Chris Baker and Robert Johnston co-founded Conservation United in 2015, drawing on Chris’ 20 years of direct nonprofit management experience and Robert’s expertise in the insurance industry and commercial risk management sector. As the Founder and former President of American Conservation Experience (ACE), a nationally scaled nonprofit conservation corps and environmental service organization, Chris possesses real world understanding of both the administrative and field-based challenges encountered by dynamic nonprofit organizations. As ACE expanded geographically and in terms of diversity of program offerings, ill-informed insurance brokers and carriers struggled to understand the model. The worlds of conservation and insurance generally operate in different planes of existence, so misunderstandings of the conservation corps, volunteerism, and AmeriCorps models led to ever escalating premiums, threats of non-renewal, gaps in insurance coverage, and even denial of claims.
The ordeal of annual policy renewal finally ceased when ACE selected Robert Johnston as insurance broker in 2013. Robert brought a decade of experience in commercial insurance and risk transfer and took the time to delve deeply into ACE’s model. Robert took every initiative to learn how conservation corps function, becoming conversant in the regulations surrounding AmeriCorps and other federal grants and agreements and grasping their implications on insurance requirements. In 2015 Chris and Robert recognized that most conservation nonprofits would benefit from our combination of experience and from the solutions we can offer. Chris’ decades of experience engaging youth and volunteers in complex, hands-on restoration projects combined with Robert’s insurance and risk management expertise uniquely qualifies Conservation United to understand your organization’s opportunities, liabilities, and challenges.