Southern Environmental Law Center
201 West Main Street, Suite 14
Charlottesville VA 22902
Mission Statement

SELC’s mission is to promote livable communities; to defend healthy air and clean water; and to protect our forests, coasts, wetlands, and other native landscapes in Virginia and across the Southeast.

CEO/Executive Director Mr. Frederick S. Middleton III
Board Chair Mr. Allen L. McCallie
Board Chair Company Affiliation Martin & Miller
Contact Information
Address 201 West Main Street, Suite 14
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Telephone 434 977-4090
Fax 434 977-1483
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1986
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expense Bar Graph - All Years
Expense Breakdown Bar Chart - All Years
Projected Revenue $24,067,400.00
Projected Expenses $24,067,400.00

SELC’s mission is to promote livable communities; to defend healthy air and clean water; and to protect our forests, coasts, wetlands, and other native landscapes in Virginia and across the Southeast.


SELC uses an effective blend of strategic leadership, legal and policy expertise, public education, and local partnerships to obtain significant, lasting results.

  • In the Richmond region and across the state, SELC is advancing transportation reforms and promoting sustainable development patterns that reduce driving and curb sprawl by placing people closer to jobs, schools, and commerce. We have successfully challenged dozens of unnecessary and destructive highway projects that would increase haphazard development, loss of rural landscapes, costs to taxpayers, air and water pollution, and global warming emissions. At the same time, we are steering state and federal funding toward cleaner, more efficient alternatives, such as transit and rail, and toward the maintenance and repair of existing roads and bridges.
  • To improve air quality and to cut greenhouse gas emissions, SELC is working to reduce the Southeast’s dependence on fossil fuels and to hasten the transition to clean and renewable alternatives, including offshore wind power, solar power, and energy efficiency. SELC is also engaged in a groundbreaking effort to clean up coal ash pollution and has secured commitments from electric utilities to move more than 53 million tons of this toxic-laden waste from unlined pits and lagoons to dry, lined storage or to recycle it into concrete.
  • From preserving its headwaters to reining in pollution and sprawl in its watershed, SELC is addressing multiple threats to the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Our current focus is on shielding rural lands, communities, and waterways from the potential impacts of shale gas drilling and fracking in the Taylorsville Basin, which underlies lands just miles from the Bay and major tributaries such as the Rappahannock, Pamunkey, and Mattaponi Rivers.

SELC seeks to maintain its capacity to address the most significant environmental challenges facing our region, including:


  • Reforming asphalt-centered transportation policies and advancing transportation choices that reduce the need to drive and foster smarter growth patterns;
  • Curbing dependence on fossil fuels and increasing investment in clean and renewable alternatives;
  • Keeping waterways clean and flowing and addressing specific threats to water quality, such as coal ash pollution;
  • Protecting 4.7 million acres of Southern Appalachian national forest; and
  • Defending the ecological riches of the Southeast coast.


Fulfilling this vision requires sustaining a team of outstanding law and policy professionals who are currently engaged in more than 230 active cases and projects. In recent years SELC has added superb litigators to this team, which greatly enhances our ability to make certain that environmental laws are faithfully enforced.

SELC charges no fees for the legal services and policy assistance it provides, relying instead on the charitable support of individuals, families, and foundations.


Founded in 1986, the Southern Environmental Law Center is the Southeast’s leader in environmental protection. By working simultaneously at the national, regional, state, and local levels, and in all three branches of government, we are able to shape, enact, implement, and enforce environmental law and policy. SELC serves the six states of Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. We integrate regional perspective with place-based action and results.

The key to SELC’s success is our highly credentialed team of 70 attorneys, many of whom have been with SELC for 15 years or more, which gives us remarkable depth. As a group, we have earned a reputation as the foremost environmental team in the region and one of the most effective organizations in the country. Moreover, our senior policy experts are recognized nationally in their fields. SELC has built and perfected an institutional model that gives us the flexibility to address issues quickly as they arise, as well as the staying power to undertake complex, multi-year cases and projects.

Areas of Service
Areas Served

SELC’s efforts to improve air and water quality, to speed the transition to clean and renewable energy sources, to broaden transportation options, and to promote vibrant and livable communities benefit the residents of the states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama. 

Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Allen L. McCallie
Company Affiliation Martin & Miller
Term Nov 2014 to Nov 2017
Board of Directors
Board Members
Mr. Joel B. Adams Jr.Financial Advisor, Raymond James Financial Services
Ms. Marcia A. Angle Nicholas School for the Environment, Duke University
Mr. Paul K. Brock Jr.Former President, RiverCity Co.
Ms. Dell S. Brooke EBSCO Foundation
Ms. Cathy S. Brown Vanderbilt Children's Hospital
Ms. Wendy Brown Charlottesville Community Leader
Mr. Marion A. Cowell Jr.Of Counsel, Kilpatrick Stockton, Charlotte Office; Former Board Member, NC Dept. of Transportation
Mr. Melvin T. Davis Private Equity Professional
Mr. J. Stephen Dockery IIIManaging Partner, Fidus Partners
Mr. Jeffrey M. Gleason Attorney, Piedmont Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children
Ms. Melanie P. Grinney Freelance Writer and Photographer
Mr. James G. Hanes IIIOwner/Manager, Senah Farm
Mr. Matthew E. Hapgood Co-founder/President, FlyRight, Inc.
Ms. Anna Kate Hipp Trustee Emeritus, Mary Baldwin College
Mr. Mark B. Logan Former Chair and CEO of VISX, Inc.
Mr. Nimrod W.E. Long IIIPresident, Nimrod Long and Associates Architects
Mr. Allen L. McCallie Partner, Miller & Martin
Mr. C. Grey McLean Director, Adiuvans Foundation
Mr. Frederick S. Middleton IIIFounder and Executive Director, Southern Environmental Law Center
Mr. Edward M. Miller Chair, WestWind Investment Management
Mr. Deaderick C. Montague Writer; Board Chair of Boys & Girls Club of Chattanooga
Ms. Susan S. Mullin Owner/Manager, Ridgeway Farm
Ms. Jean C. Nelson President, Land Trust for Tennessee
Mr. Stephen E. O'Day Partner, Smith Gambrell & Russell
Mr. Charles W. Patrick Jr.Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook & Brickman
Mr. B. Clayton Rolader Fuqua Capital Corp.
Mr. William S. Schlesinger President, Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Mr. John L.S. Simpkins Obama Administration
Ms. Kathryn S. Smith Member, Richland County Council
Mr. Thomas F. Taft Sr.President, Taft, Taft & Haigler
Mr. William L. Want Environmental Law Professor, Charleston School of Law, Wetlands Law Expert
Ms. Nancy Hanes White Steering Committee, Campaign for NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 27
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 20
Female 9
Written Board Selection Criteria? No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? No
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 2
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Executive Director
Executive Director Mr. Frederick S. Middleton III
  • National environmental leader in the vanguard of the environmental movement in the U.S. for over 30 years.
  • Founded the Southern Environmental Law Center in 1986.
  • University of Virginia with high honors; Yale Law School.
Senior Staff
Mr. Morgan Buttler Senior Attorney
Mr. David Carr General Counsel
Ms. Marie Hawthorne Director of Development and Marketing
Ms. Holly Hueston Director of Finance and Administration
Mr. Frederick Middleton IIIExecutive Director
Ms. Deborah Murray Senior Attorney
Mr. Trip Pollard Senior Attorney
Mr. John Suttles Director of Litigation and Regional Programs
Full Time Staff 129
Part Time Staff 2
Volunteers 0
Contractors 128
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 10
Date Strategic Plan Adopted 2006
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes

Collaboration is an essential element of SELC’s successful law and policy model. Our attorneys provide legal services, strategic guidance, and policy assistance to more than 200 local, state, and national organizations, such as the James River Association and the Partnership for Smarter Growth. Our collaborations bolster the effectiveness of our partners and help to achieve our shared conservation goals.


SELC is advancing changes in transportation policy and investments at the federal, state, and local levels that will curb pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and transform development patterns that have made the Southeast the country’s fastest-sprawling region. As SELC staves off ill-conceived highway proposals, it is championing smarter growth, repair and maintenance of existing roads and bridges, and increased investment in more sustainable transportation alternatives, such as rail and transit.


Heavy reliance on coal-burning power generation has made the Southeast one of the largest sources of global warming emissions in the world. SELC is engaged in a clean energy initiative to change the energy paradigm of the region and is focusing on three primary goals: 1) promote greater utility investment in clean and renewable energy sources, including solar power, wind power, and energy efficiency; 2) maximize the retirement of old and inefficient coal-burning power plants; and 3) prevent the construction of any new coal-fired plants in its states.


SELC seeks to protect the South’s cleanest waters, to rescue the most polluted ones, and to make sure there is enough water flowing in rivers and streams to support a healthy and diverse array of aquatic life and to prevent harmful buildups of pollution. SELC’s strategies range from ensuring enforcement of the Clean Water Act to helping growing communities control polluted runoff, one of the greatest threats to water quality in the region.


SELC is defending the 4.7 million acres of national forests in the Southern Appalachians from inappropriate logging and commercial resource extraction. Program goals are to make certain these public lands are managed to protect their natural assets, including unfragmented wildlife habitat, headwater streams that feed major rivers and drinking water supplies, old growth and other rare ecosystems, and backcountry places where the public can experience nature unspoiled.


SELC is shielding the Southeast’s coastal and wetland treasures and the ecological and economic benefits they provide from an array of threats, including unrelenting development pressures, lax enforcement of environmental laws, and the push to open new waters to offshore drilling.

Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $24,067,400.00
Projected Expenses $24,067,400.00
Endowment Value $25,685,713.00
Form 990s
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$57,986$0
Individual Contributions$4,626,429$34,492,139$17,947,313
Investment Income, Net of Losses($601,589)$2,631,757$3,522,766
Membership Dues------
Special Events------
Revenue In-Kind$21,745$10,600$8,150
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$19,454,402$18,022,481$14,405,572
Administration Expense$1,650,610$1,675,445$1,578,967
Fundraising Expense$1,070,248$926,680$974,813
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.531.981.57
Program Expense/Total Expenses88%87%85%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue3%2%4%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$79,294,547$67,930,031$47,377,045
Current Assets$4,191,151$6,898,183$2,605,291
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0--
Current Liabilities$636,378$931,515$673,790
Total Net Assets$78,658,169$66,998,516$46,703,255
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities6.597.413.87
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Campaign Purpose We are seizing the occasion of SELC’s 30th Anniversary to accelerate donor/prospect outreach and engagement in 2016 and 2017. Through a focused two-year development initiative of face-to-face calls, special events, and marketing materials, we are inviting current and new friends alike to celebrate the remarkable results achieved over the past 30 years—and to join us in taking on the environmental challenges and protection opportunities that lie ahead in the next 30.
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit Application Confirmation 4/2016View
Foundation Comments
  • Financial analysis performed with audit.
  • Audit and Form 990 prepared by Robinson, Farmer, Cox Associates.