2013 Financial Summary
The Vital Ground Foundation’s public support and revenues totaled $2,511,272 during 2013. Total net assets on Dec. 31, 2013, were $3,640,284 (including $2,178,409 of conservation land held).
During the year, $2,227,978 was spent on Vital Ground’s conservation and education programs. Additionally, Vital Ground acquired conservation land valued at $261,000. The purchase price of this land is not included in the program expenses reported above nor in the “Use of Funds” pie chart
below, but is recorded as an asset (conservation land) on Vital Ground’s balance sheet.
Vital Ground’s 83.8 percent program-expense ratio exceeds the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance Standards for Charity Accountability, which suggests that charitable organizations should spend at least 65 percent of total expenses on program activities.
The transaction cycle in land conservation can take several years to complete. Consequently, program expense ratios vary significantly from year to year depending upon how many transactions are actually finalized during the fiscal year, and the value of donated real estate and conservation
easements. Additionally, in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, the purchase price of land, which is a significant mission delivery expense for many land trusts, is not included in program expenses, but is recorded as an asset (conservation land held) on the organization’s balance sheet. Due to these unpredictable factors and accounting practices, Charity Navigator no longer evaluates land trusts.¹
Vital Ground is audited annually. To receive a copy of Vital Ground’s most recent audited financial statements or IRS Form 990, or contact our office, 406-549-8650. Vital Ground is a 501 (c)(3) organization. Our federal tax ID number is 87-0483446.