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Top Rated

Conservation Fund

CharityWatch report issued
April 2023

Top-Rated Charity
CharityWatch Grade
Our independent grade based
on a number of factors.
Program Percentage
Amount spent on programs
relative to overhead.
Cost to Raise $100
Amount spent to raise
$100 of contributions.

Contact Information

Conservation Fund
1655 N Fort Myer Drive
Suite 1300
Arlington, VA 22209

Other Names

Natural Capital Investment Fund
Partner Community Captial
Sustainable Conservation

Tax Status


Stated Mission

Working with partners, protects America's land and water resources through land acquisition and sustainable community and economic development, emphasizing the integration of economic and environmental goals.

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Data based on Fiscal Year Ended 12/31/2021

Program Percentage: 93%

The percentage of Conservation Fund's cash budget it spends on programs relative to overhead (fundraising, management, and general expenses).


Calculated Total Expenses



Cost to Raise $100: $4

How many dollars Conservation Fund spends on fundraising to raise each $100 of contributions.


Calculated Total Contributions


Government Funding

0% to 24%

Percentage of cash revenue
coming from government sources


Financial Documents

Entity Document Type Tax ID
The Conservation Fund IRS Form 990 52-1388917
Sustainable Conservation IRS Form 990 94-3232437
Partner Community Captial IRS Form 990 54-2058754
Natural Capital Investment Fund d/b/a Partner Community Captial Audited Financial Statements 54-2058754
Sustainable Conservation Audited Financial Statements 94-3232437
The Conservation Fund & Affiliates Audited Combined Financial Statements multiple
Entity: The Conservation Fund
Document Type: IRS Form 990
Tax ID: 52-1388917
Entity: Sustainable Conservation
Document Type: IRS Form 990
Tax ID: 94-3232437
Entity: Partner Community Captial
Document Type: IRS Form 990
Tax ID: 54-2058754
Entity: Natural Capital Investment Fund d/b/a Partner Community Captial
Document Type: Audited Financial Statements
Tax ID: 54-2058754
Entity: Sustainable Conservation
Document Type: Audited Financial Statements
Tax ID: 94-3232437
Entity: The Conservation Fund & Affiliates
Document Type: Audited Combined Financial Statements
Tax ID: multiple

Governance & Transparency

CharityWatch evaluates certain criteria related to a charity's Governance and Transparency. Donors may want to consider a charity's willingness to be open and transparent with CharityWatch to be a good litmus test for determining its commitment to public accountability.
This charity is Top-Rated
What does it mean to be Top-Rated?
Conservation Fund
meets governance benchmarks.
Conservation Fund
meets transparency benchmarks.
Provides Financial Information
Audit Accessibility
Governance: Policies
Reports regularly & consistently monitoring & enforcing compliance with a written Conflict of Interest Policy
Reports required, annual disclosure by officers, directors, and key staff of interests that could give rise to conflicts
Reports having a written Whistleblower Policy
Reports having a written Document Retention and Destruction Policy
Governance: Financials
Reports providing copy of tax form to all board members prior to filing it with IRS
Reports that financial statements were audited by an independent accountant
Governance: Board of Directors
Reports at least 5 voting board members
51% or more of voting board members reported as independent
Reports documenting minutes of board and board committee meetings
Privacy Policy
Privacy Policy

  Name Title Compensation
1 Lawrence A. Selzer President/CEO $706,410
2 John S. Gilbert Executive VP/CFO $427,691
3 Dean H. Cannon Executive VP/General Counsel $421,608
Name: Lawrence A. Selzer
Title: President/CEO
Compensation: $706,410
Name: John S. Gilbert
Title: Executive VP/CFO
Compensation: $427,691
Name: Dean H. Cannon
Title: Executive VP/General Counsel
Compensation: $421,608

CharityWatch Analysts perform an in-depth analysis of charities' audited financial statements and IRS tax filings, and often review other documents such as state filings, annual reports, and fundraising contracts during their evaluations. Below are select notes that CharityWatch believes may be of interest to donors.

CharityWatch's rating of The Conservation Fund also includes the financial activities of the affiliates combined in The Fund's audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2021, including Sustainable Conservation Inc. (SCI) and Natural Capital Investment Fund, Inc. d/b/a Partner Community Capital (PCAP). All intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated in the audited combined financial statements.

According to The Conservation Fund (TCF) and Affiliates combined audit of December 31, 2021 (Note 1, Nature of Activities and Significant Accounting Policies):

"During 2021, TCF and PCAP [Partner Community Capital], a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides financing for and technical assistance to natural resource-based businesses, agreed to pursue a legal and financial separation of PCAP from TCF. This decision has been made due to proposed changes in the U.S. Treasury Department's regulations for CDFIs that will require certain of their affiliates to have as their primary mission promoting community development, so that the CDFI can remain eligible for funds from the U.S. Treasury Department's CDFI Fund and other funders. TCF and PCAP do not believe this pending requirement can be met as their relationship is currently structured. The full separation is expected to be completed during 2022."

According to The Conservation Fund (TCF) and Affiliates combined audit of December 31, 2021 (Note 8, Bonds and Notes Payable) [$s in thousands, as noted]:

"In 2020, as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, TCF obtained a loan of $3,843 [thousand] through the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). ... In 2021, TCF applied for and was granted full forgiveness, which is shown on the [audited] combined statement of activities with investment and other program income, of the principal amount and all accrued interest totaling $3,888 [thousand]."

According to the Sustainable Conservation audit of December 31, 2021 (Note 12, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)):

"On February 6, 2021, the Organization received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan of $569,500 bearing interest of 1% with a maturity date of February 2026. The Organization concludes that the loan represents, in substance, funding from a government assistance program. The Organization accounts for such funding...as conditional support based on compliance with program terms and allocation of eligible costs to this funding.

"On November 3, 2021, the Organization received notice of forgiveness of the full amount of the PPP loan totaling $569,500."

According to the Sustainable Conservation (SC) 2021 tax filing, SC reports re: Business Transactions Involving Interested Persons, a transaction in the amount of $161,926 involving a board member. The transaction is described as: "The organization received technical consulting services from the Earth Genome, a not-for-profit organization. Steve McCormick, Sustainable Conservation's board member, is also the co-founder of the Earth Genome. Amount of transaction: $161,926" (IRS Form 990, Schedule L, Parts IV & V).

According to the Natural Capital Investment Fund d/b/a Partner Community Capital (PCAP) audit of December 31, 2021 (Note 8, Related Party Transactions): "PCAP has entered into an agreement with a Board Member to provide marketing and consulting services. The fee under the agreement during [the] year ended December 31, 2021 was $79,223..."

According to The Conservation Fund and Affiliates combined audit of December 31, 2021 (Note 1 re: Financial risk):

"The Fund invests in a professionally managed portfolio that primarily contains various fixed income securities, including a collective investment trust fund, municipal bonds, corporate bonds, asset-backed securities, mutual funds and a small allocation to common stock. Such investments are exposed to various risks such as market and credit. Due to the level of risk associated with such investments and the level of uncertainty related to changes in the value of such investments, it is at least reasonably possible that changes in risks in the near term could materially affect investment balances and the amounts reported in the [audited] combined financial statements."

According to The Conservation Fund and Affiliates combined audit of December 31, 2021 (Note 10, Commitments and Contingencies, Pandemic):

"The continued global pandemic in 2021 has created substantial volatility in financial markets and the economy, including in the geographic areas in which the Fund operates. While the Fund has mitigated the financial impact to its business, it is unknown how long these conditions will last. Accordingly, there could be further negative impact to operations, the extent to which will depend on future developments which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted and, as such, cannot be determined."

According to The Conservation Fund 2021 tax filing, The Fund reports re: Compensation, Supplemental Information (IRS Form 990, Schedule J, Part III):

Regarding nonfixed payments to officers, directors, trustees, key employees and highest compensated employees (Schedule J, Part I, line 7):

"All Fund employees, including officers and other key employees, are eligible for discretionary bonuses that are paid annually, usually in the first quarter of the following year. Bonus amounts are based on individual performance and the overall performance of the organization. The aggregate bonus amount for officers is reviewed by the governance committee of the board of directors and the overall compensation of the CEO, including the bonus amount, is established by the governance committee each year."

The Fund reports "Bonus & incentive compensation" payments to 14 individuals in 2021. The three highest amounts reported are (IRS Form 990, Schedule J, Part II):

(1) Lawrence A. Selzer, CEO & President: $185,000, with reported total compensation of $706,410;

(2) John S. Gilbert, EVP & CFO: $115,000, with reported total compensation of $427,691; and

(3) Dean H. Cannon, EVP & General Counsel: $112,500, with reported total compensation of $421,608.

The other 11 reported "Bonus & incentive compensation" payments range from $60,000 to $23,000, with associated total compensation ranging from $327,254 to $170,921 (IRS Form 990, Schedule J, Part II).

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