Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast Inc.
400 Palmetto Avenue
PO Box 902
Osprey FL 34229-0902

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast works to protect the environmental character, biodiversity and natural integrity of the bays, beaches, barrier islands and watersheds of Florida’s Gulf Coast.

CEO/Executive Director Ms. Christine Purvis Johnson
Board Chair Ms. Eileen Scudder Zimmermann
Board Chair Affiliation Community Volunteer
General Info
Organization DBA
Supported Organization
Former Names
Sarasota Conservation Foundation
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 2003
Awarded competitive grant from Community Foundation in the last 5 years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Nov 2016
State Registration 0
IRS Letter of Determination
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $1,111,142.00
Projected Expenses $1,075,724.00
Other Documents
Impact Statement

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast works to save land, forever, and to connect people to the land and each fostering a deep sense of passion for conservation. Those of us who call Florida home and those who visit each year know there is no place like it. Our natural environment drives our economy, and is the primary reason why people visit and live here.

Our work has saved nearly 8,600 acres on 33 properties. These special places include ecologically sensitive areas providing protection for rare habitat as well as significant natural places for the public to enjoy. Our impact is far reaching, affecting the health of the entire Gulf Coast.

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast is on the threshold of significant impact. Last year we launched a new comprehensive Strategic Plan that charts our ambitious five year course. Our “Myakka Island Conservation Corridor” project is in line to receive Florida Forever support which, once complete, would add over 8,100 acres to conserved lands in our region. The preservation of these properties will protect, restore, and maintain the quality and natural functions of land, water and wetland systems.

On the education front, over 5,000 school-aged children have participated in our environmental education programming since inception. For some children, it is the first time they have ever waded into water or discovered nature under a magnifying glass.

Conservation Foundation played an instrumental role in the passage of Amendment 1, Florida’s Water and Land Legacy, which passed by an unprecedented 75% statewide and 80% in Sarasota County. We are now working diligently to advocate for state legislatures to follow the will of the voters and appropriately fund Florida’s Land Acquisition Trust Fund. 

Finally, this year we made important strides on the road to building a sustainable organization. We are working to diversity our funding sources, enhance retention and deepen loyalty among supporters.
Needs Statement

 1. Saving Land We have a window of time – 10 to 15 years - to save the most environmentally significant land in our region. Your gift can help save these priority lands that are critical to our health, enjoyment, and economy. Your support will help protect these vital places and encourage our entire community to leave a legacy of conservation for future generations. With a gift to our Land Acquisition Fund, you ensure we have the resources on hand to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise. Goal: $5 million.

2. Stewardship We save land forever. You can ensure that these lands are safeguarded for future generations by contributing to our Stewardship Fund. Your gift makes sure that the resources needed to manage the lands appropriately are there, for people and wildlife. Stewardship Fund goal: $1 million.

3. Education Become a conservation hero by connecting people to the land, sparking a special experience in a child or instilling a passion for nature. Your gift helps our community engage in conservation at all levels and ages: nature explorations, guest lectures, park days for children and environmental art exhibits. Be a conservation hero and connect kids and adults to the restorative power of our natural environment. Need: $65,000.

Background Statement

In 2003, a passionate group of residents loving our beautiful coastal region were concerned about its fragility. They banded together and formed a conservation community with the intent to protect the exquisite bays, beaches, barrier islands and watersheds that define the character and ecology of our region. The mission to save land forever was imperative as they realized that conservation was a necessity not a luxury. They were inspired to work with landowners, businesses, and government to purchase natural areas, hold land preservation agreements and educate for responsible land and water stewardship in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee Counties. 

 Early successes supported the connection of people enjoying natural spaces and include a grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation to purchase a parking lot in downtown Venice to turn into an urban park, and a $6.6 million grant from Florida Forever to purchase Bay Preserve and ensure permanent public access to Little Sarasota Bay.


 In 2010, Conservation Foundation received national accreditation, a prestigious designation signifying good governance and excellent practices.  In 2015, Conservation Foundation’s five-year strategic plan outlines priorities for selecting lands with the highest conservation value, setting their course to preserve those special natural lands that make our region extraordinary.


Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Charlotte
FL- Lee
FL- Manatee
FL- Sarasota
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Environment
Secondary Org Type
Tertiary Org Type
Environment, Land Conservation, Conservation Education, Palm Ball, Fall Family Festival
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast has entered an exciting period of expansion. Nearly twelve years ago, a small and dedicated group created Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast to protect the bays, beaches, barrier islands and watersheds of the Gulf Coast. Since then, the Conservation Foundation has become a go-to organization for land conservation in southwest Florida. The Foundation is a fully accredited land trust with ten professional staff members and a dedicated board of Directors, Board of Advisors and cadre of volunteers. 


Statement from the CEO/Executive Director


There are few things we can do that last “forever.” Land lasts forever. You can be a guardian of the beautiful places here on Florida’s Gulf Coast. We invite you to help save our stunning natural vistas, ensure that we have opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, and protect our exceptional water resources, so that we not only have clean drinking water but also a robust, thriving economy. Our natural resources are our economy. Everyone has a right to live in a beautiful place. Please join with us, the only accredited land trust in our region, and become a guardian of our beautiful paradise. Working together is the only way we can protect our bays, beaches, barrier islands and watersheds. For we are the last generation that can save this land.



Description pasting

We host  at least 12 programs annually ranging from our Fall Family Festival, guest speakers and authors, guided kayak paddles in Little Sarasota Bay to environmental art exhibits. Through these programs people connect to Florida’s natural environment, and increase their desire and dedication to conserve our fragile coast.

Budget $65,000
Category Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Families
Short Term Success
100% of participants will experience the outdoors have a greater understanding of the natural environment of Florida's Gulf Coast. Hopefully, they will leave with a greater appreciation for the need to conserve it.
Long Term Success
The Educational Programming benefits approximately 6,500 visitors to Bay Preserve at Osprey. The preserve is open to everyone at no charge and offers opportunities for active and passive activities for all ages.
  • Sarasota Crew brings over 500 youth rowers, their coaches and parents weekly throughout the year.
  • Approx. 500 visitors annually use Bay Preserve to launch kayaks, canoes, paddle boards and sculls. Our public dock and shoreline offer access to Little Sarasota Bay, Palmer Point Park, Jim Neville Marine Preserve and the surrounding area.
  • Partnering with Art Center Sarasota, painters and instructors visit throughout the year. They use outdoor easels and paint en plein-air, the historic structures and natural scenery.
  • Fall Family Festival draws more than 1000 people each Nov.
  • More than 1000 additional visitors attend educational programs/events sponsored by Conservation Foundation. 
  • Self-guided tours of Bay Preserve are available during open hours and free guided tours are offered.
Program Success Monitoring
Attendance, Sponsorships, Surveys, Grant funding and reporting
Program Success Examples
Fall Family Festival was attended by 800 to 1000 people 3 years in a row. More than 100 surveys were completed by participants in a watershed a awareness workshop.Internationally recognized artists Clyde Butcher, O.M. Braida and John and Susie Seerey-Lester exhibited their work at Bay Preserve.

As a regional land trust, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast is committed to protecting land surrounding the key waterways and bays that feed the rich estuaries from the mouth of Tampa Bay, to Sarasota Bay, south to Charlotte Harbor and along the Gulf of Mexico. Our aim is to work with the community to conserve the lands they cherish. We protect natural lands and also create opportunities for people to connect with nature. We have specific criteria to identify and evaluate lands that have the highest importance for conservation or public access. Each conservation opportunity is assessed in accordance with these priorities and our stewardship abilities and we pursue those where we can make a difference and lead to a successful conservation conclusion. We secure land only from willing landowners and use a variety of conservation tools customized to fit the specific opportunity and the needs of individual landowners and property resources.

Budget $380,000
Category Environment, General/Other Land Conservation
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served General/Unspecified General/Unspecified General/Unspecified
Short Term Success Within the next 18 months: permanently conserve approximately 2000 acres that protect imperiled habitats, help protect the quality of our rivers and gulf, and provide unique public access opportunities.
Long Term Success

Double the lands we have conserved from 8,600 to 17,200 acres while engaging the community in supporting land conservation.

Program Success Monitoring

Number of acres of lands permanently conserved through our efforts and the partnerships we facilitate; increase in public participation on the land and with CFGC.

Program Success Examples

CFGC has permanently conserved about 8,600 acres in the past 12 years including:

Robinson Preserve Expansion: Added 150 acres to the highly popular Manatee County park that were threatened with a residential golf course development. The property is now being restored and will include a new state-of-the-art environmental education center.

Siesta Key Preserve: own and manage a ½ acres of Siesta Key beachfront that is invaluable habitat for the threatened Snowy Plover, a tiny ground nesting bird with only 200 pairs left in Florida

Myakka Island Conservation Corridor: Helped Sarasota County permanently protect 8,000 acres; own and manage a camping/picnicking site on the river accessible by paddle craft.

Program Comments by Organization
Program Comments by Foundation
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Christine Purvis Johnson
CEO Term Start Oct 2011
CEO/Executive Director Email
Experience Christine P. Johnson is a fifth generation Floridian who shares the Foundation’s vision of creating an emerald necklace of pocket parks and protected lands along the Gulf Coast. After earning a BS in Business Administration from the College of Charleston and an MBA from the University of Florida, Christine worked in management and consulted with Fortune 500 companies in fields ranging from manufacturing to media. Her Florida roots run deep though and this Manatee County native couldn’t stay away for long.

Christine has worked in the nonprofit sector in this region for the past ten years. She successfully completed the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida’s $7M capital campaign to build a regional headquarters and then served as Director of Development for Ringling College of Art and Design overseeing their largest fundraising campaign, leading a team of five to raise over $100M. In October of 2011, she was named President of Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast where she works to save land and ensure public access to natural places.

Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Pamela Brownell Director of Operations
Kathy Grass Director of Finance
Suzanne Gregory Director of Programs & Marketing
Debi Osborne Director of Land Protection
Andria Piekarz Director of Philanthropy
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 6
Part Time Staff 5
Staff Retention Rate % 100
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 0
Volunteers 211
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes

Sarasota County, Science and Environmental Council, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Sarasota Crew, Art Center Sarasota, Historic Spanish Point, Sarasota County Government Extension, Stetson Law, Sarasota Bay Watch, START, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Around the Bend Tours   

External Assessments and Accreditations
Awards & Recognition
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan Yes
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Years 5
Strategic Plan Adopted Feb 2015
Management Succession Plan No
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Policies and Procedures Yes
Management Comments by Organization
Management Comments by Foundation
Planning & Policies Comments by Organization
Planning & Policies Comments by Foundation
Multi-Media Comments by Organization
Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Eileen Scudder Zimmermann
Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Board Term Nov 2015 to Nov 2016
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Mr. Robert Brown Atlas Insurance
Ms. Ann Charters Community Volunteer
Ms. Mickey Davis Community Volunteer
Mr. Daniel DeLeo Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick
Dr. Harold L. Johnson Intercoastal Medical Group
Mr. Michael Knupp Community Volunteer
Mr. Iwan Mohamed BB&T
Ms. Eileen P. Scudder-Zimmerman Community Volunteer
Mr. Glenn Shipley Northern Trust
Mr. James Westman Octex, LLC
Mr. Stephen Wilberding Community Volunteer
Student serving on the board through Community Youth Development?
Constituency Includes Client Representation
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 8
Female 3
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 0
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 5
Board Meeting Attendance % 85
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Governance Comments by Organization       
Governance Comments by Foundation
Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Begins 2015
Fiscal Year Ends 2016
Projected Revenue $1,111,142.00
Projected Expenses $1,075,724.00
Endowment Value $3,491,867.00
Endowment Spending Policy Percentage
Endowment Spending Policy % 4
Capital Campaign
In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Campaign Dates 0 to 0
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years?
Historical Financial Review
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201420132012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$422,897$3,568,830$572,082
Investment Income, Net of Losses$46,888$49,837$42,883
Membership Dues$0$0$19,405
Special Events$242,755$290,922$266,186
Revenue In-Kind$31,141$23,474$106,168
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201420132012
Program Expense$821,503$3,716,650$880,257
Administration Expense$118,631$109,959$84,583
Fundraising Expense$88,361$88,341$41,135
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.881.031.07
Program Expense/Total Expenses80%95%88%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue13%2%5%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$28,945,794$28,870,018$28,354,912
Current Assets$457,121$446,200$370,952
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$152,321$175,046$100,944
Total Net Assets$28,793,473$28,694,972$28,253,968
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201420132012
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $422,897Contributions, gifts, grants $3,568,830Contributions, gifts, grants $572,082
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising $242,755Fundraising $290,922Fundraising $266,186
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountProgram Income $95,080Program Income $69,524Sarasota County Partners $86,685
CEO/Executive Director Compensation
Co-CEO/Executive Director Compensation
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities3.002.553.67
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization
Financial Comments by Foundation Financial information taken from IRS Form 990 and audit documents.  Individual contributions include foundation and corporate support.  Federal tax returns and audited financial statements reconcile.
Nonprofit Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast Inc.
Address 400 Palmetto Avenue
PO Box 902
Osprey, FL 342290902
Phone 941 918-2100