Do You Know Where Your Donations are Going?

Every year about this time, as the tax year winds down, I review the charitable donations I want to make before year-end and see if the money is going where I expect.  One very good tool for this purpose is charitynavigator.org – they rate all the nationally known groups based on how much collected funds go to programs and how much to administration and fund raising.  Their top rating, 4 stars, goes to the very best.  I would urge everyone who is reading this to check your own charities and see where the money goes.

One of my favorites of the 4 stars has always been The Nature Conservancy.  I have been a contributor for quite a few years and my company provides matching funds for environmental groups whose main mission is not simply advocacy.  Unlike some of the overtly leftist environmental groups like GreenPeace (charitynavigator doesn’t rate them because they are mainly political), the Conservancy had a solid business model that a conservative could love – they used their considerable assets to partner with businesses and governments to actually buy land for reserves and refuges, all around the world.  They stayed out of politics for the most part and focused on the core mission of preserving ecosystems.

Now, alas, that is changing.  Last year, a new CEO was named – Mark Tercek, a Goldman Sachs alumnus with expertise in climate exchange financing (aka. Cap&Trade).  Mr. Tercek has placed the Conservancy smack in the middle of the “Climate Change Agenda”, and it is now overtly political.   Most of the articles and editorials in their (otherwise) very nice magazine “Nature Conservancy”, have started beating the drum for global Cap&Trade initiatives and tracking of “carbon credits”. 

If you would like to see what Mr. Tercek has been involved in, see this article from the Stanford Business School:  http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/news/headlines/goldman_story.html where you will find: 

 “Tercek said Goldman Sachs also is active in the markets for carbon emissions. In September 2006, it made a minority equity investment in Climate Exchange PLC, which owns several European and U.S. trading platforms that facilitate trading in environmental financial instruments: the European Climate Exchange (ECX), the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) and the newly created California Climate Exchange (CaCX), the company’s Web site says.

Some of the stuff makes you want to break out the duct tape before your head explodes, and I finally had enough.   When I got my annual renewal mailing, I wrote the following letter to Mark Tercek:

Mark Tercek, CEO
The Nature Conservancy
4245 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 100
Arlington, VA 22203-1606

Mr. Tercek

Recently I received a short note over your signature, asking me to renew my membership in the Conservancy.

Over the past several years, I have made contributions of several thousand dollars, and had believed that the organization was unique among the environmental NGOs, having forged partnerships with businesses and governments, and using it’s assets as leverage to achieve real change in local ecosystems. Other organizations which I had supported in the past (Greenpeace, WWF, some others) lost me when they became openly anti-capitalist and anti-western. I had even begun exploring a substantial legacy gift to the Conservancy so convinced was I that your model was effective and achieving positive result.

Alas, then you became CEO and the Conservancy has turned leftward with the rest of them and embraced the “Great Climate Change Agenda”. I am an engineer and have a lot of experience in data analysis and computer modeling, and it was clear to me long before “ClimateGate” that the so-called “science” was more political than genuine.

Is there climate change going on? Of course there is – that is the nature of physical systems. The earth is complex and composed of many micro-climates, but clearly the suns cycles, variations in ocean currents, volcanic activity and other macro forces have much more to do with climate change than the energy use of the few billion humans crawling around on its surface. The whole rational for the relationship between CO2 concentration and global temperatures is weak – it is more likely that CO2 follows temperature, not the other way around. Witness what happens when a carbonated soda is placed in the sun.

No, all this is more about money than climate, and given your background, I’m sure you have figured out a way to profit from climate exchange financial instruments as well as Al Gore and the rest. Luckily, the world is now waking up to the scam. It was fitting that now even the UN and developing countries are starting to suspect that they may be cut out of the most lucrative part of the looting.

As long as Climate Change remains the primary focus of the Nature Conservancy, do not expect another penny from me.


Fred Scheibl
Palm Beach Gardens, FL


3 Responses to “Do You Know Where Your Donations are Going?”
  1. Iris Iris says:

    Obviously, I share Fred’s sentiments. I have read most of the books written by the climate-change sceptic scientists (and am looking forward to reading Iam Plimer’s book, “Heaven and Earth” – which I just got last week). This has been a hot-button (sic) for me for many years – and Fred has often heard me screaming somewhere in the house when I read my favorite magazines (such as “Cruising World”) making outrageous climate pronouncements. As cruisers, we are both acutely aware of the environment and are careful to avoid contributing to pollution, damaging sea beds/coral or sea-life. We behave the same way on land. We are also atuned to weather and have spent many an hour staring at forecasts and weather maps when planning passages (or earlier – flights – on an airplane we had). Caring for the environment and avoiding pollution is NOT the same as buying in to man-made global warming. Unfortunately, in order to grab some of the funding, most if not all environmental groups have made the two synonymous. And there is at least one generation of children, if not two, who believe it as fact – not theory. The saddest aspect of this is the dumbing down of true scientific discussion and exchange. Theories should be subject to challenge – very little science is ‘settled’!

    I breathe out a big sigh of the latest pollutant – CO2!

  2. A. J. A. J. says:

    Thanks for the info and the link….mostly thanks for staying ahead of the curve

  3. Thank you, Fred, for such an insightful letter to our readers. “Charitable giving”, in my humble opinion, is one of the *strongest* cases to be made for the defense of America’s capitalistic VIRTUES…

    As productive citizens channel their mental and physical labor into ways that increase their INCOME: How can a moral society *penalize* that? Our social landscape is FILLED with evidence that Americans of self-made wealth have ultimately pursued ways of creating a lasting “Legacy” with their blessings. The Arts, the Sciences, and Education have all been major benefactors of “Charitable Giving” in the United States. It completely dumbfounds me to see Glenn Beck’s investigative staff uncover *hard evidence* of these very same institutions turning their BACKS on Capitalism…

    Many charitable entities are struggling as it *IS* right now. Increasing the tax burden of small business owners and entrepreneurs in THIS ECONOMY…to finance the TRILLION dollar albatross of Pelosi’s wasteful Universal Health Care bill, is absolutely irresponsible – if not morally dubious.

    Iris, I really enjoyed your additional perspective on the heels of Fred’s letter. Sharing details of your shared lifestyle on the open seas as “cruisers”, along with your scientific backgrounds, I think lends you credibilty on climate issues (that I for one really appreciate on this forum).

    I feel as though the liberal factions of our media (and Congress) are painting a picture of Americans in 2009 with a very, very broad brushstroke that is DESTRUCTIVE…

    Liberals are NOT the only folks who care about health care…or the health of the environment.

    Conservatives ARE pragmatists, however, whom in contrast recognize that each major social reform proposed by Pelosi and Reid in 2009 will come at a gross expense to taxpayers – in an era when unemployment has scaled up to 10.2%.

    I was already fearful of the implications of leveraging carbon credits, as media confused (rather than educated) us on the issue… but I didn’t have enough grounding in the earth sciences to debate the data Gore “revealed” in his film. The deceitful nature filtering out recently from the “Climategate” scandal is just detestable…

    Thank you, Fred and Iris both, for your informative posts above. I *really* enjoyed them, and will direct Shannon here in the morning. PLEASE continue to engage us with your timely experience in both industry, and the environment.

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