2020 Annual Report

Published Nov 23, 2020

A frontline worker
<!-- do not use except on annual report -->
Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

We are scientists, engineers, economists, activists, and everyday people using science to protect our health, safety, and environment in an equitable way.

Message from the President and Chair

As we write this letter, we don’t yet know the outcome of the presidential election. But we do know that this year has been hard on all of us.

The scale of our losses is enormous. We’ve been tossed from crisis to crisis with hardly a moment to mourn or regroup. So above all, we hope you are taking good care of yourself, your loved ones, and your community. We’re especially thankful for your support in such uncertain times. Because of you, UCS is still strong, and still fighting for a better world.

As the pandemic changed everything about how we live and work, UCS adapted on the fly. We expanded our reach online, finding new ways to push for our priorities, and new opportunities to engage with a broader range of people.

With your support, we pivoted nearly all of our campaigns to address the intersecting crises we face: the pandemic and the federal government’s inadequate, science-denying response; the resulting economic fallout; climate disasters ranging from the West Coast wildfires to a series of Gulf Coast hurricanes; episodes of police violence; and how each of these expose stark inequities throughout our society.

As we worked to show the connections between systemic racism, COVID-19, and climate impacts, UCS was confronted with painful evidence of the racial injustices we have unwittingly perpetuated as an organization. For our staff, for our partners, for our work, and for you, we are committed to dismantling the racism inherent in our structures and culture (see page 11 of the PDF).

As you will see, our work in 2020 helped to build a case for the dramatic changes we need, and to mobilize the scientific community to speak up and advocate for these changes—regardless of election outcomes. It has never been clearer that we must work for systemic change, and evidence-based solutions that benefit all.

No matter how tough the circumstances, our environment, health, and safety are worth fighting for. We’re committed to that fight and grateful that you are with us.

Signatures taken from the PDF


An area chart showing revenue sources for 2020

The Union of Concerned Scientists continues to benefit from the generosity of our more than 124,000 members and foundations, who work in partnership with us to build a healthy planet and safer world. In fiscal 2020, the majority of our support—75 percent—came from generous individual donors through outright and planned gifts, while support from foundations represented 16 percent of our revenue. Other sources provided the remaining 9 percent of revenue, including our board reserve funds, which provided $1,133,274 to support operations.


An area chart showing 2020 expenses

Eighty-eight percent of every dollar donated to UCS in fiscal 2020 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.

Thank you

We are deeply grateful for your passion and loyalty. Change is possible—and achieved—because of you. Thank you.