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A Brief History of the Organization


To apply social science to natural resource and environmental problem-solving through collaborative, interdisciplinary research projects.

Name, Status, & Location Timeline

Conceived in 1996 in Oregon, registered in 1988 in Seattle, Washington as the Northwest Institute for Culture and Ecology, relocated to Portland, OR and renamed to the Institute for Culture and Ecology (IFCAE) in 1999 where the founders registered as a nonprofit with the State of Oregon, and applied for and received 501c3 from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.  In 2012 research programs ended and from 2013-2018 the organization focused on land-based environmental education. In 2018 the Institute for Culture and Ecology was officially retired.

Decision-Making Structure

A horizontal management structure between at least two "Senior Partners" operated as a management team in place of an executive director to guide daily operations, with oversight by an elected, volunteer Board of Directors. Long-term strategic planning was developed by a consensus of the Senior Partners in consultation with the Board of Directors. Officers, including a president, treasurer, and secretary, were appointed by the Board of Directors to facilitate needs of the Board. Organizational structure diagram.

Financial Base

IFCAE was funded through scientific grants, government contracts, and donations by individuals directly or through 3rd-party organizations like Global Giving. Hundreds of private citizens, students, and others volunteered in-kind time to help IFCAE, labor and expertise that greatly expanded the capacity and reach of the organization.

Program Structure & Reach

The output of IFCAE was delivered through three main programs: Stewardship and Sustainability; Power, Politics, and Justice; and Participatory Learning. Program projects were conducted throughout the U.S. Pacific Northwest, U.S. and in many other countries including Canada, Mexico, Indonesia, Congo, Cameroon, and other. IFCAE worked with local communities, scholars, NGOs, and governments. IFCAE regularly hosted fellows and student interns from regional and international colleges, universities, and non-governmental organizations.

Relation of the USA-based Institute for Culture and Ecology to the Kenya-based Institute for Culture and Ecology (ICE)

The Kenya-based Institute for Culture and Ecology (ICE) formed in 2006 in Kenya. This organization is unrelated to the Institute for Culture and Ecology (IFCAE) that was based in the United States. In 2006, leaders of the two organizations discussed the name overlap and agreed the general principles guiding the organizations shared many common goals in different geographic locations and the shared name would be okay. You can learn about the work of ICE at their website.