COLUMBIA RIVERKEEPER

Clean Water - Healthy Rivers - Our Future

HOOD RIVER, OR   |  www.columbiariverkeeper.org

Mission

To protect and restore the water quality of the Columbia River and all life connected to it, from the headwaters to the Pacific Ocean.

Ruling year info

1994

Executive Director

Brett VandenHeuvel

Main address

407 Portway Ave STE 301

HOOD RIVER, OR 97031 USA

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EIN

91-1583492

NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (C01)

Pollution Abatement and Control Services (C20)

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

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

All along the Columbia River, we work with people in dozens of communities—rural and urban—with the same goals: protecting the health of their families and the places they love. We enforce environmental laws to stop illegal pollution, protect salmon habitat, and challenge harmful fossil fuel terminals. Legal work makes a difference. But lawsuits alone do not create the change we need. Change comes when people organize and stand together for something they believe in. Power shifts when conversations around kitchen tables grow into successful campaigns.

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?

Stopping Pollution

Columbia Riverkeeper works to reduce toxic discharges, establish better limits on toxic pollution, and clean up contaminated sites. Our strategy is to enforce environmental laws to stop illegal pollution discharges, push for policies and permits that better protect our rivers, and clean up contaminated sites that leach toxic pollution.

We have a direct impact on people, wildlife and the water quality. An eastern European immigrant invited our staff to a barbeque of carp he caught near Vancouver. The carp and other resident fish are important food sources for low income and immigrant residents, but they contain off-the-charts levels toxic pollution including mercury and cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Catching fish for your family is a proud and honorable act, but this father was literally poisoning his family. The majority of the fishers we meet that eat resident fish are people of color, immigrants, or low-income.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Energy companies seek to turn the Columbia River into the nation's fossil fuel highway. This includes proposals for America's largest coal export terminal in Longview (Millennium), America's largest oil-by-rail terminal in Vancouver (Tesoro), and the world's largest fracked gas methanol refinery in Kalama (Northwest Innovation Works). If built, over a dozen new coal and oil trains would traverse the Columbia River every day, cutting through towns and tribal fishing sites.

The goal is to stop these stunning new fossil fuel infrastructure proposals that threaten Columbia River communities, clean water, and the climate. We can set a national example by rejecting dirty coal, oil, and gas, and promoting clean energy. If we fail, the fossil fuel companies will build infrastructure that will lock us into 30 to 50 more years of dirty fossil fuel use, at a time when we can move rapidly toward clean energy.

Marrying legal advocacy and grassroots organizing is a key to our success. Riverkeeper is a founding member of the Power Past Coal and Stand Up to Oil campaigns, regional coalitions fighting fossil fuels. We work with allies to win on coal and oil, build a regional campaign against fracked gas, and fight for better clean energy policies.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Columbia Riverkeeper fosters stewardship and inspires people to take action, with a special focus on increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion. We provide opportunities for people to get their hands dirty, build a relationship with the river, and learn about the natural and cultural history. This includes: volunteer E. coli testing of popular swim beaches to encourage safe swimming; river cleanups and invasive species removal; Native American-led tours of petroglyphs; and hikes to view salmon spawning. We tailor our outreach and activities to build stewardship and leadership in underserved communities.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Riverkeeper fights to protect salmon from toxic pollution, hot water, habitat loss, and dangerous fossil fuel proposals.

Strong salmon runs require healthy habitat, from spawning streams to the ocean. Riverkeeper works to protect and restore salmon habitat. This includes protecting the Columbia River estuary from new dredging and industrialization, cleaning up contaminated sites, and working with volunteers to restore riparian habitat.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Hanford is the most contaminated place in the Western Hemisphere. For over 30 years, Riverkeeper and our predecessor group have pushed our government for faster and better nuclear waste cleanup. Today, we are partnering with the Yakama Nation to draw attention to the future of Hanford.

Riverkeeper empowers people to engage in one of the most importantㅡand complicatedㅡcleanups in the world. We watchdog government decisions on Hanford cleanup and arm people with the facts and law to make a difference. We work in solidarity with tribal nations to increase public participation in critical cleanup decisions at Hanford. And we serve on the Hanford Advisory Board, a non-partisan government board that provides recommendations on Hanford cleanup to the D.O.E., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Washington Department of Ecology.

Population(s) Served
Adults

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 petition signatures

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

Ethnic and racial groups, Social and economic status

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of students educated through field trips

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

Age groups, People of Latin American descent, Social and economic status

Related Program

Engaging River Communities

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic all field trips were canceled for the 2020 school year.

Number of organizational partners

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

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of volunteers

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

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, Columbia Riverkeeper did not hold any volunteer events in 2020.

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.

Columbia Riverkeeper fights for clean water. We take polluters to court when the government turns its back on illegal pollution. We advocate for stronger laws to reduce toxic pollution in fish and drinking water. And we push government agencies to take action for clean water.

Riverkeeper uses community organizing and legal advocacy to fight fossil fuel infrastructure, stop toxic pollution, and empower local residents to take action.

1) Strategic advocacy. Our in-house legal team is top-notch and embraces the strength of synergy with community organizing. Our Executive Director recently earned the 2017 Distinguished Environmental Law Graduate Award from Lewis and Clark Law School. Our two staff attorneys regularly present at legal conferences (as well as Grange halls and church basements) and our Senior Organizer was appointed co-director of the Power Past Coal coalition by her peers.

2) Our people. We have very low staff turn-over, many of our program staff have worked for Riverkeeper for five to ten years. This consistency matters because our campaigns are long and relationships drive our work. In a front-page feature on Riverkeeper several years ago, The Daily News, southwest Washington's leading newspaper, stated: "Riverkeeper, opponents admit, is strikingly well-organized, adept at maneuvering through the nation's legal and regulatory structure and surprisingly successful at gaining the trust of public officials."

3) Local action. Riverkeeper is regularly featured in national media, including stories in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times, because we work on important climate and clean water issues. Yet, we remain a place-based organization that makes long-term investments in community organizing without taking shortcuts. Our membership doubled in the last five years to 12,000 individual donors. This growth is due to high-profile victories, but also to the relationships we have built in a dozen communities.

Columbia Riverkeeper (Riverkeeper) achieved major victories for clean water. Riverkeeper reduced toxic pollution discharges, defeated dangerous fossil fuel terminals, protected key fish and wildlife habitat, and engaged people in hands-on stewardship activities.

Riverkeeper and allies challenged and overturned an important permit for the Kalama methanol refinery in October 2017. The Washington Shorelines Hearings Board ruled that the Port of Kalama violated state law by failing to disclose the refinery’s full greenhouse gas emissions. This win sets the important precedent that Washington decisionmakers must look at the full lifecycle impacts of fracked gas, not simply what comes out of the smokestack, to get a true picture of the climate impacts.

Financials

COLUMBIA RIVERKEEPER
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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

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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.

COLUMBIA RIVERKEEPER

Board of directors
as of 6/9/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Rudy Salakory

Colleen Coleman

Linda McLain

Paloma Ayala Vela

Elizabeth Furse

George Kimbrell

Karen Haberman Trusty

Emily Washines

Ted Wolf

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 ? No
  • 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? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/16/2021,

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
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: 02/12/2021

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. 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 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 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 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.