PLATINUM2024

Student Conservation Association, Inc.

Building the next generation of conservation leaders

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

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Mission

SCA’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of the environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land. Because our mission targets what participants go on to do after their experiences with SCA, following up with our alumni is a key factor in understanding whether we’re achieving that powerful mission that drives all we do

Ruling year info

1965

President and Chief Executive Officer

Lidia Soto-Harmon

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

1. Environmental Conservation: To protect and restore natural resources and ecosystems by organizing conservation projects in parks, forests, wildlife refuges. We help maintain and improve these areas for the benefit of people and wildlife. 2. Education and Training: Provides young people with valuable opportunities for education, training, and skills in the fields of conservation, environmental science, and leadership. 3. Access to Nature: We work to make outdoor experiences more inclusive and accessible. 4. Community Engagement: Engages with local communities and partners to create a sense of stewardship and ownership of natural spaces. 5. Climate Change Mitigation: SCA also plays a role in addressing this challenge by working on projects related to carbon sequestration, climate adaptation, and sustainable land management practices. 6. Conservation Advocacy: Promotes policies and practices that support conservation efforts and protect public lands.

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
Young adults

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
Young adults

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
Young adults

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

Where we work

Accreditations

Corps Center of Excellence Accreditation 2023

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, LGBTQ people, Economically disadvantaged people, Women and girls

Related Program

Conservation Intern program

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
Population(s) Served

LGBTQ people, Adults, Economically disadvantaged people, Women and girls

Related Program

Conservation Intern program

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
Population(s) Served

Adults, Adolescents, LGBTQ people, Economically disadvantaged people, Women and girls

Related Program

Conservation Intern program

Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

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
Population(s) Served

Young adults, Children and youth, LGBTQ people, Economically disadvantaged people, Women and girls

Related Program

Conservation Intern program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

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 100,000 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 six 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.

The Student Conservation Association (SCA) has had a significant impact on conservation efforts in the United States since its founding in 1957. Here are some of the key impacts and contributions of SCA since its inception:
1. Youth Engagement: SCA has engaged thousands of young people in conservation work, fostering a sense of environmental stewardship among generations of volunteers and participants. Many of these individuals have gone on to pursue careers in conservation, becoming leaders in the field.
2. Conservation Projects: SCA has been involved in a wide range of conservation projects across the country. These projects have included trail building and maintenance, habitat restoration, wildlife monitoring, invasive species removal, and more. SCA volunteers and interns have contributed countless hours of labor to help preserve and protect natural areas.
3. National Parks and Public Lands: SCA has a strong partnership with the National Park Service, and its volunteers have made significant contributions to the maintenance and improvement of national parks and other public lands. They have helped maintain trails, restore historic buildings, and conduct research in these iconic natural areas.
4. Diversity and Inclusion: SCA has made efforts to increase diversity and inclusion in the conservation field. The organization has actively worked to engage participants from underrepresented communities and provide opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds to connect with nature and conservation.
5. Environmental Education: SCA has played a role in environmental education by providing participants with hands-on learning experiences in the outdoors. Through its programs, young people have gained a deeper understanding of ecology, conservation science, and the importance of protecting natural resources.
6. Disaster Response: In addition to ongoing conservation work, SCA has also been involved in disaster response efforts. SCA volunteers have assisted in the aftermath of natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires, helping with cleanup and recovery efforts.
7. Advocacy: SCA has advocated for policies and funding that support conservation and environmental protection efforts. The organization has worked to raise awareness about the importance of preserving natural spaces and the role that young people can play in this endeavor.
8. Community Building: SCA has created a community of passionate conservationists. Alumni of SCA programs often remain connected to the organization and continue to promote conservation values in their personal and professional lives.
Overall, the Student Conservation Association has made a lasting impact by connecting young people to the environment, instilling a sense of responsibility for the natural world, and contributing to the preservation of the country's natural heritage through hands-on conservation work. Its legacy continues to influence the conservation movement in the United States.

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, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback

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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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.

Student Conservation Association, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 01/30/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Gail Carmody

David Leathers

Carol Wren

Bristol Bay Native Corporation

Lidia Soto-Harmon

President & CEO Student Conservation Association

Bryan Arroyo

Kathy Bonavist

Ethel Branch

Cindy Lewin

Natalie Mebane

Lena Hickman-Miot

Bettina Ring

Steve Howell

Shanelle Smith Whigham

Tom Tidwell

Andew Sutherland

Bob Vogel

Terri Thomas

Anna Wadhams

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 9/5/2023

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

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Female

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/26/2024

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 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 measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • 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.