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SAND COUNTY FOUNDATION INC

aka Sand County Foundation   |   Madison, WI   |  www.sandcountyfoundation.org

Mission

Sand County Foundation's mission is to inspire and enable a growing number of private landowners to ethically manage natural resources in their care so that future generations have clean & abundant water, healthy soil to support agriculture and forestry, plentiful habitat for wildlife and opportunities for outdoor recreation. The greatest opportunity to address our nation's most pressing environmental issues is by unleashing the power of farmers, ranchers, foresters, and other private landowners. That may be surprising, because many citizens don't see farmers and ranchers as part of the solution. But, in fact, they hold the keys to environmental improvement because they manage the majority of land in this nation. Without their leadership, our biggest conservation challenges cannot be met.

Ruling year info

1965

President & CEO

Kevin McAleese

Main address

44 East Mifflin Street, Ste. 1005

Madison, WI 53703 USA

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Formerly known as

The Louis Rollin Head Foundation, Inc.

EIN

39-6089450

NTEE code info

Land Resources Conservation (C34)

Agricultural Programs (K20)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

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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?

Leopold Conservation Award® Program

The Leopold Conservation Award Program recognizes agricultural landowners actively committed to a land ethic. Working with prominent state conservation partners, Sand County Foundation presents the prestigious honor, which consists of $10,000 and a crystal award, in settings that showcase the landowners’ achievements among their peers.

The Leopold Conservation Award is a productive investment in private lands conservation. It recognizes and celebrates extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation by private landowners, inspires countless other landowners by example and provides a prominent platform by which agricultural community leaders are recognized as conservation ambassadors to citizens outside of agriculture. Finally, the program builds bridges between agriculture, government, environmental organizations, industry, and academia to advance the cause of private lands conservation.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Healthy soil and well-managed precipitation are the basics all farmers and ranchers depend on to grow food and forage crops. Food is the most obvious connection between American’s engaged in its production and the urban and suburbanites who consume it. But there is a less obvious, and equally important, connection between these groups. Fresh water. Water is the single most important constraint on a thirsty planet, and is as much a product of agricultural land as the food we consume.


The quantity and quality of our fresh water streams, lakes and underground aquifers are directly impacted by farmers and ranchers. That is why Sand County Foundation works intensively at the intersection of upstream farmers and ranchers and downstream water users. We demonstrate specific management practices that protect soil and water, utilize it more efficiently, and maximize the environmental benefits and productive capacity of agricultural systems. Sand County Foundation is a trusted partner to farmers and ranchers, which allows us access to private farmland to test, develop, demonstrate, monitor and promote new management tools.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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Charting impact

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

The Foundation helps private landowners reach their full potential as land stewards so they may improve and sustain the natural resources in their care. Sand County Foundation's mission is to advance the use of ethical and scientifically sound land management practices and partnerships for the benefit of people and the environment. The Foundation focuses on voluntary conservation and rewarding outstanding land stewards who serve as an example and inspiration for others.

• Provide support to private individuals and communities as primary agents of conservation and management

• Reward responsible stewards and providing public recognition for outstanding private lands leadership

• Facilitate the exchange of information between and among private individuals, scientists, funders and policy makers

• Remove regulatory barriers and creating meaningful incentives for landowners who enhance the environment

• Create on the land examples of environmental improvement suitable for replication

In his famous A Sand County Almanac, renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold wrote, “the future of conservation hinges on what happens on private lands." For nearly 50 years, Sand County Foundation has remained committed to principles guided by Leopold's land ethic.

Over the years we've have many successes involving private land conservation, species population and habitat restoration, and water quality and quantity improvement. Our successes have allowed us to develop outstanding relationships with private landowners and conservation partners across the country.

Sand County Foundation's Leopold Conservation Award® recognizes and celebrates extraordinary achievement in voluntary conservation by private landowners. The award program inspires countless other landowners by example and provides a prominent platform by which agricultural community leaders are recognized as conservation ambassadors to citizens outside of agriculture. The award is currently given in ten states and presented thanks to our partners and generous sponsors.

Our Water As A Crop® program empowers landowners with the knowledge and resources to improve the conservation of water where it falls on the land, and to produce clean water as a valuable crop. The program facilitates dialogue between landowners, local partners, and prospective water conservation funders in water-stressed areas.

Our Agricultural Incentives program addresses one of America's most serious environmental problems: pollution of surface waters, particularly by runoff of nitrogen and phosphorus from agricultural lands. The program uses financial incentives as a means to get farmers to adopt nutrient management strategies they haven't tried before. The program emphasizes watershed-scale projects, located in Wisconsin and in the Upper Midwest, and generates data and lessons about the relationship between changes in agricultural land management and improvements in water quality.

Sand County Foundation has achieved significant success throughout our history. Highlights include a successful dam removal project on the Baraboo river, allowing the river to run unimpeded for the first time in 150 years, making it safer for its users and improved habitat for fish populations; the Karner blue butterfly restoration, an effort which increased the butterfly's population and expanded its range into two additional Wisconsin counties; and establishing the prestigious Leopold Conservation Award Program. We have also established successful land and water programs focused on agricultural land management practices to improve water quality and quantity.

We are now introducing rare species and pollinator programs. The rare species focus area will seek to improve species habitat and population before a species becomes a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act. Our pollinator program will focus on partnerships with landowners and right-of-way holders to improve habitat for pollinators such as the imperiled monarch butterfly.

As we look to the future we plan to strategically expand the Leopold Conservation Award Program to other states and form more partnerships to strengthen our land and water programs. We also look forward to growing our rare species and pollinator programs.

Financials

SAND COUNTY FOUNDATION INC
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Operations

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

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SAND COUNTY FOUNDATION INC

Board of directors
as of 05/15/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Lynne Sherrod

Dave Hanson

Michael Best & Friedrich

Brent M. Haglund

Sand County Foundation

Homer Buell

Shovel Dot Ranch

Lynne Sherrod

Stan Temple

Department of Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin

Ed Warner

Nancy DeLong

John Duncan

Dick Cates

Tom Zale

Nita Vail

Lynn Scarlett

Tom Foley

Blair Fitzsimons

Jimmy Bramblett

Kevin McAleese