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2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit

River Network

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community Improvement & Capacity Building, Environment, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection, Pollution Abatement & Control

Mission: River Network empowers and unites people and communities to protect and restore rivers and other waters that sustain all life.

Results: In the past year - Coordinated and funded 14 events in 12 states utilizing over 1,000 volunteers who removed more than eight tons of trash from waterways, planted hundreds of trees and shrubs for restoration projects, removed tons of invasive plant species, built new public access docks and trails, and implemented stormwater infiltration gardens to reduce polluted runoff. Campaign to Sustain Water and Energy’s Peer Learning Network provided dozens of communities across the country with individual mentoring and messaging assistance that helped advance their energy, water and climate change efforts locally. Tangible results included upgraded standards in Massachusetts for stream crossings (based on the potential for climate change induced flooding), climate change vulnerability assessment for the Kickapoo tribe in Oklahoma, and major media coverage of a water-energy report in Idaho.

Programs: Our unique niche in the national conservation community is that we are the only organization that exists primarily to help regional, state and local grassroots river and watershed protection groups be more effective in their work. We fill this niche with a combination of capacity building (fundraising training, strategic planning assistance, re-grants, etc.), technical/policy assistance (e.g., on habitat restoration and the Clean Water Act), and leadership on cutting-edge issues such as climate change and the water-energy nexus.

Community Stories

23 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

I run a statewide river conservation non-profit, and River Network's 'River Rally' is a once-per-year shot in the arm for me. It refreshes me, educates me, and reminds me that I'm not alone in the conservation struggle. It renews my passion. It's emotional unlike other any professional conference I've ever been to.

Client Served

Rating: 5

River Network has served my organization for several years and I have worked directly with them for the past 2 years. They continue to provide me with networking resources, professional development tools, program ideas, and industry news and data that is invaluable to growing my programs and organization.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I help run a small nonprofit watershed organization. Because this business is geographically-based, and many cities only have one or two organizations like ours, finding help to advance our organization is a challenge. One of the main goals of River Network is to facilitate dialogue between groups, and their annual meetings and online webinars allow me to find many other groups that are (or have been) in our exact stage of development. This engagement helps us maximize the benefits of our efforts by minimizing the frequency and depth to which we re-invent the wheel for our particular geographic region. While the networking end is the most valuable aspect to us, River Network also provides frequent and free educational opportunities. Our success would be significantly hampered without River Network.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My watershed group has been served by River Network since 1995. They are our most valuable national partner. They've trained us so that we've learned from the best practices in nonprofit management and advocacy work from across the US. They've linked us with affordable resources that take us to new levels, such as our Watergrass database made especially for river groups. They've helped us connect with mentors and peers and ally with groups from all over the country working on our same issues to multiply our access to innovation and our joint influence. They inspire and energize us every year at River Rally, the most fun and useful conference ever! They uplift us through burnout, guide us through complex technical issues, make sure we have time to play, help us raise more money for our mission, and love us. Their staff is consistently the hardest working, most service-oriented, hilarious, and talented bunch I know. Their Board members are deeply committed to this work and bring wide resources to the organization. While my link to RN for 18 years has been as my organization's Exec. Director, I am excited and humbled that RN has brought me onto their Board recently. Long live River Network! Rally Ho!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Connecting people and resources with causes is about the best role a nonprofit can fill and that is the case with River Network. Their input and support has transformed a small effort and larger dream into a reality by finding funding and people to accomplish a clean-up, gain visibility, and expand a restoration objective. Thank you, RN.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

River Network has reached out to communities and proactively provided connections to create and expand an important program in our state. This program is now in its third year and has spawned other activities and support.

Client Served

Rating: 5

River Network helps to connect watershed groups so that they can share resources and experiences. In a time of limited funding and scarce resources, this is invaluable.

Client Served

Rating: 5

River Network continues to provide capacity building programs through their National River Rally, blogs,shared information from questions from a particular watershed groups representative and then shared across the listserve. Scholarships provide watershed staff and others an opportunity to attend River Rally. without these funds many would not be able to attend due to the region of the country being economically depressed. The information shared through the listserve is unbiased which is critical in addressing watershed concerns with a balanced approach.

Beth61

Client Served

Rating: 5

The River Network is a must join organization for any river group. As a member you are kept up to date and in the loop with other river stewards throughout the country, learning from each other’s experiences. Together we are able to provide feedback and ask for new ways of doing things. Without the River Network's partnership with Anheuser Busch one of the New Hampshire Rivers Council's most exciting projects may not have ever gotten off the ground. Thank you River Network!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The service they provide is vital to empower communities to effectively manage their own resources. I have been working with River Network's IMPACT Program and its extremely beneficial for watershed organizations. I look forward to continued quality of work and support. THANKS

Client Served

Rating: 5

River Network is a great resource for water protection groups working locally, state-wide, and regionally to protect our nation's waterways. They empower and unite people and communities to protect and restore rivers and other waters that sustain the health of our country.

Client Served

Rating: 4

River Network is a fantastic resource for all things river protection and improvement related. Being part of the network is a way to connect with other groups working on rivers, ask questions and get the answers I need to better manage my local watershed. They've also done a great job helping to bring grant opportunities to the watershed community.

Client Served

Rating: 5

River Network has been the single most important resource for our locally-based not-for-profit organization. They exist exclusively to help other organizations (like ours) do a better job achieving their missions. Whether it is their annual National River Rally, other workshops through the year, online publications, or through direct consultation with any other their talented staff, we have always gotten a tremendous bang for our buck! I cannot say enough good things about River Network. -Michael Byrd, Executive Director, Prescott Creeks Preservation Association.

Client Served

Rating: 5

In 2010 we needed to find a way to save our river and discovered the River Network. Without its human resources and annual conference we would not have been able to get started and make the progress we have. The people have skilled, motivated, and very responsive in helping make our grassroots organization effective. Information available at the national conferences has been invaluable to understanding issues and solutions. Five thumbs up!

Client Served

Rating: 5

River Network is a national partner of my organization, the Alabama Rivers Alliance. They do a great job in providing support for state level grassroots river protection groups like ours. Since our beginning, they have been a support and resource for valuable technical information on important river issues, as well as, direct one-on-one training in capacity building for our nonprofit. Their national River Rally also provides great training for our staff, as well as a valuable opportunity to network and learn from groups like ours all across the country. I don't think the Alabama Rivers Alliance would have been as strong and successful for our more than 15 year history if it weren't for the partnership and support of River Network.

Client Served

Rating: 5

River Network does an outstanding job of increasing the capacity of non profit groups that are engaged in water quality work. They efforts have allowed organizations to increase their fund raising, advocay and public awareness skills. Walter C. Ernest IV Executive Director Weeks Bay Foundation Fairhope, AL

Client Served

Rating: 5

River Network is not just good at supporting other river groups across the country--they inspire us to keep up often-difficult struggles. They inform. They entertain. They care. ...and most of all, they are here for us whenever we need them. At a recent River Rally, I needed some one-on-one help on a topic that was not covered at a workshop. One of their staff people, already worn down from an exhausting 3 days of workshop coordination, met with me at 9 PM to discuss a program problem I needed help analyzing. They truly care that we are good at what we do, and engage the leading experts in their field to help us. Another fantastic example of how they have helped us achieve more was via the "welcome to the River Network" membership packet. We had been spending over $5,000/ year on insurance (our annual budget at the time was less than $100,000), and though we had tried to find other insurance providers all had rejected our business because we were too small an organization with too big a risk to insure. In the member packet we received, one benefit was access to a network of service providers who specifically service river groups. We now pay less than half in insurance, and have been able to re-route the savings into programs serving our local creek.

Cynthia43

Client Served

Rating: 4

I am the director of a nonprofit group member of the River Network. On many occasions the River Network has provided much needed facilitation services and technical assistance at little or no cost. (i.e. during the BP oil disaster, their SE organizer assisted us in facilitating a meeting of NGOs from across the Gulf to develop a Gulf-wide collaboration focused on an agreed "restoration" agenda. That collaboration continues to work to implement the restoration agenda developed at that meeting. River Network is very responsive to member needs and provide important technical assistance and training to nonprofit groups.

Client Served

Rating: 5

River Network has helped our river conservation group get started, establish a Board of Directors, educate our Executive Director and that BoD, set firm goals, and research appropriate granting organizations to fund us. What more can I say? RN's ongoing commitment to promoting river conservation and groups working to that end is immensely important and useful.

Client Served

Rating: 5

River Network is a great organization - they exist to help other river groups and to connect people so that those people can in turn help save rivers! Wow what a great and humble misson. But the folks at River Network are also some of the most skilled, caring and just plain FUN people I know. River Network will soon celebrate 25 years of serving the river community - I say CHEERS to River Network. They truly are a great nonprofit and deserve to noticed as the top-rated nonprofit group they already are!

Client Served

Rating: 5

River Network is our go-to source for all things river advocacy-related. Our organization is a small non-profit in Alaska, and we regularly contact River Network for advice on water quality standards and resources, information on non-profit management practices, and for help in connecting with other groups about their experiences with certain activities.