Friday, July 13, 2007

Wildsight Financial Summary

Wildsight is an environmental advocacy group headquartered in Kimberly BC. It is an active participant in East Kootenay land use discussions and decisions. It is a registered charity and is required to file annual financial returns with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

A financial summary extracted from its CRA filings is shown below. Wildsight does not disclose this financial information in its annual report on its web site.

Annual expenditures$454,100$453,500$539,600$489,100$646,100$708,300$848,305$629,239
Membership revenue$4,100$3,900$8,500$5,800$5,000$8,900$8,171$11,084

Clearly membership revenue is a very small part of the organization’s annual financial resources.

Grants from foundations, corporations, and governments make up substantially all of its financial
resources. However, individual donations are not disclosed in Canada even though their US foundation donors annually disclose their donations as part of their annual US filings. The scale of Wildsight’s financial resources allows it to have an influential, if not overwhelming, influence on land use decisions in the East Kootenays. Wildsight should be encouraged to publish annual financial statements on its website. Further, it should be encouraged to publish a list of donors and donations. It’s ironic that those foundations in the US disclose their donations, but that same information is not listed on Wildsight’s web page. This information should be made available to the community so that it can judge whether donors are unduly influencing Wildsight’s advocacy position.

What sort of political influence and override are US-based funding foundations buying?

A sampling of anonymous foreign foundation grants to Wildsight

  • Wilburforce
    2008 - $75,000 - Flathead Wild Campaign
    2007 - $25,000 - Southeast BC Grizzly Bear DNA Inventory
    2007 - $50,000 - Flathead Wild Campaign
    2006 - $120,000 - Flathead Park
    Also - $470,000 to CPAWS and Wilderness Conservation Society for Y2Y
  • Lazar Foundation
    2008 - $20,000 - Protect Wilderness
    2007 - $20,000 - Control threats from motorized use & development
    2006 - $20,000 - Wilderness, stop development
    2005 - $15,000 - Wilderness recreation
    campaign 2004 - $15,000 - Wilderness recreation campaign
  • Kendal Foundation
    2005 - $40,000 - Y2Y Campaign
    2004 - $30,000 - Y2Y Campaign also -
    $300,000 to Y2Y Conservation Initiative, Canmore AB
  • Woodcock Foundation
    2007 - $230,000 - Y2Y
    2006 - $400,000 - Y2Y and "several organizations"
  • Brainerd Foundation
    2008 - $50,000 - Protect wildlife connectivity in the Flathead
    2007 - $25,000 - Protect connectivity in Flathead River watershed
    2006 - $20,000 - Instill conservation as cultural ethic
    2005 - $25,000 - Build broad-based demand for public "consultation" about CBM
    2002 - $60,000 - Support Southern Rockies Wildlife Conservation Area
    2000 - $26,000 - Support capacity building tools
  • Bullitt Foundation
    2007 - $35,000 - General support grant
    2006 - $35,000 - General support grant
    2005 - $25,000 - "Advocacy work" in the Easty Kootenay region
  • Yves Rocher Foundation
    Amounts not posted
  • 444S Foundation Amounts not posted

Who else do these foundations fund?

Why would a handfull of wealthy American donors choose to anonymously donate millions in this way? Should they have special access and influence in land-use and political process than you and I as citizens and taxpayers and residents?

Is this what it means to "Think globally, act locally"?

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