GOLD2021

Student Conservation Association, Inc.

Building the next generation of conservation leaders

aka SCA   |   Arlington, VA   |  http://www.theSCA.org

Mission

SCA's mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of our environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land.

Ruling year info

1965

President and Chief Executive Officer

Stephanie Meeks

Main address

1310 N. Courthouse Rd Suite 110

Arlington, VA 22201 USA

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EIN

91-0880684

NTEE code info

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

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

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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?

Community Programs

The SCA Community Programs run year-round, working with young people to tackle challenging outdoor projects and introducing participants to green spaces and jobs in their home communities, supported by a stipend or wage.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

The SCA Regional Crew program hosts high school students for several weeks during the summer for a service expedition in which they complete a conservation project in nationally protected parks or forests while staying close to home. Participants develop leadership and outdoor skills while doing important work right in their home community.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

The SCA Conservation Intern program, in partnership with AmeriCorps, hosts expense-paid internships for young adults (typically aged 18-25) to build their skills and advance their careers by doing environmental-based work in public land agencies, businesses, and nonprofits over the course of 1-12 months.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Young adults

The team-based SCA Corps Program, also in partnership with AmeriCorps, hosts stipend-supported young adults doing work in front-country, back-country, small-town or large urban settings, taking on major conservation challenges over the course of 1-12 months.

Population(s) Served

The team-based SCA Residential AmeriCorps Programs are a cornerstone of SCA’s programming that hosts stipend-supported young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 in long-term immersive 5- or 10-month terms where they work as a group to address the conservation needs of the states in which they operate.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Young adults
Adults
Young adults

Where we work

Awards

2010 Presidential Citizens Medal to SCA Founder Elizabeth Cushman Titus Putnam 2010

The White House

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 participants engaged in programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Young adults, Adolescents

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Total number of youth and young adults engaged in SCA immersive programs.

Acres of natural habitat restored

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

SCA program participants spurred ecosystem restoration by improving plant and wildlife habitat.

Hours of conservation service

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Number of hours SCA participants spent in service to nature.

Number of people receiving environmental education and outreach

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

SCA participants advanced future stewardship through education and outreach to students and park visitors.

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.

SCA's mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of our environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land.

As the nation's leading youth conservation service organization, SCA empowers young people of all backgrounds to plan, act and lead while they protect and restore America's natural landmarks, cultural resources and urban green spaces. SCA volunteers' hands-on service ensures that our public lands will be there to sustain others well into the future.

As these young people shape the land, the land shapes them in unique and powerful ways. In addition to its environmental impact, SCA service strengthens numerous life skills that foster optimal advancement and help teens prosper. Research demonstrates that along with increasing participants' environmental awareness and sustainable behaviors, SCA enhances individual leadership and social responsibility while fueling continuous growth.

Since its founding in 1957, more than 85,000 high school, college and graduate students have served with SCA, and 70% of our alumni remain active in conservation through their careers and/or studies.

As the world's environment knows no boundaries, the efforts of SCA members – both past and present – are advancing global stewardship and sustainability.

SCA engages participants in immersive, hands-on service experiences. Members are challenged by their new settings and responsibilities, the intensity of their assignments and the often “unplugged" nature of their work in nature. These experiences also include intentional elements of teamwork, self-exploration, reflection, leadership development and career preparation.

For 15-19 year olds, SCA offers the opportunity to serve on adult-supervised conservation crews that run for two-to-four weeks during summer school vacations; participants build trails and restore habitats while learning about the local environment and general sustainability. For those 18 and older, SCA offers internships in a wide range of conservation disciplines for a period of three-to-12 months.

SCA programs take place in all 50 states, in locations ranging from iconic national parks to green spaces in some of America's leading cities. These service opportunities are offered in partnership with federal agencies such as the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, as well as local, state and regional resource management organizations.

A full-time professional staff recruits, trains, and manages SCA crew leaders, who facilitate high school-aged and young adult crews in urban and backcountry areas in all 50 U.S. states. Other program staff place thousands of interns in positions with agency partners, where they receive supervision and mentorship from an on-site staff member.

SCA volunteers annually provide more than 1.3 million hours of service to protect and restore national parks, marine sanctuaries, cultural landmarks, and urban green spaces across the United States.

Sixty years ago, SCA created the youth conservation arena and since then, dozens of other regional and local youth corps have formed using the SCA model. SCA is recognized as a national standard bearer in field conservation, risk management, diversity and inclusivity, leadership development and other related disciplines, and we are guided by a series of core values including:

• Service: Performing valuable work that benefits other people, the natural environment, our community or the world, is the glue that binds us together as a society.
• Environmental Stewardship: We believe our natural world must be protected for future generations. An ethic of conservation care and environmental service is fundamental to all we do.
• Community: We seek to build community at all levels. Collaborating for the common good while fostering personal responsibility and compassion for others builds community and citizenship.
• Diversity: Diversity in the broadest sense (culture, class, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, experience, opinions) provides richness and strength. Working together in service to nature unites us and forges a common future.
• Learning: SCA expands our view of the world through service learning experiences that change the way we live and behave.

Every day SCA provides opportunities for young people to make a positive impact on the world around them. Every year SCA motivates and deploys thousands of young people who care passionately about improving their natural world. We engage them in our parks, forests and urban green spaces to make improvements and learn conservation and sustainability practices. We teach them how to plan, act and lead, all while making a tangible difference in conservation.

Today, it's clear that as much as the land gains from our young people, our young people gain even more from their work with the land. The lessons we impart stay with these young volunteers as their experiences ripple out into all they do throughout their lives: 96% of SCA members have gained skills that they expect to use in the future and, as noted earlier, 70% of SCA alumni are still active in conservation.

SCA's achievements are the fertile ground on which we build our future. We will remain true to our roots, and we will find efficient, new ways to do our work. We will seek novel ways to nurture the young people who participate in our programs. We will expand on established funding sources and seek nourishing new revenue streams and relevant new funding models. We will continue to grow leaders who make a better tomorrow in any and every way they choose.

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), Community meetings/Town halls,

  • 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 identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    As a result of feedback received from program participants, SCA has made increased connections between participants and diverse professionals working in the conservation field and provided more opportunities to learn about programs, jobs, and school possibilities beyond SCA. SCA has also increased the number and types of opportunities available for our alumni, including implementing an annual Alumni Engagement Week that offers all alumni a change to connect with others working across the sector, share knowledge, and learn from each other.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

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

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

Student Conservation Association, 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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  • 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.

Student Conservation Association, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 09/09/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Kathy Bonavist

Elizabeth C. Titus Putnam

Founding Member/Retired

Kathy Bonavist

Priya Cook

Carrie Gonzalez

Rachel Jacobson

Karen Kress

Mamie Parker

Steven Prusky

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Mark Asbury

Chris Dhanraj

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David Leathers

Greg Moga III

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Bob Tamashunas

Don Winsett

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Carol Wren

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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 ? Not applicable
  • 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 12/8/2020

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
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 12/04/2020

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 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 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.