Western Landowners Alliance

Stewardship With Vision

Denver, CO   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Western Landowners Alliance

EIN: 46-1346488


The Western Landowners Alliance advances policies and practices that sustain working lands, connected landscapes, and native species.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Lesli Allison

Main address

P O Box 27798

Denver, CO 80227 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info

Natural resources

Land resources

Wildlife biodiversity

Agriculture, fishing and forestry


Population served info



NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (K01)

Land Resources Conservation (C34)

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

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

Tax forms




See related organizations info

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Working lands in the West supply food, fiber, energy, and recreational opportunities. They also are the cornerstones human communities and of our ecosystems, providing livelihoods, critical wildlife habitat and water resources. Yet these lands are disappearing to development and as they do, pressure from competing demands is increasing on those that remain. In addition, because private lands occupy the most biologically rich and agriculturally productive portions of the landscape, the fate of these lands along with the wildlife, natural resources and communities they support rests in large part on the actions of private landowners. In order to conserve these lands and natural resources and to manage them well, landowners need knowledge, financial means and supportive public policy.

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?


Western Landowners Alliance provides a direct voice for landowners on policy matters, shares information among peers across our West-wide network, and communicates about working land stewardship.

Population(s) Served

Working lands have the richest biodiversity, per acre, found across the Western landscape, and are typically where the majority of fresh water is found. Working lands are also equally critical for sustaining prosperous rural businesses and long-term economic vitality.

The stewardship of these landscapes is both a privilege and a tremendous responsibility. Western Landowners Alliance was founded by landowners to share knowledge with one another, to make science more accessible and relevant, and to provide the resources and information needed to make sound management decisions.

Population(s) Served

Public policy shapes almost everything about the ownership and management of our working landscapes. From local land-use codes to state wildlife management to federal environmental regulations and farm subsidies to international trade agreements, policy decisions ultimately define our options and our future. As primary stakeholders with deep personal and financial investments in the land, we founded Western Landowners Alliance to ensure that landowners have a direct voice in the policy matters that impact us. We work to ensure that public policies support sustainable stewardship and conservation of the lands and the natural resources in our care.

Population(s) Served

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 media articles reflecting preferred issue framing

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


Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

This is the number of media hits WLA received whether as a live interview, an op-ed, press release or mention by another organization.

Number of community events or trainings held and attendance

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


Related Program


Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Women in Ranching Virtual Confluence; Fire & Drought Preparedness webinar; Aspen Restoration & Care Webinars (2); 24 Working Wild Challenge Practitioner's Calls; 52 Women in Ranching check ins, etc..

Number of policy guidelines or proposals developed

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


Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success


Context Notes

America's Conservation Act; Federal Lands Transition Facilitation Act; Coalition Appropriations letter to Congress; TRCP Farm Bill Letter re: CRP program; NSAC letter to USDA on Direct Farmer Aid, etc

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.

WLA's long-range goals include:

• An organized landowner community to inform and promote good policy and stewardship;

• Policies and economic conditions that support the conservation and sound management of land, water and wildlife on working lands in the North American West;

• Working lands that are resilient to stressors, healthy and biologically diverse, and provide for prosperous rural business and critical ecological services.

In addition, collaboration is essential to the successful management of the West's multiple-use, multi-jurisdictional landscapes. WLA is working to foster collaboration and increase mutual understanding among stakeholders.

WLA's theory of change rests on three premises: 1) The fate of the West's lands, wildlife, natural resources and communities rests in large part on the decisions, actions and influence of private landowners; 2) sound stewardship requires knowledge, financial resources and supportive public policy; and 3) collaboration is essential to managing the West's multiple-use, working landscapes.

To support landowners working to keep their land whole and healthy, WLA provides a direct voice for landowners on policy and economic matters, shares knowledge and information among peers across our West-wide network, and works to improve public dialogue and mutual understanding among stakeholders.

WLA was founded and is led by conservation-minded landowners and managers representing more than 14 million acres of deeded and leased public land under management. WLA members are politically, socially and economically diverse and yet share a land ethic and the lived experience of owning and managing land in the West. This enables WLA members to bring informed and nuanced insights to both policy and management. With members in 10 Western states, WLA is well positioned to advocate at the regional and national levels and to share knowledge across a broad network of landowners and partners.

WLA's 14-member board is comprised of landowners and managers representing a diversity of land ownership and management interests, ranging from working cattle ranches and guest ranch operations to conservation properties.

WLA's staff and advisory committee bring a wide range of expertise to the organization, from land and natural resource management to policy, finance and communications.

WLA was founded in 2011 and since that time has grown into a West-wide organization representing more than 14 million acres under management.

WLA has hosted dozens of field tours and forums in multiple states to help landowners exchange knowledge and information with one another. In 2017 alone, more than 400 people participated in WLA-hosted events and webinars. WLA also led a multi-year research project to identify the outcomes of various rangeland management strategies, culminating with publication of the findings in a peer-reviewed journal. WLA has also presented at numerous conferences around the West on topics ranging from policy to land and natural resource management.

In partnership with the Montana State University's Graduate School of Film and Photography, WLA has produced seven films featuring exemplary land stewardship. One of these films won the 2017 "Student Film of the Year" award from the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival. WLA articles, op-eds and mentions have appeared in numerous local, regional and national media outlets. WLA has also produced various landowner guides and publications.

WLA helped Colorado adopt operator guidelines for oil and gas development that improved protection for certain water resources, and initiated a successful agreement in New Mexico that enables public and private land managers to collaborate on prescribed fire across boundaries. WLA helped initiate and lead a coalition in developing a joint statement of western values that received 134 signatures from diverse organizations and landowners. WLA worked closely with initiatives of the Western Governors Association (WGA) on endangered species, and forest and rangeland health, including participation in WGA-hosted panels and webinars. WLA developed a federal policy platform and has worked closely with partners and coalitions in advocating for the Farm Bill conservation title and federal appropriations supporting agriculture, conservation and collaborative partnerships. WLA recommendations are reflected in a number of policy positions and recommendations by various organizations.

Among our priorities, WLA is working to find ways to improve the economics of family farms and ranches so that they can remain intact and available to meet the needs of both people and wildlife. A WLA-hosted conference on this topic is scheduled in the fall of 2018. In addition, WLA is collaborating with landowners, agencies and NGO's in the northern Rockies to reduce conflicts with wildlife, and in the Southwest to advance regenerative agriculture and conservation stewardship.

WLA has two more films currently in production and plans to produce three publications on working lands economics, wildlife management and water resource management in 2018.

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 demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
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 take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, 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 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


Western Landowners Alliance
Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 22.24 over 9 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 6.3 over 9 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 14% over 9 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Western Landowners Alliance

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Western Landowners Alliance

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Western Landowners Alliance

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Western Landowners Alliance’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$116,947 $263,558 $147,682 $45,188 $84,018
As % of expenses -12.1% 24.4% 12.1% 3.5% 5.0%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$116,947 $263,558 $147,682 $45,188 $84,018
As % of expenses -12.1% 24.4% 12.1% 3.5% 5.0%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $1,163,146 $1,024,219 $1,360,935 $1,642,015 $2,460,131
Total revenue, % change over prior year 23.3% -11.9% 32.9% 20.7% 49.8%
Program services revenue 3.1% 2.1% 1.7% 4.8% 0.7%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 0.0% 7.5% 12.1% 9.0% 6.8%
All other grants and contributions 96.9% 90.3% 86.1% 86.2% 92.6%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $967,873 $1,078,632 $1,220,031 $1,304,649 $1,672,841
Total expenses, % change over prior year 19.2% 11.4% 13.1% 6.9% 28.2%
Personnel 52.8% 65.7% 70.8% 75.3% 63.5%
Professional fees 21.9% 14.8% 16.3% 10.6% 18.6%
Occupancy 1.8% 2.8% 1.9% 0.2% 0.4%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 23.5% 16.7% 10.9% 13.9% 17.4%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $967,873 $1,078,632 $1,220,031 $1,304,649 $1,672,841
One month of savings $80,656 $89,886 $101,669 $108,721 $139,403
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $1,048,529 $1,168,518 $1,321,700 $1,413,370 $1,812,244

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 3.7 4.7 5.0 5.9 6.3
Months of cash and investments 3.7 4.7 5.2 5.9 6.3
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 0.0 3.0 4.1 4.2 3.9
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $300,861 $418,666 $507,368 $642,923 $883,996
Investments $0 $0 $16,520 $0 $0
Receivables $415,188 $239,395 $276,946 $503,422 $1,153,304
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 3.0% 2.7% 2.1% 2.2% 6.8%
Unrestricted net assets $2,674 $266,232 $413,914 $459,102 $543,120
Temporarily restricted net assets $694,910 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $694,910 $376,939 $370,652 $662,830 $1,366,252
Total net assets $697,584 $643,171 $784,566 $1,121,932 $1,909,372

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


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

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Executive Director

Lesli Allison

Lesli is a founding member of the Western Landowners Alliance. She is also a founding member and most recently executive director of the Chama Peak Land Alliance. Through both organizations, Lesli has worked extensively with private landowners and multiple stakeholders to advance conservation, sustain working lands and support rural communities. Prior to her work with these organizations, Lesli managed a large ranch the southern San Juan Mountains of Colorado. During her 16-year tenure, Lesli implemented progressive conservation management through award-winning programs in restoration forestry, prescribed fire, grazing, stream restoration, hunting and wildlife management, and scientific research and monitoring. In 2014, Lesli received the honorable Petchesky award from the New Mexico Land Conservancy because of her extensive work with private landowners and managers to advance conservation, sustain working lands and support rural communities.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Western Landowners Alliance

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Western Landowners Alliance

Board of directors
as of 03/02/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Nelson Shirley

Spur Lake Cattle Company

Term: 2012 - 2024

Kenyon Fields

Mountain Island Ranch

Wendy Millet

TomKat Ranch

Paul R. Vahldiek, Jr.

The High Lonesome Ranch

Ashlyn Perry

Trout Stalker Ranch

Tom Page

Big Creek Ranch

Gus Holm

Vermejo Park

Jeff Laszlo

Granger Ranches

Joel Bernstein

262 Ranches

Kelly Bennett

Hollow Top Angus

James Rogers

West IL Ranch

Bob Budd

WY Wildlife & Natural Resources Trust

Aaron Swallow

Tercio, Trinchera Ranches

Marissa Taylor

Lone Tree Ranch

Mary Anne Dingus

TE Ranch

Dallas May

May Ranch

Rob Lindner

Lindner Ranches

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? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/17/2023

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


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/16/2020

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

  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • 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 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.