The Nature Conservancy served as a broker of a land deal between the United States and the Costa Rican government that is called the most expensive debt swap deal ever at the expense of U.S. taxpayers. The Costa Rica government owed a debt of $26 million to the U.S. that was forgiven in turn for a pledge to prevent development in the rain forest. While nobody argues that preserving the rain forest is a worthwhile goal and some people think this is a great idea (see http://singlegreenfemale.blogspot.com/2008/03/featured-charity-nature-conservancy.html).
The kicker on this deal is that the U.S. taxpayers will also fund the conservation project managed by The Nature Conservancy for the next 16 years. No information was available on how much The Nature Conservancy earned on the brokerage transaction or how much their fees will be for the ongoing management of the project. The Nature Conservancy is the world’s richest non-profit organization due to its success in arranging these profitable deals at the expense of governments and ultimately its taxpayers.