Mission: Founded in 1998, Trees, Water & People (TWP) is dedicated to helping communities protect, conserve, and manage the natural resources upon which their long-term well-being depends. This mission is guided by two core beliefs:
- That natural resources are best protected when local people play an active role in their care and management; and
- Preserving local trees, wetlands, and watersheds is essential for the ongoing social, economic, and environmental health of communities everywhere.

Trees, Water & People is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 1998, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information

  http://www.treeswaterpeople.org/

 633 Remington Street
Fort Collins CO 80524 

  970-484-3678


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Star Rating System by Charity Navigator


Charity Navigator evaluates a nonprofit organization’s financial health including measures of stability, efficiency and sustainability. We also track accountability and transparency policies to ensure the good governance and integrity of the organization.




Exceptional

This charity's score is 99.02, earning it a 4-Star rating. Donors can "Give with Confidence" to this charity. 

This score is calculated from two sub-scores:

This score represents Form 990 data from 2020, the latest year published by the IRS.

View this organization’s historical ratings.


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Star Rated Report

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Program Expense

Program Expense Ratio

80.2%


The Program Expense Ratio is determined by Program Expenses divided by Total Expense (average of most recent three 990s).


This measure reflects the percent of its total expenses a charity spends on the programs and services it exists to deliver. Dividing a charity's average program expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Administrative Expenses

10.0%


As reported by charities on their IRS Form 990, this measure reflects what percent of its total budget a charity spends on overhead, administrative staff and associated costs, and organizational meetings. Dividing a charity's average administrative expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Expenses

9.7%


This measure reflects what a charity spends to raise money. Fundraising expenses can include campaign printing, publicity, mailing, and staffing and costs incurred in soliciting donations, memberships, and grants. Dividing a charity's average fundraising expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Liabilities to Assets Ratio

3.4%


The Liabilities to Assets Ratio is determined by Total Liabilities divided by Total Assets (most recent 990).


Part of our goal in rating the financial performance of charities is to help donors assess the financial capacity and sustainability of a charity. As do organizations in other sectors, charities must be mindful of their management of total liabilites in relation to their total assets. This ratio is an indicator of an organization’s solvency and or long term sustainability. Dividing a charity's total liabilities by its total assets yields this percentage.


Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Efficiency

$0.09


The amount spent to raise $1 in charitable contributions. To calculate a charity's fundraising efficiency, we divide its average fundraising expenses by the average total contributions it receives. We calculate the charity's average expenses and average contributions over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Working Capital Ratio

1.03 years


Determines how long a charity could sustain its level of spending using its net available assets, or working capital, as reported on its most recently filed Form 990. We include in a charity's working capital unrestricted and temporarily restricted net assets, and exclude permanently restricted net assets. Dividing these net available assets in the most recent year by a charity's average total expenses, yields the working capital ratio. We calculate the charity's average total expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Program Expense Growth

12.01%


We compute the average annual growth of program expenses using the following formula: [(Yn/Y0)(1/n)]-1, where Y0 is a charity's program expenses in the first year of the interval analyzed, Yn is the charity's program expenses in the most recent year, and n is the interval of years passed between Y0 and Yn.


Source: IRS Form 990

Governance


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990 that the organization has these governance practices in place.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990

Governance:
Independent Voting Board Members  ... (More)
No Material Diversion of Assets ... (More)

A diversion of assets – any unauthorized conversion or use of the organization's assets other than for the organization's authorized purposes, including but not limited to embezzlement or theft – can seriously call into question a charity's financial integrity. We check the charity's last two Forms 990 to see if the charity has reported any diversion of assets. If the charity does report a diversion, then we check to see if it complied with the Form 990 instructions by describing what happened and its corrective action. This metric will be assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Full Credit: There has been no diversion of assets within the last two years.

  • Partial Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity has used Schedule O on the Form 990 to explain: the nature of the diversion, the amount of money or property involved and the corrective action taken to address the matter. In this situation, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity's explanation on Schedule O is either non-existent or not sufficient. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
(Less)
Audited Financials Prepared by Independent Accountant ... (More)

Audited financial statements provide important information about financial accountability and accuracy. They should be prepared by an independent accountant with oversight from an audit committee. (It is not necessary that the audit committee be a separate committee. Often at smaller charities, it falls within the responsibilities of the finance committee or the executive committee.) The committee provides an important oversight layer between the management of the organization, which is responsible for the financial information reported, and the independent accountant, who reviews the financials and issues an opinion based on its findings. We check the charity's Form 990 reporting to see if it meets this criteria.

  • Full Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant with an audit oversight committee.

  • Partial Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant, but it did not have an audit oversight committee. In this case, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: The charity did not have its audited financials prepared by an independent accountant. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
(Less)
Does Not Provide Loan(s) to or Receive Loan(s) From Related Parties ... (More)
Documents Board Meeting Minutes ... (More)
Distributes 990 to Board Before Filing ... (More)
Compensates Board ... (More)

Policies


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization has these policies in place.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Policies:
Conflict of Interest  ... (More)
Whistleblower ... (More)
Records Retention and Destruction ... (More)
CEO Compensation Process ... (More)
Donor Privacy ... (More)

Donors have expressed extreme concern about the use of their personal information by charities and the desire to have this information kept confidential. The exchanging and sale of lists for telemarketing and the mass distribution of "junk mail," among other things, can be minimized if the charity assures the privacy of its donors. Privacy policies are assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Yes: This charity has a written donor privacy policy published on its website, which states unambiguously that (1) it will not share or sell a donor's personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations or (2) it will only share or sell personal information once the donor has given the charity specific permission to do so.

  • Opt-out: The charity has a written privacy policy published on its website which enables donors to tell the charity to remove their names and contact information from lists the charity shares or sells. How a donor can have themselves removed from a list differs from one charity to the next, but any and all opt-out policies require donors to take specific action to protect their privacy.
  • No: This charity either does not have a written donor privacy policy in place to protect their contributors' personal information, or the existing policy does not meet our criteria.

The privacy policy must be specific to donor information. A general website policy which references "visitor" or "user" personal information will not suffice. A policy that refers to donor information collected on the website is also not sufficient as the policy must be comprehensive and applicable to both online and offline donors. The existence of a privacy policy of any type does not prohibit the charity itself from contacting the donor for informational, educational, or solicitation purposes.

(Less)

Transparency


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization makes this information easily accessible.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Transparency:
CEO Salary Listed on 990 ... (More)
Board of Directors Listed on Website ... (More)
Key Staff Listed on Website ... (More)
Audited Financial Statements on Website ... (More)
Form 990 Available on Website ... (More)

Additional Information

Unscored

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Total Revenue and Expenses

Total Revenue and Expenses

This chart displays the trend of revenue and expenses over the past several years for this organization, as reported on their IRS Form 990.

Salary of Key Persons

Presented here are this organizations key compensated staff members as identified by our analysts. This compensation data includes salary, cash bonuses and expense accounts and is displayed exactly how it is reported to the IRS. The amounts do not include nontaxable benefits, deferred compensation, or other amounts not reported on W-2. In some cases, these amounts may include compensation from related organizations. Read the IRS policies for compensation reporting



Sebastian Africano, Executive Director

$64,890 (4.81% of Total Expenses)


Source: IRS Form 990 (page 7), filing year 2020

Business Master File Data

Below are some key data points from the Exempt Organization IRS Business Master File (BMF) for this organization. Learn more about the BMF on the IRS website


Activities:

Described in section 170(b)1)(a)(vi) of the Code (BMF activity code: 994)

Preservation of natural resources (conservation) (BMF activity code: 350)


Foundation Status:

Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public   170(b)(1)(A)(vi) (BMF foundation code: 15)


Affiliation:

Independent - the organization is an independent organization or an independent auxiliary (i.e., not affiliated with a National, Regional, or Geographic grouping of organizations). (BMF affiliation code: 3)

Data Sources: IRS Forms 990

The Form 990 is a document that nonprofit organizations file with the IRS annually. We leverage finance and accountability data from it to form Encompass ratings. Click here to view this organization's Forms 990 on the IRS website (if any are available).

Pandemic Response

Due to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, we give charities such as this one the opportunity to share the story of COVID's impact on them. Charities may submit their own pandemic responses through their nonprofit portal.


Trees, Water & People reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Program Delivery

  • Fundraising Capacity

  • Revenue

  • Staffing

  • Administrative Capacity


How COVID-19 impacted the organization's operations financially:

COVID-19 restrictions began right at the end of our fiscal year (31MAR2020) and required us to make preemptive adjustments to our budget projections. We pivoted to remote work quickly and gracefully, losing very little momentum in communications. We shifted much of our fundraising to reflect the urgency of the COVID restrictions, which produced supply chain disruptions that affected food, water & medicine availability in both Central America and on US Tribal Lands. We were able to serve over 1,000 families with emergency supplies, seeds, and funding for home gardens. Our inability to travel required us to leverage technology to communicate with partners on the ground and respond to the most urgent needs. Due to the absence of travel from our schedule and reduced program expenses, and our addition of full-time fundraising and communications staff, our overhead rate increased for the year, but remained under 20%.


How COVID-19 impacted the organization's delivery of programs:

We had to innovate and think on our feet to continue meeting needs while travel was restricted, but the outcome was more of a level playing field between us, our partners, and the communities we serve, and we were able to be more inclusive of people who rarely make it to regular TWP meetings. Programs were put on hold to respond to immediate needs during the first half of 2020, but resumed halfway through the year with new safety protocols and a more limited scope. Our reforestation activities with Tribes went on mostly as planned, with restrictions. This of course increased costs per outcome, as mobility and access to our partner communities was challenging. The effects of the crisis were compounded in November 2020 when twin hurricanes hit Central America, affecting millions in the region and putting over 100,000 people in shelters. This required a response to two crises simultaneously, which continues to underscore the importance of our economic development work in the region.


How this organization adapted to changing conditions caused by COVID-19:

Our Executive Team increased emphasis on regular communications and mental health checks, to ensure staff were taking care of themselves as they adapted to this new reality. Regular reminders to get outside, hydrate, and to take screen breaks were sent to staff to reduce burnout and "Zoom-fatigue". We had a net increase in staff during 2020-21, and did not lose a single person to pandemic turnover of any kind. All staff adapted well to the new circumstances, and were able to perform at the top of their game, in spite of the challenging circumstances. During remote work we took the opportunity to refresh our office and workspaces for the evenutal return, creating a healthier, better ventilated, and fresh space for staff to come back to post-vaccination. While contact was limited, there were several opportunities for outdoor distanced events following the CDC's guidelines. Our volunteer program and public events were significantly curtailed, and are in the process of being rebuilt.


Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

We at TWP had already implemented a policy eliminating PTO in favor of allowing staff flexibility to take time off when they need it, which was helpful during COVID when everyone needed to self-manage their work schedules around home-schooling, care for relatives, and mental health breaks. While our office is open for business, many staff have elected to continue working remotely, and manage in-person office work depending on their schedule and responsibilities. Our trust in each other increased based on our excellent performance during a remote year of work in 2020-21, and thanks to the Paycheck Protection Program, we had a minor increase in revenue compared to the previous year. We will certainly continue to involve our partners and partner communities in regular video calls, now that the technology is easily accessible and managed from almost anywhere.


Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
5/1/20212020 99.02
12/1/20192019 96.30
12/21/20182018 91.74
12/1/20182018 90.37

This organization received multiple star ratings within this fiscal year, due to an update to it's Accountability and Transparency data and/or the receipt of an amended Form 990.

4/1/20182016 87.89
3/1/20182016 87.56
2/1/20172015 85.94
6/1/20162014 83.67
Rating Version: 2.0
12/1/20152014 78.26
11/1/20152014 75.30
6/1/20152013 84.29
4/1/20152013 82.91
12/1/20132012 88.28
12/20/20122011 88.76
12/23/20112010 91.12
12/1/20112010 89.29
10/1/20112009 92.81
9/20/20112009 88.18
Rating Version: 1.0
11/1/20102009 92.64
6/1/20102008 92.62
11/1/20082007 94.11
11/1/20072006 87.89
12/1/20062005 87.85
1/1/20062004 87.83
3/1/20052003 90.18

...   Impact & Results


This score estimates the actual impact a nonprofit has on the lives of those it serves, and determines whether it is making good use of donor resources to achieve that impact.


Impact & Results Score

Not Currently Scored

Trees, Water & People cannot currently be evaluated by our Encompass Rating Impact & Results methodology because either (A) it is eligible, but we have not yet received data; (B) we have not yet developed an algorithm to estimate its programmatic impact; (C) its programs are not direct services; or (D) it is not heavily reliant on contributions from individual donors.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that we have not yet evaluated the organization.

Learn more about Impact & Results.

Do you work at Trees, Water & People? Join the waitlist for an updated Impact & Results score.


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Additional Information

Unscored

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Largest Programs

Largest Programs



Trees, Water & People reported its two largest programs on its FY 2020 Form 990 as:


$700,622

Spent in most recent FY

63%

Percent of program expenses


International Program - Education, training and community development in the areas of reforestation, fuel-efficient cookstoves and environmental education programs in Central American countries.


$395,153

Spent in most recent FY

36%

Percent of program expenses


Tribal Program - Education, training and community development on native american reservations focusing on reforestation, solar energy, efficient and clean heating systems, renewable energy, employmen ... (More)


...   Leadership & Adaptability


This score provides an assessment of the organization's leadership capacity, strategic thinking and planning, and ability to innovate or respond to changes in constituent demand/need or other relevant social and economic conditions to achieve the organization's mission.


Leadership & Adaptability Score

100

out of 100

The score earned by Trees, Water & People is a passing score.

Encompass Rating V4 provides an evaluation of the organization's Leadership & Adaptability through the nonprofit organization submitting a survey response directly to Charity Navigator.


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Leadership & Adaptability Report

100

of 100 points

Mission

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s mission


Founded in 1998, Trees, Water & People (TWP) is dedicated to helping communities protect, conserve, and manage the natural resources upon which their long-term well-being depends. This mission is guided by two core beliefs - That natural resources are best protected when local people play an active role in their care and management; and Preserving local trees, wetlands, and watersheds is essential for the ongoing social, economic, and environmental health of communities everywhere.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Vision

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s vision.


Our vision is to be a best-in-class provider of social and environmental programs that allow rural people on the margins of the global economy to thrive where they are, and not have to migrate to put food on the table.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Strategic Goals

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking and goal setting through sharing their most important strategic goals.


Goal One: To attract and retain top talent, that represents the communities we serve, by offering competitive compensation, compelling work opportunities, and inspiring real-world challenges to solve.

Goal Type: Invest in the capacity of our organization (financial, management, technical, etc.).


Goal Two: Increase the scale and scope of our operations to reach more people in meaningful and lasting ways.

Goal Type: Grow, expand, scale or increase access to the existing programs and services.


Goal Three: Leverage our strong networks and hard-won reputation to identify and respond to local needs more quickly and effectively.

Goal Type: New program(s) based on observed changes in needs among our constituencies/communities served.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Leadership Development

The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development


Describe an investment in leadership

During the pandemic we were able to grow our organization's staff, improve our communication and throughput, re-vamp our board recruitment priorities and processes (currently 15 individuals), improve our one-on-one check-ins, read and process books and articles on leadership and managing change, and offer virtual professional development opportunities to all staff throughout the pandemic. This was buttressed by a board / staff strategic planning process conducted at the end of 2020 and early 2021, which provided us the opportunity to refine our organizational chart for maximum effectiveness, and to clarify organizational roles.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Mobilizing for Mission

The nonprofit provides evidence of leadership through focusing externally and mobilizing resources for the mission.


This organization mobilizes for mission in the following ways:
  • Strategic Partnerships

  • Networks of Collective Impact Efforts

  • Thought Leadership

  • Raising Awareness

What are this organization’s external mobilizaton efforts?

During 2020-21 we launched innovative new partnerships to mobilize our organization in our own community, as much of the work we do takes place away from our headquarters. We received a grant from the City of Fort Collins to work with our local school district and actors from Colorado State University to craft a 40' x 15' mural in downtown as a gathering place for diverse segments of our community, and have held several socially distanced events there celebrating the diverse arts and culture in our community, and raising awareness of climate-related migration. Nationally we added new Tribal partners across the west, and formed two multi-actor coalitions to respond to drought conditions and forest fires in Colorado and New Mexico. Internationally we formed a co-owned nonprofit enterprise with a peer nonprofit to create a new funding stream from reduced CO2 emissions reductions from our work in Central America. All of our relationships evolved and adapted to COVID circumstances.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Story of Adaptability

The nonprofit has an opportunity to tell the story of how the organization adapted to tremendous external changes in the last year.


Climate change and climate migration are issues we work on every day, and 2020 gave us some unfortunate examples to help speak to the urgency of this global phenomenon. First, forest fires in Central America's dry season (Jan - May 2020) seriously affected some of the protected areas and community water sources that our communities depend on. We were able to support communities as they defied stay-at-home orders to cut fire lines and risk their lives to protect their only sources of freshwater. Soon after, the largest and second largest wildfires in Colorado's history started 40 miles west of where we lived, and burned for four months, coming within 10 miles of city limits. The constant smoke, raining ash, and local evacuations provided plenty of talking points to drive home the significance of the threats posed by climate change. Finally, two CAT4 hurricanes hit Central America in November 2020, making landfall some 15 miles apart, in a span of two weeks. The storms affected more than 8 million people in the region, destroying thousands of miles of roadways and bridges, thousands of homes, and many thousands of acres of agriculture. These fragile countries and economies, in the midst of recovering from COVID, were ravaged to an unimaginable degree, causing mass displacement and food insecurity that drove outbound migration to levels unseen in recent memory. These extreme events, on top of COVID-19 restrictions, required us to step up the urgency of our communications around the work we do, using these examples, and our donors responded in-kind. We were able to accomplish an astonishing amount of work, and while we had preemptively reduced our budget by 30% at the beginning of our fiscal year (1APR2020), we ended up surpassing our previous year income, increasing our staff size, and adding to our partnerships and impact across the board. Climate change is here to stay. Adaptation is how we build resilience against a constantly shifting external environment.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

...   Culture & Community


This score provides an assessment of the organization's engagement with the constituents it serves, a practice we term Constituent Feedback. When organizations listen to constituents, they are able to better deliver on programs and meet the needs of stakeholders. A future version of this Beacon will also assess an organization's people operations and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) metrics.


Culture & Community Score

Not Currently Scored

Trees, Water & People is currently not eligible for a Culture & Community score because we have not received its Constituent Feedback data. Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile. This data will provide the basis for the initial evaluation of Culture & Community.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that we have not yet evaluated the organization.


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Culture & Community Report

Unscored

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Constituent Feedback

Constituent Feedback


Constituent Feedback and Listening Practice data are not available for this organization. Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile. This data will provide the basis for the initial evaluation of Culture & Community.


Charity Navigator believes nonprofit organizations that engage in inclusive practices, such as collecting feedback from the people and communities they serve, may be more effective. We award every nonprofit that completes the Candid survey full credit for this Beacon, in recognition of their willingness to publicly share this information with the nonprofit and philanthropic communities. Although the data is not evaluated for quality at this time, future iterations of this Beacon will include third party or other data that will serve to validate the information provided by the nonprofit.

Analysis and Research


Like the overall Encompass Rating System, the Culture & Community Beacon is designed to evolve as metrics are developed and ready for integration. Our partnership with Feedback Labs and Guidestar by Candid, and other partners including Fund for Shared Insight, GlobalGiving, and Keystone Accountability, enables us to launch the first version of this beacon with Constituent Feedback information collected on Candid's site.


Feedback practices have been shown to support better Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion outcomes, an essential area of assessment that we intend to further expand and develop in the future. Feedback Labs has documented several studies which indicate that beyond achieving organizational goals, nonprofits that are attentive and responsive to concerns and ideas raised by beneficiaries establish stronger relationships with the people they serve, promote greater equity, and empower constituents in ways that can help to ensure better long-term outcomes. You can find resources to help nonprofits improve their feedback practices here.

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