COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENTAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND

Spearheading a community rights movement to establish rights for people and nature over the systems that control them.

aka CELDF   |   Mercersburg, PA   |  www.celdf.org

Mission

Our mission is to build sustainable communities by assisting people to assert their right to local self-government and the rights of nature.

Ruling year info

1995

Executive Director

Stacey Schmader

Main address

PO Box 360

Mercersburg, PA 17236 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

25-1760934

NTEE code info

Public Interest Law/Litigation (I83)

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

CELDF works with local community groups challenging the anti-democratic forces that have been stifling local community control. CELDF has helped draft and defend the first Rights of Nature laws in the United States with the aim of simultaneously subordinating constitutional protections for corporations. It has also put forth a new legal doctrine that redefines state law as a “floor” to which local communities can add civil, human and ecological rights protections. We work with communities to ensure the authority of local governments trump corporations’ claimed protections.

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?

Democratic and Environmental Rights

CELDF has a number of democratic and environmental rights programs. We partner with communities to protect themselves against the immediate threat they face and to advance systemic change by recognizing the right of local community self-government and the rights of nature. Programs include Project on Shale Gas Drilling and Fracking, Rights of Nature, and our Project on Corporations, Democracy, and Sustainability.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

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.

CELDF seeks to engage - through education, training and legal assistance - with community partners to enact local measures and organize profile-raising campaigns that assist global efforts in building self-governing, anti-racist Earth-centered cultures while also supporting efforts to directly dismantle the key forces destabilizing society and the planet.

Through education and outreach, organizing assistance, and legal support, CELDF amplifies and empowers local voices to confront the legal barriers to sustainability, justice, and equity. We provide the tool kit for communities to expand their rights, allow them to make decisions about their health, economy, and environment through local self-governance, or Community Rights

CELDF has helped close to two hundred communities in ten states. Our Community Organizers have formed Community Rights Networks in 5 states; organizing efforts are taking root in 6 other states. In collaboration with our network we are seeing the fruits of a national community rights movement – a movement catalyzed by the growing recognition that “we the people” lack the legal authority to decide what happens in our own communities.

CELDF has realized many milestones through the years. We assisted Tamaqua Borough pass the first Rights of Nature law in the US; we assisted Ecuador draft the first Rights of Nature Language drafted into its national constitution; and we continue to assist communities, such as Lincoln County Oregon, Toledo, Ohio, and Nottingham New Hampshire in their quest for Community Rights and Rights of Nature legislation.
As we begin our 26th year, CELDF is eager to work with communities to solve problems and expand their rights, including the authority to enact minimum wage increases, public education reform, civil rights expansions and sustainable policies that would forge a more just and equitable society. We will continue to lead in advancing the Rights of Nature; the idea that the earth and its ecosystems should not just be property in the eyes of the law, but instead have basic rights like the right to exist and flourish.

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 demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, 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,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENTAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
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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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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

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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.

COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENTAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND

Board of directors
as of 2/8/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Tammy Belinsky

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? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • 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? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/30/2020,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

No data

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/30/2020

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 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 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 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.