together with its companion coalitions, Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters and the Boundary Waters Business Coalition, is a national campaign supported by a coalition of environmental and other public interest organizations and sportsmen groups, and over 350 businesses.

Organized in 2013, the Campaign has quickly built a strong local and national presence. Headquartered in Ely, a Wilderness-edge town near the proposed mining sites, the Campaign already has over 180,000 members and activists. Through the media and our partners, the Campaign reaches millions of people.

We are working hard at the local, state and national level to gain permanent protection for the Boundary Waters and its watershed so that future generations are able to enjoy the same unspoiled wilderness that so many have come to know and cherish.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of businesses in the Boundary Waters Business Coalition

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Boundary Waters Business Coalition is made up of local, state, regional, and national companies that have committed to assisting the cause.

Number of members and activists in the Campaign

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Campaign has rapidly grown and continues to do so - these numbers are collected through email, Facebook support, and event attendance.

Number of public events held to further mission

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Events include public rallies, comment parties, fundraisers, speeches, and assorted other projects open to the public.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness (NMW) is the founder and leader of the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters (Campaign). The goal for the Campaign is permanent protection of the Boundary Waters watershed from sulfide-ore copper mining.

Building a Powerful and Diverse Coalition
The Campaign has a strong, diverse coalition, including businesses, hunting and fishing groups, veterans, and Teddy Roosevelt Republicans in addition to traditional allies like conservation organizations, students, faith groups, and tribes. The Campaign's national leadership team includes NMW, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, National Wildlife Federation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and the Outdoor Industry Association. The Campaign launched the Boundary Waters Business Coalition to demonstrate that copper mining kills jobs. The coalition includes more than 350 business supporters, including Patagonia, Rapala, REI, and many Wilderness-edge, sporting and outdoor recreation businesses.

Education and Outreach:
The Campaign has more than 180,000 members and activists. Through Campaign partners and media outreach, the Campaign reaches more than 18 million people. In the past year, the Campaign has led, hosted, or participated in hundreds of public or organization events and presentations. Through adventure advocacy, the Campaign and explorers Dave and Amy Freeman have continued bring attention to the threat posed to the Wilderness by sulfide-ore copper mining.

Scientific and Economic Research:
We have developed an extensive base of scientific and economic research that supports the proposition that siting a sulfide-ore mine in the Boundary Waters watershed will damage the Boundary Waters and the surrounding communities. The most important science, a study of the transport of pollutants from the Twin Metals mines under ordinary conditions, was peer-reviewed and published in the Journal of Hydrology in February 2016. No evidence has been submitted that contradicts the existing science delivered to federal agencies in 2016 documenting significant risk of harm from sulfide-ore copper mining near the Boundary Waters.

Meeting with decision makers:
We have been building support with political leaders at the city, county, state and national level since beginning the Campaign. The Campaign makes monthly trips to Washington D.C. to meet with federal agencies and Congressional representatives. At the state level, the Campaign meets frequently with legislators and other decision makers to help increase awareness of the impending threat to our state's crown jewel.

Media coverage:
By building a strong media profile, the Campaign is able to reach and educate millions of people about the threat sulfide-ore copper mining poses to the Boundary Waters. The Campaign has generated coverage in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the TODAY Show, Sierra Magazine, and National Geographic in addition to steady coverage by local and state news outlets.

Legal Power:
The Campaign is working hard to effectively litigate against the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Land Management to overturn their unlawful attempt to reinstate mining rights to Twin Metals/Antofagasta. The case is currently being tried.

The Campaign, led by Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, was organized by local residents in and around Ely, Minnesota. Supported by a coalition of 36 environmental and public interest groups and over 350 businesses, the Campaign is in a unique position to achieve permanent protection for the Boundary Waters Wilderness. Through Campaign partners and media outreach, the Campaign reaches more than 18 million people.

The success of the Campaign's efforts to engage the public is borne out by a February 2017 poll conducted by President Donald Trump's chief polling firm, Fabrizio Ward, showing that 59% of Minnesotans oppose sulfide-ore copper mining near the Boundary Waters. In Minnesota's Eighth Congressional District, which contains the Iron Range, opposition to sulfide-ore copper mining near the Boundary Waters exceeds support by a double-digit margin.

In December 2016, the Campaign made significant progress when federal agencies denied Antofagasta/Twin Metals’ requests to renew two mineral leases and initiated the legal process to withdraw Superior National Forest lands in the Boundary Waters (BWCA) watershed from the federal leasing program for a period of twenty years (the maximum allowed by current law). These two expired leases were the only federal leases in the Superior National Forest and critical to the development of any sulfide-ore copper mine by Antofagasta/Twin Metals. The Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture announced a two-year moratorium on sulfide-ore copper mining in 234,328 acres of Superior National Forest lands in the watershed of the BWCA and initiated a study to consider a twenty-year mining ban in the form of a mineral withdrawal.

In 2017, the Forest Service held a comment period for the public to submit written statements and to ask the agencies to include specific issues in the study. During this period, more than 3,000 people attended listening sessions in three Minnesota cities. Citizens that the Campaign recruited to speak in favor of protecting the BWCA outnumbered mining supporters by almost two to one. During the initial comment period and a second one held in February 2018, support for protecting the BWCA from mining was overwhelming; of about 181,000 people submitting written comments, 177,488 supported the withdrawal. This is the largest public involvement in environmental review in the history of Minnesota. The public support for protecting the BWCA is consistent with polling by Republican pollster Fabrizio Ward that shows 70% opposition to copper mining near the BWCA statewide.

Additionally, the Campaign submitted extensive scientific reports to the Forest Service and the BLM to document significant risk of harm to the BWCA from sulfide-ore copper mining in the watershed. To this day, the mining industry has not submitted any evidence contradicting these reports.

In May, 2018, the Trump Administration reinstated the two long-expired federal mineral leases that Antofagasta/Twin Metals had held. In response, on June 21, 2018, nine Minnesota businesses and NMW filed suit against the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Land Management to overturn their unlawful attempt to reinstate mining rights to Antofagasta. The case is pending in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.

In September 2018, Agriculture Secretary Perdue abruptly cancelled the second two-year study of how best to protect the Boundary Waters from copper mining and withdrew the Forest Service’s request that the BWCA watershed be protected. We anticipate the delivery by Twin Metals to federal and state agencies a Mine Plan of Operations (MPO) in the coming months; delivery will initiate an intense period of expert review and potential legal action.

Financials

NORTHEASTERN MINNESOTANS FOR WILDERNESS
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

NORTHEASTERN MINNESOTANS FOR WILDERNESS

Board of directors
as of 02/08/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Jon Nelson


Board co-chair

Jeff Soderstrom

Dodd Cosgrove

Lawson Gerdes

State of Minnesota

Heather Meier

David Miller

Steve Piragis

Piragis Northwoods Company

Becky Rom

Paul Schurke

Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge

Jeff Soderstrom

Ameriprise Financial

Jason Zabokrtsky

Ely Outfitting Company and Boundary Waters Guide Service

Jon Nelson

Residential Services Inc

Hunt Greene

Stephen Snyder

Bill Hohengarten

Jen Pearson

Mikaela Swanlund

Meghan Cosgrove

Michael Millenaker

Frank Jewell

Amy Freeman

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/25/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/25/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.