Union of Concerned Scientists, Inc.

Science for a Healthy Planet and a Safer World

aka UCS   |   Cambridge, MA   |


The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science into action, developing solutions and advocating for a healthy, safe, and just future.

Ruling year info


Interim President

Dr. Kim Waddell

Main address

Two Brattle Square 6th Floor

Cambridge, MA 02138 USA

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NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (C01)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (K01)

Arms Control, Peace Organizations (Q41)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts science into action to build a healthier planet and a safer world. We conduct rigorous technical analyses, develop policies to address some of today’s most pressing problems, and advocate for change. Today, the political situation in Washington, DC, threatens the bedrock laws that protect our health, our democratic system of government, and our planet’s ecosystems. Hard-won gains on climate change and many other issues have been threatened and, in some instances, reversed. At UCS, we are doing everything in our power to prevent the rollback of laws that safeguard Americans’ health and safety. We are working every day to dispel the false notion that protecting our health, communities, and natural environment conflicts with a strong economy and good jobs. On the contrary, UCS has repeatedly demonstrated that our nation’s investments in clean energy and environmental protection are critical to our prosperity.

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?

Climate Impacts Campaign

UCS is using climate science to push policymakers to take bolder, scientifically informed, equity-promoting action that will cut US global warming emissions in half by 2030 and increase community resilience to the threats posed by climate change.
Our priorities for the coming year are to:
• build power and support for urgently needed emissions reductions and climate preparedness measures;
• work with the Biden administration, scientific societies, and our own Science Network to rebuild federal climate science programs, invest in and build more resilient infrastructure, and advance equitable climate solutions; and
• reduce the influence of climate change deniers and powerful interests by amplifying new and diverse voices (municipal leaders in conservative areas, mortgage brokers, public health advocates, environmental and climate justice partners) who will demand evidence-based federal climate action.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups

UCS is working to create a clean, healthy, and sustainable energy system that safely and equitably serves people and communities. The backbone of that system is a modern and just electricity grid that is resilient, affordable for consumers, and powered primarily by renewables, serving as the core of an equitable transition to a net-zero economy no later than 2050.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups

UCS is working to make sure the major fossil fuel companies face legal, financial, reputational, and political consequences for misleading the public about climate science and solutions. We will hold these companies accountable for failing to adopt ambitious, zero-carbon business plans, and for the mounting, inequitable climate impacts of their products.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups

The transition to a new administration gives us a critical opportunity to advocate for an ambitious and equitable clean transportation agenda. Working with a broad set of stakeholders and partners, UCS will make the case for a bold suite of policies that drive systematic transformation, including:
• national standards aimed at maximizing vehicle efficiency and electrification;
• investments and programs that support extensive electrification of on-road transportation, including public transit, ride-hailing services, fueling infrastructure for both light- and heavy-duty zero-emissions vehicles, and consumer incentives for electric vehicle purchases—with an emphasis on the communities most affected by vehicle pollution and in greatest need of cleaner transportation; and
• a national low-carbon fuels policy that supports the cleanest fuels.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups

Healthy, living soil, like clean air and water, is one of the fundamental support systems that sustain our lives and our communities. But decades of shortsighted farm policies have incentivized practices that deplete our soil and disempower farmers, reducing agriculture’s resilience. UCS is working to advance farm policies and practices that build carbon-rich, water-holding soil, diversify farm production, and lessen the influence of big agribusiness corporations, so our farms and our food supply become more resilient to a variety of challenges: climate change and extreme weather, trade instability, and even pandemics. We’re pushing to enable a diverse community of US farmers to convert 30 million farm acres to healthy-soil practices by 2025, while growing a greater variety of foods for consumers. In FY21, we will:
• pursue passage of science-based, bipartisan legislation in Congress that improves soil health and expands economic opportunities, especially for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) farmers;
• seek healthy-soil legislation in Iowa (the heart of the Corn Belt); and
• call out meat/poultry giant Tyson Foods for a business model that exploits farmers and endangers workers, while demanding vast quantities of commodity feed crops.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups

UCS is working to reduce the risks posed by nuclear weapons. Our key strategies are:
• To convince the Biden administration to end the arms race by reducing the role of nuclear weapons, missile defenses, and new technologies such as hypersonic weapons in US security
• To push the Biden administration to reduce the budget for nuclear weapons by cutting back or cancelling programs including the new ICBM, the W93 warhead, hypersonic weapons, and the production of plutonium pits for use in new nuclear weapons

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups

The Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists seeks to strengthen the role of science in policy and community decisions. We are currently working to:
• Shape the Biden administration’s efforts to re-establish the role of science and science-based policies to serve the public interest
• Advocate for rebuilding and strengthening the science capacity of federal agencies with a younger, more diverse workforce
• Push for electoral and government accountability reforms that will empower people of all backgrounds and restore science-based policymaking
• Engage the US scientific community in public service and critical policy debates.

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups

Where we work


Charity Navigator

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance


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 supporters

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Combined UCS donors and activists; numbers decreased in 2017 as we stopped counting activists who had not taken actions in 9 months.

Number of Science Network members

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Members of the UCS Science Network are Ph.D. scientists or post-docs taking action. Numbers decrease in certain years when inactive members are removed from the list.

Number of first-time donors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Average number of dollars given by new donors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success


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.

We tackle the most urgent problems
• We fight for a healthier planet, a more equitable society, and a safer world.
• We foster independent, science-based solutions that improve people’s lives.
• We bring transparency to issues too often clouded by special interests.

We combine science and action
• UCS conducts research and develops innovative policy solutions to address climate change, the risk of nuclear war, and sustainable forms of energy, agriculture, and transportation.
• We expose bogus studies and the censorship and manipulation of science by special interests and industry or political operatives.
• We speak out in the media and directly to government officials about our research and solutions.
• We mobilize our 500,000 supporters and 1,500 local partners to advocate for change at the state and federal levels.

At UCS, we reject rhetoric and actions that divide the nation by race, religion, gender, geography, or any other factor. We stand up for science and evidence-based policymaking, especially those solutions that yield benefits for low-income communities and communities of color too often denied the benefits of clean technologies. We work with communities across the country to improve access to healthy, affordable, and sustainably grown food that can also boost rural economies. And we are redoubling our efforts to prevent a destabilizing nuclear arms race.

We advance science-based solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems, conducting rigorous technical analyses and mobilizing our supporters to educate decisionmakers and advocate for change. We do this by:

* Pushing the Biden administration to rapidly implement our detailed, step-by-step road map for restoring science and evidence to their proper role in government decisionmaking;
* Calling for a just path to recovery from the pandemic that provides economic relief directly to people and communities, not corporations, invests in a clean energy future, and advances long-term economic solutions that redress inequities that have too often left BIPOC and low-income communities behind;
* Moving swiftly to combat climate change, mounting an all-out campaign for rapid and equitable action to: recommit the United States to the Paris Agreement; build a resilient, affordable, and modern electricity grid powered primarily by renewable energy; speed the electrification of the transportation sector; and work with frontline communities to prepare for the effects of climate change;
* Working to stop a new arms race by reducing the role of nuclear weapons and new technologies such as hypersonic weapons in US security
* Promoting US agriculture policies that will help a new generation of diverse farmers grow healthy crops in ways that prevent pollution, protect soil health, and address climate change.

We provide scientific and technical analysis to inform policies to address the impacts of climate change, advance energy and vehicle technology solutions, make healthy food accessible for all, and reducing the risks of nuclear war. Specifically we are:

* building broad support for science based solutions
* mobilizing activists and scientists
* educating the public, media, and policy makers

Armed with data and evidence, UCS offers an independent voice of reason—clear, steadfast, and backed by science. Our scientists and analysts work directly with policymakers and the public to inform decisions that affect the environment, public health and safety, and more.

With a staff of more than 200 and budget of $41 million in 2021, 88% of every dollar contributed to UCS directly funds our program work.

To preserve our integrity, UCS does not accept corporate or government grants. Our funding comes from individuals and foundations who believe strongly that true science-based advocacy should be beholden to no special interests.

Our scientists never work alone. We partner with more than 1,500 organizations, mobilize our 24,000 Science Network members, tap the strength of more than 500,000 supporters and activists, and are powered by more than 120,000 committed donors.

UCS has always had an outsized reach. In our last fiscal year (October 1, 2019-September 30, 2020) we:

* Presented a comprehensive view of attacks on science in the federal government and offered ways that Congress can use its oversight power to protect against the further sidelining of science through our reports: The State of Science in the Trump Era and Science Under Siege at the Department of the Interior.
* Informed and helped ensure a bipartisan expansion of the EV tax credit was introduced in Congress, a result of numerous meetings with auto companies, educational briefings with policy makers, and leading a close collaboration with NGO and trade group allies.
* Helped secure a victory for clean car standards in Colorado by providing testimony, written comments, galvanizing local support, and mobilizing our activist network in support of the Low Emission Vehicle measure and Zero Emission Vehicle program, which were adopted.
* Released our new landmark report, Killer Heat in the United States: Climate Choices and the Future of Dangerously Hot Days, garnering extensive media coverage and providing tools for state and federal advocacy efforts.
* Contributed significantly to one of the most productive state legislative sessions for clean energy in decades, securing commitments to 100% clean electricity in Maine, New Mexico, and Washington.
* Enabled under-resourced and under-represented groups to participate in policy discussions on Capitol Hill through our facilitation of the Good Food for All coalition, a network of community-based, grassroots and national organizations who share a commitment to working collaboratively to advance racial equity through federal food and farm policy.
* Continued to play a major leadership role in Back From the Brink: The Call to Prevent Nuclear War, which we wrote with Physicians for Social Responsibility. It been endorsed by nearly 300 local, state and national organizations; 35 cities and towns; and six state legislative bodies.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback


Union of Concerned Scientists, Inc.

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


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • 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.

Union of Concerned Scientists, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 04/11/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Dr. Anne Kapuscinski

Director, Coastal Science and Policy Program, University of California, Santa Cruz

Term: 2015 -

James S. Hoyte

Former Assistant to the President/Associate Vice President for Equal Opportunity Programs

Adele Simmons

President, Global Philanthropy Partnership

Andrew J. Gunther

Executive Director of the Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration and a founding partner of Applied Marine Sciences, Inc.

Richard L. Garwin

IBM Fellow Emeritus at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center

Ellyn R. Weiss

Artist; Retired Partner in the law firm of Foley, Hoag & Eliot

Peter A. Bradford

Teacher and advisor on utility regulation, nuclear power, and energy policy in the United States and overseas.

Nancy Stephens

Actor and political activist

Laurie Burt

President, Laurie Burt LLC

Margo Oge

Distinguished Fellow, Climate Works Foundation, Board Member, International Council on Clean Transportation

Macky McCleary

Partner, Innogy Consulting

Steve Fetter

Professor, School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland

William K. Reilly

Executive Committee Member, US Water Partnership, and Board Member, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Benjamin Santer

Research Scientist, Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory,

Zia Mian

Co-director of Princeton University's Program on Science and Global Security

Camara Phyllis Jones

Adjunct Professor at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and a Senior Fellow and Adjunct Associate Professor at the Morehouse School of Medicine

Mahzarin Banaji

Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University

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 4/9/2024

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


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Decline to state
Gender identity

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/21/2024

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

  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • 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 use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • 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.