About us

Mission and History

The Udall Foundation’s mission is to provide programs to promote leadership, education, collaboration, and conflict resolution in the areas of environment, public lands, and natural resources in order to strengthen Native nations, assist federal agencies and others to resolve environmental conflicts, and to encourage the continued use and appreciation of our nation’s rich resources.

The Udall Foundation is dedicated to embodying and promoting our core values of integrity, civility, consensus, public service, and non-partisanship in everything we do. These core values exemplify the legacy of Morris Udall and Stewart Udall and the way in which they served the public. They provide a framework upon which all Udall Foundation programs, services, and activities are based. These core values are realized through both internal management and external educational and conflict resolution practices.

History of the Udall Foundation

In a fitting tribute to one of the greatest legislators of his generation, Congress acted unanimously in 1992 to establish the Udall Foundation. The bill creating the Foundation was the result of a bipartisan effort led by Morris Udall's colleagues from Arizona, Democratic Senator Dennis DeConcini and Republican Senator John McCain.

The bipartisan support for the Udall Foundation's creation was particularly appropriate, given Morris Udall's noted ability to build consensus across party and ideological lines. At the time of his retirement in 1991, 75 House members from both parties spoke at a special session in his honor, expressing their respect for his integrity, humor, and dedication to public service. They noted that, while he was most known for his work on environmental issues, Udall also was a leader in many of the other major policy debates of the era.

Senator DeConcini stated that the Udall Foundation's creation would both honor Morris Udall, who focused his legislative agenda on resolving the problems facing our environment and natural resources, and make a significant contribution to addressing future environmental issues by "training young people to solve today's environmental problems and prevent future ones."

In 1998, Congress unanimously amended the Udall Foundation’s enabling legislation to create the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, now called the John S. McCain III National Center for Environmental Conflict (National Center or NCECR), as part of the Foundation. The National Center provides mediation and related services to help resolve environmental, natural resources, and public lands conflicts that involve the federal government. Senator McCain introduced the bill creating the National Center, noting that it was fitting for it to be part of the Udall Foundation, given that Morris Udall's career "was distinguished by his integrity, service and commitment to consensus-building."

On November 4, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law S. 1818 to enhance the Udall Foundation and honor public servant and environmental visionary Stewart L. Udall, Morris Udall’s brother. The Udall Foundation became the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation in recognition of the historic Interior Secretary’s contributions to the United States. The Udall brothers worked together on many environmental and American Indian initiatives while Stewart was Secretary of the Interior and Morris was a member of Congress.

Among the purposes of the Udall Foundation are

  • Increase awareness of the importance of and promote the benefit and enjoyment of the Nation's natural resources;
  • Foster among the American population greater recognition and understanding of the role of the environment, public lands and resources in the development of the United States;
  • Identify critical environmental issues;
  • Develop resources to properly train professionals in environmental and related fields;
  • Provide educational outreach regarding environmental policy;
  • Develop resources to train Native American and Alaska Native professionals in health care and public policy; and
  • Through the National Center, provide assessment, mediation, and other related services to resolve environmental disputes involving federal agencies.