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 character, biodiversity and natural integrity of the bays, beaches, barrier islands and their watersheds of Florida’s Gulf Coast. Conservation Foundation does this by holding conservation agreements and owning nature preserves; educating for responsible land stewardship; and, collaborating with individuals, organizations and communities.  

CEO/Executive Director Ms. Christine Purvis Johnson
Board Chair Mr. Michael Knupp
Board Chair Affiliation Community Volunteer
General Info
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 2018
State Registration 0
Financial Summary
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Determination LetterView
Impact Statement

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast works to save land, forever, and to connect people to the land, fostering a deep sense of passion for conservation. Our natural environment drives our economy and our quality of life. It is the primary reason why people visit and live here.

Our work has saved nearly 9,725 acres on 34 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.

In 2016, we permanently conserved the 1,143-acre Triangle Ranch in Manatee County, which protects the watershed of Myakka River State Park and the natural integrity of this region.

The Youth in Nature initiative was launched this year, and will give 1000 underserved youth ‘WOW’ moments in nature.

Our sustainability increases as we diversify 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. Our new Land Acquisition Fund provides the financial resource to allow Conservation Foundation to respond to urgent conservation opportunities. Your gift can help save priority lands that are critical to our health, recreation, and economy. Your support protects these vital places and encourages 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. Youth Education & Engagement At Conservation Foundation, we believe kids need wild places. We work with nonprofit partners and schools to connect more youth to nature. Our Youth in Nature Initiative engages local at-risk youth in a variety of nature-based activities to instill a love of nature, a passion for conservation, and a desire to protect wildlife and their habitat. Become a conservation hero making a gift that allows us to get more kids onto our region's wild places. Need: $7,000 serves 100 kids in our program
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 conservation 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
Areas Served Comments
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Environment
Secondary Org Type
Tertiary Org Type
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast is ensuring our natural beauty continues to be the main reason people want to live, work and play on Florida’s Gulf Coast. In the past 14 years, Conservation Foundation has become the “go-to” organization for community land conservation decisions in southwest Florida. We have saved nearly 9,725 acres in our region and are working on the ambitious goal of protecting another 10,000 acres through our Myakka Island Conservation Corridor initiative. This landscape-scale project will not only protect our waters and wildlife but our economy and quality of life as well. We do this work with a lean staff of eleven professionals and with dedicated Board of Trustees, Board of Advisors and many volunteers.

We move swiftly and strategically as time is of the essence. Every day a land use decision is made that has a negative consequence on our quality of life; these decisions hurt the natural lands and eco-systems that form the foundation of our economy. Experts agree that in 20 years, all of the critical land-use decisions will have been made in our region and there will be no “do-over”. Conservation Foundation is assertively shaping the land use dialogue so that policy makers are informed to make the decisions that will either benefit or cost future generations. Our expert knowledge, laser focus, collaborative culture and connecting people to nature are just a few of our strengths.

The impact of our work is enormous and everlasting for people, nature, our quality of life and our economy. Benefits include protection of our water supply, reduced flooding in developed areas, protecting the waters that flow into our recreational areas and ultimately our pristine bays and beaches.  Residents and visitors have clean rivers to fish, trails to hike, beaches to walk, woodlands to hunt, and bays for boating because of our work. Wildlife can thrive with protected habitat and connected corridors because of Conservation Foundation. 

We invite you to meet with one of our Trustees or staff and learn more about our strategies to protect the lifestyle and economy of our region and save land, forever.  
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.



Our work in land protection forever protects our critical and rapidly disappearing resources. Staff works years in advance, identifying critical habitat, pristine properties and important corridors. In 2018, Conservation Foundation has 9 active land conservation projects from Manatee to Collier County.

Conservation Foundation is actively working on a bold, landscape-scale initiative to create a wilderness preserve rivaling our greatest national treasures. Called the Myakka Island Conservation Corridor, we are expanding protected lands on the Myakka River, which currently exceed 110,000 acres. Our goal is to conserve an additional 10,000 acres. The project will have far reaching impact in Manatee and Sarasota Counties and beyond; it will protect and improve water quality and flood protection; preserve  high quality natural habitats for a range of wildlife, from gopher tortoise to Florida panther; and enhance eco-tourism.
Budget $170,000
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 6 years: permanently conserve approximately 10,000 acres that protect imperiled habitats, help protect the quality of our rivers and gulf, and provide unique public access opportunities.
Long Term Success

The protection of our critical undeveloped lands, from our pristine beaches to the wonders of Myakka, is essential to our future. The focus of our current work in land protection expanding conservation in the Myakka River corridor will protect, restore and maintain the quality and natural functions of land, water and wetland systems critical to this region. A mosaic of habitats are found in this area, where a diversity of wetland types provide habitat that is resilient to changes in rainfall, water level, and seasonal differences, providing habitat year-round, year-over-year, for numerous bird species. This area is also valuable to a variety of other wildlife, including far-ranging species such as eastern indigo snake and Florida panther, who are able to use the area due to its connectivity with adjacent conservation land.

The project benefits a large number of people. It will ensure views of expansive floodplains and hammocks remain for future generations to enjoy.
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 9,700 on 34 properties in the past 14 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.


Conservation Foundation works to connect people to the land and each other, providing joyful and meaningful experiences that build loyalty to conservation and instill a deep sense of passion and urgency to protect what land remains. This work is vital to our long-term success as we build a conservation community throughout this region. We host activities annually ranging from our Wild About Nature Festival, to guided kayak paddles, nature-centered art exhibits and guest speaker series. Our K-12 education is anchored by our broad collaboration with other organizations that bring thousands of kids into nature for hands-on, outdoor learning. Our Youth in Nature Initiative, targets at-risk children and collaborates with more than 8 nonprofit organizations serving this population. Our program is designed to provided 'WOW' moments in nature which will produce life-long memories, build self-esteem, and instill a love for life, and the natural world forever.

Budget $208,000
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 have a positive experience in the outdoors, resulting in a greater understanding and appreciation for our natural environment on Florida's Gulf Coast.
Long Term Success

The future of our natural environment, its magnificent vistas and landscapes, is at a crossroad. Wildlife habitat continues to vanish at an alarming rate while our growing urban population has less connection with nature than any previous generation. Conservation Foundation plays a leading role in engaging our community and conservation stakeholders in a conversation about the importance of conservation and habitat protection. Through education and outreach we will ensure a broad understanding of why preserving our natural landscapes is important for people and for wildlife. Protecting our natural environment protects the quality and quantity of our water and is a vital economic driver; its stewardship and protection impacts our quality of life and our way of life. Conservation Foundation's focus on educating our youth ensures the next generation to lead our community inherit conservation values and a love for nature that will enable them to continue a strong tradition of conservation.

Program Success Monitoring
Attendance, Sponsorships, Surveys, Grant funding and reporting
Program Success Examples

Education and Outreach benefits approximately 6,500 annually and includes an array of activity targeting youth, adults and other focus areas such as the arts, conservation and the environment.  


Our program area targeting youth focuses on creating incredible nature experiences which will produce life-long memories, build self-esteem, and instill a love for life, the future and the natural world. Much of our programming emphasizes discovery, engaging participants in ‘feel good’ activities such as hiking, climbing a tree, fishing and kayaking, while changing lives in ways they wouldn’t have been able to sitting at home, or behind an electronic monitor. Imagine a young, teenage girl who has never before held a fishing pole, reeling in a bonnet head shark on Little Sarasota Bay.  These are 'WOW' moments that change a child forever.


We partner with Art Center Sarasota for art in nature programming where painters and instructors utilize Bay Preserve throughout the year. They use outdoor easels and paint en plein-air, the historic structures and natural scenery.

Staff and volunteers work year-round to steward the land owned in fee by Conservation Foundation. This includes Bay Preserve at Osprey, visited by 20,000 annually and growing, and Pine Island Preserve, soon to be a vibrant park experience both on land and with water access. Stewardship includes providing and managing public access and recreation, ensuring that conservation lands are treasured and enjoyed by the public. We are responsible for the long-term monitoring of land for which we hold the conservation easement  performing tasks tasks that increase the public benefit, value and beauty of land. 
Among our diverse stewardship activities is the creation of a new public nature preserve, Pine Island Preserve at Matlacha Pass. Here, we are creating a 230-acre nature experience, complete with nature trails, wildlife viewing platforms, mangrove boardwalks, fishing areas, kayak access on Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve, and access to another 300+ acres of public conservation land.
Budget $205,000
Category Environment, General/Other Land Conservation
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Families
Short Term Success
Successful stewardship ensures that our parks and preserves fulfill our mission to protect Florida's Gulf Coast. On nature preserves, we use tools such as prescribed fire to sustain healthy populations of Florida wildlife. At community parks, our work protects historic structures and keeps access facilities like fishing piers and kayak launches in good condition.
Long Term Success

The long-term success of land stewardship is the perpetual maintenance of natural and cultural resources entrusted to us. Rare or sensitive species are cared for, enjoyment of the outdoors is provided to many, and new generations are taught stewardship ethics to safeguard Florida's future.

Program Success Monitoring We work with staff and volunteers to monitor conservation lands regularly. Monitors visit properties in person, complete observation reports, take photos at established monitoring points and look for changes on aerial photography.  Specific resources, such as wildlife demographics, are tracked in such a way that management actions may be tailored to current conditions.
Program Success Examples

At Pine Island Preserve at Matlacha Pass, our wildlife stewardship program is focused on the health of gopher tortoises and eastern indigo snakes, recognizing that many other species benefit when these two are properly cared for. Restoration of 158 acres has dramatically improved habitat since we acquired the property in 2009. We are seeing significant increases in migratory and resident birds, and expansion of gopher tortoises into formerly unoccupied areas.

At Robinson Preserve, our staff is entrusted with monitoring the park in perpetuity to assist Manatee County in meeting it's stewardship needs. Manatee County is expanding the popular park by 150 acres and adding miles of trails, boardwalks, paddling bayous, and a tree-house nature center.
On Siesta Key, we protect property that provides nesting habitat for the snowy plover, an uncommon bird that nests only on beaches. Our preserve provides a quiet area away from the busy beach where parents can raise their young. Working with Sarasota Audubon, we have fledged several birds from our property over the past 10 years - an incredible feat considering the beach's popularity. For all of Sarasota County, zero to 5 birds may fledge each year.
Bay Preserve at Osprey is well loved by the community. Festivals, plein air painting, youth rowing camps, and bocce ball take place under old oak canopies on Little Sarasota Bay. Our work protects the historic homestead of the original owners, three historic fishing cottages, and all the other features that make this park special.
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
Suzanne Gregory Director of Programs & Marketing
Debi Osborne Director of Land Protection
Andria Piekarz Director of Philanthropy
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 7
Part Time Staff 3
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, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Ringling College of Art & Design | Englewood Art Center  

External Assessments and Accreditations
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
Other Documents
Other Document 2
Whistleblower Policy
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Michael Knupp
Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Board Term Nov 2017 to Nov 2019
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Mr. Mario Bernardis Retired
Mr. Robert Brown Atlas Insurance
Mr. Stephen Cetrulo Charles Schwab
Ms. Ann Charters Community Volunteer
Ms. Mickey Davis Community Volunteer
Mr. Matt Drews Michael Saunders & Company
Dr. Harold L. Johnson Intercoastal Medical Group
Mr. Michael Knupp Community Volunteer
Ms. Elizabeth Moore Retired
Ms. Nora Patterson Retired
Ms. Eileen P. Scudder-Zimmerman Community Volunteer
Mr. Glenn Shipley Northern Trust
Mr. James Westman Octex, LLC
Mr. David Young DWY Landscape Archistects
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 14
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 9
Female 5
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 0
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 5
Board Meeting Attendance % 81
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       
Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Start Month Oct
Fiscal Year Start Day 01
Fiscal Year Begins 2017
Fiscal Year End Month Sept
Fiscal Year End Day 30
Fiscal Year Ends 2018
Projected Revenue $983,145.00
Projected Expenses $1,282,638.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations No
Organization has Endowment Yes
Endowment Value $3,491,867.00
Endowment Spending Policy Percentage
Endowment Spending Policy % 4
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Campaign Dates 0 to 0
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
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 Year201720162015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$573,657$2,334,100$420,984
Investment Income, Net of Losses$180,067$46,415$22,241
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$260,697$267,430$274,515
Revenue In-Kind$31,567$166,258$45,989
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$875,601$2,153,215$805,332
Administration Expense$80,574$74,367$82,148
Fundraising Expense$140,924$122,438$146,492
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.991.160.81
Program Expense/Total Expenses80%92%78%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue17%5%21%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$29,282,825$29,120,456$28,474,827
Current Assets$780,319$820,970$439,309
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$179,374$202,817$160,639
Total Net Assets$29,103,451$28,917,639$28,314,188
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $573,657Contributions, gifts, grants $2,334,100Contributions, gifts, grants $420,984
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising $260,697Fundraising $267,430Fundraising $274,515
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountInvestment Income $180,067Program Service Revenue $72,350Program Service Revenue $115,253
CEO/Executive Director Compensation
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities4.354.052.73
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
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 34229 0902
Phone 941 918-2100