2019 Annual Report

Published Nov 25, 2019

Children holding signs in support of the climate strike
Ben Stansall/Getty Images

The Union of Concerned Scientists tackles the most urgent problems. We are scientists, engineers, economists, activists, and everyday people using science to protect our health, safety, and environment.

Message from the President and Chair

We might have wished for a rosier backdrop to celebrate our organization’s 50th anniversary this year. But as the origin story of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) helps us recall, instability and injustice can give rise to movements that lead to lasting change.

In our founding year of 1969, the Vietnam War was raging and the US president showed little regard for the will of the people. Among the groups organizing and protesting in response were scientists and students who demanded that science be used to serve the public good, launching UCS in the process.

That mission has resonated with supporters like you ever since. With your help, we’ve made amazing strides in building a healthier planet and safer world, as you can see at www.ucsusa.org/history. We’re delighted to show you in the pages of this report that, even in the current political environment, we’re making progress on many issues, including the existential threats of climate change and nuclear weapons. At the state level, recent progress has been astonishing, with a number of states embracing a goal of 100 percent clean energy and adopting standards to cut global warming emissions from cars and trucks.

And we’re excited for the future. Growing public support for climate action and the Green New Deal shows that people are eager to confront our gravest challenges with ambitious solutions. To make the systemic changes required, we’ll need a broad and diverse coalition, so we’ve been reaching out to churchgoers in the Southeast to discuss climate change, the US Conference of Mayors on nuclear nonproliferation and the fossil fuel industry’s responsibility for climate damages, as well as artists, community activists, and environmental justice allies.

We are actively preparing to take advantage of what the 2020 election may yield: a government committed to science-based decisionmaking, dramatically cutting carbon emissions, supporting sustainable farming, and lowering the risk of nuclear war. But we also have a strategy for moving forward if the election does not bring the needed change. This work, and everything we’ve achieved since 1969, would not be possible without members like you.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Signatures taken from the PDF

Campaign highlights

From rigorous analysis of gerrymandering, to news-making analyses on extreme heat and other climate impacts, to wins in the fight for 100 percent clean energy—2019 was a big year for UCS and our supporters. Download our annual report for campaign details.


A graphic showing 79 percent of giving from individuals, 20 percent from foundations, and 1 percent from other

The Union of Concerned Scientists continues to benefit from the generosity of our more than 120,000 members and foundations, who work in partnership with us to build a healthier and safer world. In fiscal 2019, the majority of our support—79 percent—came from generous individual donors through outright and planned gifts, while support from foundations represented 20 percent of our revenue. Other sources provided the remaining 1 percent of revenue, and our board reserve funds provided $2,892,109 to support operations.


A graphic showing 88 percent of revenue going to programs

Eighty-eight percent of every dollar donated to UCS in fiscal 2019 directly funded our program work, with the remaining 12 percent spent on the critical administrative infrastructure and fundraising that support our programs. With an annual budget of $41 million, UCS continues to strengthen our unique ability to help solve our planet's most pressing problems with the power of independent science.

Two women holding a sign that says "Science Rising"
Mike Olliver/UCS

Thank you

As the Union of Concerned Scientists marks its 50th anniversary, we are grateful for the foresight of our founders and the passion and loyalty of you, our supporters. Over the past five decades, scientists, engineers, health care providers, activists, and everyday people have joined with us to advocate for science-based solutions. Today, we’re larger and stronger than ever, and we’re confident our most important accomplishments lie ahead. Thank you.