Sightline Institute

Smart Solutions for a Sustainable Cascadia

Seattle, WA   |  www.sightline.org

Mission

Sightline Institute’s mission is to make the Northwest a global model of sustainability—strong communities, a green economy, and a healthy environment.

Ruling year info

1998

Principal Officer

Alan Durning

Main address

1402 Third Ave, Suite 500

Seattle, WA 98101 USA

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Formerly known as

Northwest Environment Watch

EIN

52-1833599

NTEE code info

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (C05)

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

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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?

Program

Sightline serves as an information source for the media and public via our blog, email newsletters, and Sightline Daily news service. Sightline Daily provides up-to-date environmental, economic, social news affecting Cascadia, combined with expert insight that helps connect the dots on issues and point to solutions. Sightline Weekly is a digest of the week’s best stories from the Daily Score blog and news service. Monthly emails update subscribers on recent research, reports, and graphics. Citizens who are informed about current events in their communities and environment are more likely to vote mindfully, take action in their communities, and make healthy choices for their lives and the environment. Our news, emails, and updates advance solutions to the region’s problems and inspire readers to take action. We provide journalists and other media with intelligent, pragmatic, and trustworthy data that they can use in their work.

Population(s) Served

The quest for a sustainable region is blocked by broken or dysfunctional institutions of self-governance. From making polluters pay for their carbon pollution to updating Cascadia’s transportation infrastructure, from fixing our education systems to protecting our natural heritage, we cannot move forward without deep changes to the rules governing campaign finance, voter rights, and elections—changes that return power to everyday people, rather than concentrate it in the hands of wealthy individuals or corporations.

Sightline’s research aims to map a path to political reform—a path that is, if arduous, nonetheless viable, a path that even hard-headed political realists will recognize as passable.

Population(s) Served

How we build our communities is key to a sustainable future. Dense, walkable neighborhoods, people-centered planning, and multimodal transit networks mean that Cascadians can spend less time commuting in their cars and contributing to carbon pollution. It means that we preserve our natural places rather than sprawl into them. And it means that our communities are vibrant, diverse centers of culture for all kinds of people and families, across income levels.

But cities and towns across the Northwest are experiencing some of North America’s fastest growth, bringing with it an unprecedented housing crunch and challenging our ability to grow sufficiently and equitably into the future. Sightline research delves into the key roadblocks to progress on this issue and recommends smart solutions for a thriving, growing Cascadia.

Population(s) Served

The Pacific Northwest stands squarely between the most voracious energy markets in the world and huge fossil fuel deposits in the interior of North America—Powder River Basin coal, Bakken shale oil, Alberta tar sands, and remote natural gas fields. Big energy companies plan to unearth these vast reserves of carbon-intense fuels and put them up for sale in Asia.

If they are successful, these energy firms will unleash the carbon equivalent of roughly five Keystone XL Pipelines. But to get their products to market, energy companies first have to build new terminals and pipelines to move all that fuel. They need destinations for the scores of oil and coal trains that they plan to run across the Northwest, and they need right-of-ways to lay new pipelines.

In short, they need our permission.

So it is by geographic accident that the Northwest, perhaps the greenest corner of North America, will play an outsize role in determining the planet’s climate future. Will we double-down on coal and oil use, thereby jeopardizing our chance at a stable climate? Or will we act as a thin green line, insisting that we must do better—that our economy and our children demand a cleaner future?

Population(s) Served

What you say is just as important as how you say it. Sightline director of strategic communications Anna Fahey combs through piles of public opinion research, transcripts from speeches, and academic studies to distill best practices in messaging for leaders in the Northwest and beyond. She tackles topics ranging from climate change to the role of government, and she explains what it means to use values-based messaging and effective storytelling to help move your audience in the ways that count.

Population(s) Served

The way we design our cities and towns, as well as the modes of transport we use to move through them, can either help or hinder residents’ ability to reduce their carbon footprints. Whether that means unleashing innovative affordable housing solutions, prioritizing spaces for people over spaces for cars and parking, or shifting our transportation thinking away from boondoggle megaprojects, we can shape our communities to fulfill a more sustainable future.

Population(s) Served

Climate change threatens Cascadia with droughts, fires, and pests, imperiling the region’s farms and forests. And globally, greenhouse gas emissions continue to accelerate. It is time to think about how we will adapt. One certainty is that we will rely on working lands, and their stewards, as we wade into this uncharted territory.

At the same time, decades of pesticide overuse, unchecked erosion, and intensive monocropping have harmed Cascadia’s soils. Clearcutting and aerial pesticide spraying continue in the region’s forests, imperiling the most carbon-rich ecoregion on earth. And Cascadia’s rural communities must cope with job scarcity and the new reality that traditional agriculture and forestry work provide unstable livelihoods.

Our Farms & Forests program aims to tackle these overlapping challenges by promoting land management practices that help rebuild our soils, ecosystems, and rural economies. Regenerative farming practices feed the life within the soil, creating a more resilient food system better prepared to withstand changing weather patterns. Reforestation, long-rotation management, and selective harvesting will safeguard Cascadia’s forests—its living lungs. These practices could also remove climate-altering carbon from the atmosphere. Sightline’s Farms and Forests program explores these opportunities in search of effective strategies for revitalizing and fortifying the region’s working lands as we face the climate crisis.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

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.

Sightline Institute's mission is to make the Northwest a global model of sustainability—strong communities, a green economy, and a healthy environment. We envision in the Pacific Northwest an economy and way of life that are environmentally sound, economically vibrant, and socially just. We believe that if northwesterners succeed at reconciling themselves with the natural heritage of this place—the greenest part of history’s richest civilization—we can set an example for the world.

Sightline serves as an information source for the media and public via our blog, email newsletters, and Sightline Daily news service. Sightline Daily provides up-to-date environmental, economic, social news affecting Cascadia, combined with expert insight that helps connect the dots on issues and point to solutions. Sightline Weekly is a digest of the week's best stories from the Daily Score blog and news service. Monthly emails update subscribers on recent research, reports, and graphics. Citizens who are informed about current events in their communities and environment are more likely to vote mindfully, take action in their communities, and make healthy choices for their lives and the environment. Our news, emails, and updates advance solutions to the region's problems and inspire readers to take action. We provide journalists and other media with intelligent, pragmatic, and trustworthy data that they can use in their work.

Sightline equips the Northwest’s citizens and decision-makers with the policy research and practical tools they need to advance long-term solutions to our region’s most significant challenges. Our work includes in-depth research, commentary, and analysis, delivered online, by email, and in-person to Northwest policy champions, emerging leaders, and a range of community partners.

We believe true sustainability exists at the intersection of environmental health and social justice.

Sightline has long championed sustainability solutions that benefit all our communities in the Northwest. We strive to identify injustice and work to dismantle the systems that perpetuate it. We actively seek to expand our role in advancing public policy and producing resources for Northwest leaders and community partners that tackle issues of racial and economic inequality.

Sightline continues to hold the Thin Green Line by arming activists and decision-makers with the research and arguments they need to fight fossil fuel projects and make the case for a clean-energy future. This strategy bore fruit: regulators ordered the colossal Kalama methanol fracked gas plant to re-do its environmental impact statement; King County, Washington imposed a moratorium on new fossil-fuel infrastructure; and Jordan Cove LNG was denied permission to build a natural gas pipeline and export terminal on Coos Bay.

In 2019, Sightline’s work was instrumental in building greener cities in Cascadia. It’s efforts promoting accessory dwelling units (ADUs) helped legalized the structures across Oregon as well as the City of Seattle.

Our policy goals for 2019 are ambitious across our programs. They include among others:

· Injecting Ranked Choice Voting and Electoral College reform into the US presidential campaigns;
· Fending off three huge fossil fuel projects: Jordan Cove LNG in Oregon, Kalama methanol in Washington, and the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion in British Columbia.

Financials

Sightline Institute
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Sightline Institute

Board of directors
as of 08/06/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mark Cligett

Alan Thein Durning

Jeanette Henderson

University of Washington

Wayne Lei

Portland General Electric

Mark Trahant

Independent Journalist

Kristin Martinez

Sound Point Ventures

Rod Brown

Cascadia Law Group

Mark Cliggett

Molly Keating

June Wilson

Jason Pretty Boy

Gordon Price

Craig McKibben

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