NPR logo Profile: Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund

Profile: Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund

Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund
Defenders of Wildlife

Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund is the environmental advocacy organization that led the charge in defeating Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) in 2006.

Pombo, then chair of the House Resources Committee, was a leading foe of environmentalists; defeating him was a huge victory for the activists. Defenders of Wildlife spent more than $1.6 million that election cycle, most of it on the Pombo race.

This year, environmental groups including Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, and Clean Water Action announced a joint effort to build on their 2006 victory and try to elect Democrats to the Senate in races in New Mexico, Colorado and New Hampshire. The fund is particularly focused on helping Democrat Tom Udall's Senate bid in New Mexico — largely by criticizing Udall's Republican rival, Steve Pearce.

The organization also publishes "report cards" that judge members of Congress based on their conservation-related votes. Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund is a 501(c)(4), with an affiliated 501(c)(3) and 527.

Funders: Between 2006 and 2008, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund 527 Account received $125,000 from David Bonderman of Texas Pacific Group; $100,000 from Alida R. Messinger of New York; and $100,000 from Gilman Ordway of Wilson, WY.

From 2006 to 2007, Defenders of Wildlife's 501(c)(3) received $830,000 from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; $300,000 from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation; $250,000 from the Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust; $150,000 from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; and $112,000 from the Henry Luce Foundation.

Leadership: Rodger Schlickeisen, Caroline Gabel, Winsome McIntosh, Karin Sheldon, Ed Yoon. Read more about these leaders in The Secret Money Project's Who's Who Directory of Key Leaders of Independent Groups.

Will Evans is a reporter for the Center for Investigative Reporting, NPR's partner for the Secret Money Project.