Green in flux

One in three environmental groups in the western U.S. and Canada have reduced their budgets over the last two years, a new study says, and at least that many have laid off staff or reduced their hours and benefits.

The survey of 134 environmental groups, conducted by Training Resources for the Environmental Community, says the driving force behind the retrenchment is the struggling economy and changes in foundation giving patterns.

Foundations are less likely to fund start-up groups, which were popular in the 1980s and ‘90s, the report says, and now favor groups that focus on protecting “bedrock environmental laws.”

Grants from foundations account for 43 percent, on average, of the incomes of U.S. environmental groups, and 56 percent for Canadian groups.

The report, called “Surviving or Thriving: Raising Funds for environmental Nonprofits in the West,” says executive directors of nonprofits tend to focus their fundraising efforts on foundations, while development staff rely more on small and major donors.

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