SILVER2023

Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Inc.

The nonprofit stewards of public land in Southern Colorado.

aka RMFI   |   Colorado Springs, CO   |  www.rmfi.org

Mission

The Rocky Mountain Field Institute is dedicated to the conservation and stewardship of public lands in the Southern Rocky Mountain region through volunteer-based trail and restoration projects, environmental education, and restoration research.

Notes from the nonprofit

We love Guidestar and appreciate the work they do to shine the light on the good guys doing great work for our communities. RMFI strives to not only be good stewards of our natural resources, but also good stewards of the financial resources entrusted to us to make a different on-the-ground and in our community. As a nonprofit, we rely on the generous donations of so many and appreciate all who believe in our mission and give back to this great organization. Thank you!

Ruling year info

1982

Executive Director

Jolie NeSmith

Main address

1485 Garden of the Gods Rd Suite 140

Colorado Springs, CO 80907 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

American Mountain Foundation

EIN

74-2225140

NTEE code info

Land Resources Conservation (C34)

Environmental Quality, Protection, and Beautification N.E.C. (C99)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Southern Colorado is home to some of the world's most renowned, iconic, and treasured public natural landscapes including Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, Barr Trail, and many others. The Pikes Peak Region alone sees an estimated 24 million visitors per year with a significant upward trend predicted over the next decade. The majority of these visitors travel to the region to explore the vast systems of trails, parks, forests, and open spaces. While a tremendous asset from a quality of life and aesthetic point of view, the abundance of natural resources in the Pikes Peak Region presents significant challenges in the form of increased visitation and threats from wildfires and other natural disasters. Colorado's outdoors face additional and growing threats on a number of other fronts as well. Increasing population, development pressures, and declining budgets in public agencies challenge the effective management of public lands in the state.

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?

Volunteer Stewardship

RMFI believes the future protection and restoration of our public lands lies in cultivating an ethic of public lands stewardship. Through our Community Volunteer Stewardship Program, we actively engage a broad spectrum of the community in the hands-on restoration of our treasured natural areas. We work with an average of 2,300 volunteers annually who contribute 24,000 hours ($500,000 worth of labor) towards the stewardship of our parks, forests, and open spaces. Our work involves the restoration and revegetation of wildfire burn scars, trail construction and maintenance, native vegetation enhancement, invasive species removal, erosion mitigation, fish habitat improvement, and restoration of high alpine landscapes.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Environmental education lies at the heart of RMFI's mission, providing the "why" behind the on-the-ground work. RMFI runs a college-accredited field studies program, Earth Corps, for undergraduates in which students spend 30 days completing an environmental project while studying the environmental science and land management policy issues of the project site. Every spring, RMFI partners with students from Texas Tech University and Montrose High School to lead an alternative spring break program in Indian Creek Canyon in the Canyonlands region of Utah. Annually in May, RMFI hosts a senior seminar program for graduating students of Fountain Valley School. Just days before graduation, students spend 4 days completing critical environmental restoration work in the Pikes Peak region. RMFI also partners with the Catamount Institute to run a weeklong summer camp for middle school students focused on environmental studies and stewardship. Lastly, RMFI has a longstanding service-learning program with the Colorado Springs School in which 8th grade and Upper School students volunteer 6 days per year in the Garden of the Gods Park. All education programs are built around an environmental service project. In addition to these programs, RMFI aims to integrate an educational component into every volunteer program. This varies with each program but is as simple as a brief geology talk in the Garden of the Gods to as complex as a hands-on hydrology lesson on Pikes Peak.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Our third program is our Restoration Research Program. RMFI conducts monitoring and effectiveness research of restoration and erosion control techniques we have implemented at our various project sites. RMFI recently completed a multi-year research project in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to assess the effectiveness of Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) treatments implement after the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012. All of our research is geared toward gaining a better understanding of how our work is positively impacting the environment. As part of our commitment to further education within the restoration field, RMFI partners with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Colorado College to provide student research internships. Current restoration research sites include: Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods Park, and Waldo Canyon Burn Area.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Awards

Chief Honor Award 2012

USDA Forest Service

Southern Colorado Conservation Award for Stewardship 2012

Palmer Land Trust

Youth Program Partnership Award 2012

Bureau of Land Management

Annual Achievement Award 2008

Coalition for Recreational Trails

Bob Marshall Champion of Wilderness Award 2007

USDA Forest Service

Higher Education Award 2014

Colorado Alliance For Environmental Education

Rising Star Award (Joe Lavorini) 2015

Colorado Springs Business Journal

Mayor's Young Leader Award 2015

Office of the Mayor

Mayor's Young Leader Award 2015

Office of the Mayor

Collaborative Aquatic Stewardship Award 2017

US Forest Service

Outstanding Partner of the Year Award 2018

Colorado College

Blue Grama Award for Outstanding Ecological Restoration 2019

Colorado Open Space Alliance

Chief's Honor Award 2021

USDA Forest Service

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 individuals applying skills learned through the organization's training

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

Volunteer Stewardship

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We actively educate and engage thousands of community volunteers each year through the completion of hands-on trail and restoration projects that help to conserve and protect public lands in Colorado.

Number of individuals completing apprenticeship

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

Environmental Education

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

RMFI administers an environmental leadership internship, a college-accredited field studies course, and a region wide crew leader training that actively trains and engages 50 individuals every year.

Number of projects showing an upward trend in the number of conservation actions at site

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

Volunteer Stewardship

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

RMFI works at project locations throughout Southern Colorado and the Pikes Peak Region. At each location, conservation actions are completed that enhance ecosystem health and function.

Number of stakeholders or stakeholder groups who agree to engage

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

Volunteer Stewardship

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

RMFI has established partnerships with a wide variety of community organizations and groups representing schools, military, organizations, businesses, and others.

Acres of natural habitat restored

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

Volunteer Stewardship

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Through our conservation and stewardship work throughout Souther Colorado and the Pikes Peak Region, we restore approximately 200 acres of habitat every year.

Number of trees planted

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

Volunteer Stewardship

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

RMFI completes a variety of trail and restoration projects on public landscapes across Southern Colorado. We often plant trees in an effort to restore riparian areas and post-burn landscapes.

Hours of volunteer service

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

Volunteer Stewardship

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We actively engage thousands of community volunteers each year in the hands-on completion of trail and restoration projects. These volunteers contribute a significant number of hours toward projects.

Number of volunteer management professionals trained

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

Volunteer Stewardship

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

RMFI's Volunteer & Partnership Coordinator became a certified volunteer manager and administrator in 2018.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

In December 2019, RMFI's Board of Directors approved a new strategic plan intended to guide the organization through 2024. The plan is anchored by four overarching goals:

1. Protect and enhance the ecological health of land and water resources in Southern Colorado.
2. Develop a sustainable and healthy organization in terms of finances, facilities, staff, and Board.
3. Grow a regional reputation for completing exemplary trail and restoration work, environmental education, and restoration research.
4. Increase regional awareness of RMFI’s mission, purpose, projects, and programs

The following 4 overarching goals and 10 associated priorities serve as the framework for Rocky Mountain Field Institute’s strategic direction over the next five years:

GOAL 1: Protect and enhance the ecological health of land and water resources in Southern Colorado.
PRIORITY 1: Develop a diverse project docket year-to-year that addresses critical and emerging
restoration and outdoor recreation needs in Southern Colorado including watershed restoration, forest health, sustainable recreation access, and habitat protection.
PRIORITY 2: Prioritize the involvement of community volunteers and youth in all suitable projects to help foster an ethic of environmental stewardship and responsibility.

GOAL 2: Develop a sustainable and healthy organization in terms of finances, facilities, staff, and Board.
PRIORITY 3: Develop sustainable project funding to ensure full project expenses are covered.
PRIORITY 4: Grow organizational flexibility by developing and increasing sustainable funding mechanisms above and beyond restricted project/program funding including general stewardship (SGEN funds) and operating functions (OHD funds) for the organization.
PRIORITY 5: Investigate options for an alternative RMFI office, teaching, and storage facility.
PRIORITY 6: Ensure RMFI staff have the skills, expertise, knowledge, and support to be effective and successful in their job function.
PRIORITY 7: Ensure RMFI Board of Directors have the skills, knowledge, and experience required to effectively lead the organization.

GOAL 3: Grow a regional reputation for completing exemplary trail and restoration work, environmental education, and restoration research.
PRIORITY 8: Cultivate strategic partnerships with institutions of higher learning and other similar entities in the Pikes Peak Region (i.e., Colorado College, Pikes Peak Community College, University of Colorado - Colorado Springs, QUAD Innovation Partnership, U.S. Air Force Academy, etc.) for the purpose of fulfilling the stewardship, educational, research components of RMFI’s mission.

GOAL 4: Increase regional awareness of RMFI’s mission, purpose, projects, and programs.
PRIORITY 9: Utilize multifaceted, targeted marketing approach to better communicate RMFI’s mission, programs, projects, and capacities.
PRIORITY 10: Pursue and cultivate new and existing partnerships (volunteers, funders, land management agencies, organizations) that increase support, collaboration, and efficiencies.


While unique efforts will be taken to achieve each goal and priority, none will thrive or endure without the others. Collectively, the goals and priorities represent a complete and interconnected organizational vision for conservation, stewardship, and volunteerism. These goals and priorities will be implemented through RMFI’s current funding and investment opportunities and through strategic initiatives and objectives as outlined below.

WHAT WE DO:
We scope, design, and implement science-based, technically proficient trail and restoration projects through a community of volunteers, youth conservation corps, and RMFI’s own “Stewardship Crew”. We bring a values-based approach to our work that seeks to educate our volunteers and partners about the vital importance of stewardship. We conduct our work within the bounds of the Rocky Mountain Region with specific emphasis on Southern Colorado and the Pikes Peak Region. We vigilantly monitor the effectiveness of our projects to ensure the work we produce is durable and effective over time. We also seek to inform our work with the most relevant and salient scientific research as well as best practices for trail design, trail construction, and landscape restoration. We work on a seasonal model that relies on identifying and retaining superlative field staff that can implement high-quality trail and restoration projects.

WHO WE SERVE:
We serve land management agencies, diverse community members passionate about the environment, and students interested in conservation. We seek to elevate the importance of public lands stewardship and respect for ecology, the environment, and especially the Rocky Mountain Region among all people.

HOW WE WILL SUCCEED:
We will differentiate ourselves by:
● Implementing high-quality trail and restoration projects.
● Employing exemplary staff with relevant skills and experience.
● Cultivating durable relationships with land management entities, funders, volunteers, and other key partners.
● Providing effective and affordable services.
● Utilizing the most efficient and effective tools and technology.
● Monitoring the impact and effectiveness of our on-the-ground projects and regularly communicating that impact through diverse outreach channels.
● Utilizing a values-based approach that helps to foster stewardship in everything we do

The Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI) has experienced significant growth in recent years. This growth has largely been fueled by a number of different factors including greater support for and awareness of the importance of public lands stewardship in the region; a continual decline in capacity and available financial resources within local, regional, state, and federal land management agencies; the ability of RMFI to deliver highly quality and much-needed programs and projects related to environmental stewardship, education, and research; and a growing community awareness about RMFI as a whole.

Throughout this recent growth, RMFI has stayed true to its mission of conserving and protecting public lands in Southern Colorado and the Pikes Peak Region, areas of the state that have also experienced their fair share of challenges. Major wildfire and flooding events in 2012, 2013, and 2015 caused significant damage to properties and the environment; recovery is ongoing and will likely take decades. Coupled with natural disasters are the increasing recreational demands being placed on the state’s trails, parks, forests, and open spaces. The Pikes Peak Region alone sees an estimated 24 million visitors per year, many of whom are drawn by the area’s diverse and vast expanse of public parks, open spaces, forests, and other outdoor recreation amenities. With greater use and demand comes an increased responsibility to care for and maintain these treasured natural landscapes so they continue to provide valuable ecosystem services and high quality visitor experiences.

Since 1982, RMFI has been a key player in the conservation and stewardship of Southern Colorado’s public landscapes that not only define Colorado Springs, but the surrounding communities and region as well. Our restoration model centers on community involvement as a means of connecting people to the outdoors, promoting a healthy lifestyle, developing the next generation of environmental leaders, and fostering an ethic of environmental responsibility and stewardship that can be passed down from generation to generation.

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 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 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 collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, 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

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

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

Financials

Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Inc.
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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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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.

Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 09/13/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Lee Derr

Colorado College / Palmer Land Trust


Board co-chair

Jeff Mohrmann

Morgan Stanley

Jason Alwine

Matrix Design Group

Jim Smith

Mountain Chalet

Chris Lieber

N.E.S., Inc.

Lily Weissgold

Colorado College

Melissa McCormick

Stewardship Contractor

Alex Lippert

Co-Founder/Partner at Steadfast Wealth Co.

Katie Regan

Teacher, Doherty High School

Anna Parrish

Assistant Director of Development, University of Colorado Colorado Springs

Priscilla Marbaker

Principal, Tapis Associates

Karen Shuman

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 9/13/2023

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

Leadership

No data

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 04/29/2022

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 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 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 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.