Friends of the Mississippi River

Working to protect the Mississippi River and its watershed in the Twin Cities area

aka FMR   |   Saint Paul, MN   |  www.fmr.org

Mission

Friends of the Mississippi River engages people to protect, restore and enhance the Mississippi River and its watershed in the Twin Cities region.

Ruling year info

1994

Principal Officer

Mr. Whitney Clark

Main address

101 East 5th Street Suite 2000

Saint Paul, MN 55101 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

41-1763226

NTEE code info

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation and Management (C32)

Environmental Beautification (C50)

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

The Mississippi River is an ecological resource of local and global significance. It is internationally recognized as a migratory flyway for approximately 40 percent of North America’s waterfowl and millions of songbirds. Here in the Twin Cities region, the river provides communities with economic and recreational opportunities, and is the major source of drinking water for people in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. The river provides numerous benefits: biodiversity and habitat for native plants and animals, diverse scenic views, a wide variety of accessible recreational and educational opportunities, a chance for community members to connect with nature in the heart of the urban area, and critical ecological functions such as flood control and ground and surface water purification. Conserving and stewarding the river corridor’s and the watershed’s remaining resources benefits all of us, and ensures a lasting and accessible natural heritage for current and future generations.

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?

Watershed Protection

Watershed Protection: FMR works to activate and engage individual citizens, shape the priorities of local governments and impact public policy related to local water quality. Our goal is to protect both environmental health and human health as they relate to water quality. Land Conservation: FMR works to restore and premanently protect land along the Mississippi and its important tributaries in the Twin Cities. Our vision is the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities that is the backbone of an interconnected system of natural areas and green corridors that provide habitat for fish and wildlife, protect water quality and offer natural amenities for people to enjoy. River Corridor Stewardship: FMR works to protect, improve, and restore the ecological, cultural, historical, scenic, and recreational assets of the Mississippi River Corridor. These essential assets represent the unique qualities of the Mississippi in the metro area, and their protection and stewardship are vital to instilling a strong river-based sense of place among community members.

Population(s) Served

Water quality remains one of the most pressing
concerns for the Mississippi River and its watershed. FMR is working to make the Twin Cities a model community for
water quality protection, and our ability to get strong stormwater management
and buffer zone rules passed local watersheds are examples of our success.
Through our program activities we work both independently and as part of
broader coalitions to engage individual citizens and decision-makers in efforts
to improve and steward the assets of the river and its watershed that impact
water quality.

Population(s) Served

The Mississippi River brings a unique quality to the
Twin Cities. FMR works to foster
appreciation of its historic, cultural, ecological, scenic and recreational
values through educational events and volunteer and recreational opportunities
for individuals and families. We
also work with citizens to connect them to decision-makers at the local, regional
and state level to build consensus around land use decisions that respect and
embrace the river and the public’s access to it.

Population(s) Served

Working with both public and private landowners, FMR seeks to restore and permanently protect key parcels of land along the Mississippi and its important tributaries in the Twin Cities region.  Our longer-term goal is to make the river the backbone of an interconnected system of natural areas and green corridors that provides habitat for fish and wildlife, protects water quality and public health, ensures public access, and offers natural, recreational and scenic amenities for everyone to enjoy.

Population(s) Served

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 acres of advanced habitat restoration on FMR's 30 restoration sites.

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

Land Conservation & Restoration

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of people engaged in environmental education and volunteer stewardship events.

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

Land Conservation & Restoration

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

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.

To achieve our organizational goals, FMR has developed a multi-faceted, holistic approach. FMR is laser-focused on issues affecting the river and our river communities, and we tackle them with every tool in the toolbox – from research to advocacy to habitat protection and restoration to community engagement and education – making a tangible difference for the river and inspiring river-lovers along the way. Indeed, our impact can be found at the confluence of people, place, land, and water.

We’ve developed four interrelated programs that focus on water quality and watershed health, land protection and restoration, community education and engagement, and river corridor protection. Through this lens, the primary goals we are working to achieve include:

• The natural, scenic, cultural, historical, recreational and public values of the Mississippi River corridor are understood, protected, enhanced and celebrated by local communities working in partnership with FMR.

• An ecologically functioning corridor of natural habitat exists along the Mississippi River and important tributaries.

• The Mississippi River meets all water quality standards and fully supports a healthy aquatic ecosystem.

• Individuals and communities feel a connection to the Mississippi River and its watershed that inspires an ethic of active participation in stewardship and conservation.

What follows is a summary of our programmatic priorities which are outlined in our recently updated strategic plan and support the goals.

River Corridor Program goals and strategies:

1) Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area (MRRCA) rules, plans and ordinances are clear, consistent and enforced.

2) Economic and park development in the corridor is sensitive to the river’s unique natural and cultural resources, and the decision process recognizes community input.

3) The Above the Falls vision for continuous parks and trails along the river north of downtown Minneapolis is realized, creating improved and equitable river access from surrounding neighborhoods and economic development that enhances the public realm.

Land Conservation Program goals and strategies:

1) Land that is important to the river’s ecosystem is protected in perpetuity.

2) Critical ecological functions of the land managed by FMR are restored.

3) FMR’s restoration work is rooted in science and designed to have the greatest possible ecological impact.

4) FMR restoration sites serve as strong pollinator habitat.

Water Program goals and strategies:

1) State level Clean Water Act administration is strong.
2) State legislative outcomes reflect FMR’s priorities.
3) FMR's water program effectively changes the water quality narrative and builds grassroots support for clean water.

4) FMR champions implementation of programs and projects that demonstrate the potential for achieving Minnesota’s agricultural water quality goals.

5) FMR leads an effective statewide water quality coalition.

Stewardship & Education Program goals and strategies:

1) FMR annually engages 4,000-5,000 people in stewardship events and outings to learn about the river and meaningfully contribute to protecting and enhancing river resources.

2) Participants and volunteers are prepared and eager to participate in more events and activities, share their experiences with others, and make river-positive behavior changes in their personal lives, homes and yards.

3) Stewardship events and activities support other FMR programs and efforts, including membership, fundraising, land conservation, advocacy and communications.

Friends of the Mississippi River continues to play to our strengths, as well as utilize the strong partnerships and relationships we have built with units of government, local and national non-profits, businesses, community groups, citizens and other stakeholders, to move our priorities forward.

FMR’s strategic plan seeks to build greater capacity for grassroots advocacy and engagement, and enhance our communications in order to more strategically impact the health of river. The plan also declares a commitment to equity and engaging diverse communities in our work, as well as fostering the next generation of river stewards by investing in programming aimed at youth.

FMR is proud to share a snapshot of accomplishments from the past year:
• Ensuring a strong framework for national park protection: For nearly a decade, FMR advocated for the adoption of new Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area rules, which govern zoning and land use regulations critical to the health of the river and riverfront communities. The rules were adopted in late 2016, and since then, FMR has been working with the 25 riverfront municipalities to ensure implementation of the new rules respect the values of the river.

• Protecting our natural resources: After leading the permanent protection efforts, FMR began the restoration of one of Dakota County’s largest and most diverse contiguous Big Woods forest remnant – Hampton Woods Wildlife Management Area; as well as 160-acres of the William H. Houlton Conservation Area – one of the largest undeveloped riverfront parcels in the corridor.

• Advocating for clean water policies: FMR conceived of and co-led Minnesota Water Action Day in 2017, 2018 and 2019, bringing together 40+ organizations and 1,000 Minnesotans for an annual day of water advocacy, including participation from several native nations.

• Fostering Minnesota’s river stewards: Last year, we engaged over 6,000 people in volunteer stewardship and environmental education programming – including nearly 2,000 youth.

• Advancing equity: FMR contracted with an equity consultant to develop an Equity Strategic Action Plan for the organization. We also established a partnership with the Minneapolis Parks Foundation and Pillsbury United Communities to engage north Minneapolis residents to advocate and plan for new riverfront redevelopment and improved access to the river.

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 collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

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

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

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

Financials

Friends of the Mississippi River
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Operations

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

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

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.

Friends of the Mississippi River

Board of directors
as of 4/17/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Susan Vento


Board co-chair

Ronnie Brooks

Susan Vento

Community Volunteer

Ronnie Brooks

James P. Shannon Leadership Institute

Peter Grove

St. Jude Medical (Retired)

John Anfinson

Mississippi National River & Recreation Area

Marcia Avner

Avner Consulting and Metro State University

Stewart Crosby

SRF Consulting Group, Inc.

Chad Dayton

Outdoor Solutions, LLC

George Dunn

Tilton & Dunn, PLLP

Forrest Flint

Delta Dental of Minnesota

Diane Herman

Cincinnatus, Inc.

Chris Higgins

The Mosaic Company

Julia Kaemmer

L'Etoile du Nord Cafe

Perry McGowan

CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP

Ryan Mallery

Big River Real Estate, LLC

Hokan Miller

Upper River Services, Inc.

Deanna Wiener

Cardinal Realty

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 02/12/2020

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

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

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

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/24/2020

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 review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • 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 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 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.