Mission: Founded in 1845, American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is the country's leading resource for family history research. We help gene ... (More)

New England Historic Genealogical Society and American Ancestors is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 1922, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information

  http://www.americanancestors.org/index.aspx

 99 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116 

  101 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116

  888-296-3447


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Star Rating System by Charity Navigator


Charity Navigator evaluates a nonprofit organization’s financial health including measures of stability, efficiency and sustainability. We also track accountability and transparency policies to ensure the good governance and integrity of the organization.




Good

This charity's score is 88.73, earning it a 3-Star rating. Donors can "Give with Confidence" to this charity. 

This score is calculated from two sub-scores:

This score represents Form 990 data from 2019, the latest year published by the IRS.

View this organization’s historical ratings.


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Star Rated Report

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Program Expense

Program Expense Ratio

73.0%


The Program Expense Ratio is determined by Program Expenses divided by Total Expense (average of most recent three 990s).


This measure reflects the percent of its total expenses a charity spends on the programs and services it exists to deliver. Dividing a charity's average program expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Administrative Expenses

16.7%


As reported by charities on their IRS Form 990, this measure reflects what percent of its total budget a charity spends on overhead, administrative staff and associated costs, and organizational meetings. Dividing a charity's average administrative expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Expenses

10.1%


This measure reflects what a charity spends to raise money. Fundraising expenses can include campaign printing, publicity, mailing, and staffing and costs incurred in soliciting donations, memberships, and grants. Dividing a charity's average fundraising expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Liabilities to Assets Ratio

7.9%


The Liabilities to Assets Ratio is determined by Total Liabilities divided by Total Assets (most recent 990).


Part of our goal in rating the financial performance of charities is to help donors assess the financial capacity and sustainability of a charity. As do organizations in other sectors, charities must be mindful of their management of total liabilites in relation to their total assets. This ratio is an indicator of an organization’s solvency and or long term sustainability. Dividing a charity's total liabilities by its total assets yields this percentage.


Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Efficiency

$0.16


The amount spent to raise $1 in charitable contributions. To calculate a charity's fundraising efficiency, we divide its average fundraising expenses by the average total contributions it receives. We calculate the charity's average expenses and average contributions over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Working Capital Ratio

3.05 years


Determines how long a charity could sustain its level of spending using its net available assets, or working capital, as reported on its most recently filed Form 990. We include in a charity's working capital unrestricted and temporarily restricted net assets, and exclude permanently restricted net assets. Dividing these net available assets in the most recent year by a charity's average total expenses, yields the working capital ratio. We calculate the charity's average total expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Program Expense Growth

8.24%


We compute the average annual growth of program expenses using the following formula: [(Yn/Y0)(1/n)]-1, where Y0 is a charity's program expenses in the first year of the interval analyzed, Yn is the charity's program expenses in the most recent year, and n is the interval of years passed between Y0 and Yn.


Source: IRS Form 990

Governance


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990 that the organization has these governance practices in place.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990

Governance:
Independent Voting Board Members  ... (More)
No Material Diversion of Assets ... (More)

A diversion of assets – any unauthorized conversion or use of the organization's assets other than for the organization's authorized purposes, including but not limited to embezzlement or theft – can seriously call into question a charity's financial integrity. We check the charity's last two Forms 990 to see if the charity has reported any diversion of assets. If the charity does report a diversion, then we check to see if it complied with the Form 990 instructions by describing what happened and its corrective action. This metric will be assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Full Credit: There has been no diversion of assets within the last two years.

  • Partial Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity has used Schedule O on the Form 990 to explain: the nature of the diversion, the amount of money or property involved and the corrective action taken to address the matter. In this situation, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity's explanation on Schedule O is either non-existent or not sufficient. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
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Audited Financials Prepared by Independent Accountant ... (More)

Audited financial statements provide important information about financial accountability and accuracy. They should be prepared by an independent accountant with oversight from an audit committee. (It is not necessary that the audit committee be a separate committee. Often at smaller charities, it falls within the responsibilities of the finance committee or the executive committee.) The committee provides an important oversight layer between the management of the organization, which is responsible for the financial information reported, and the independent accountant, who reviews the financials and issues an opinion based on its findings. We check the charity's Form 990 reporting to see if it meets this criteria.

  • Full Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant with an audit oversight committee.

  • Partial Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant, but it did not have an audit oversight committee. In this case, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: The charity did not have its audited financials prepared by an independent accountant. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
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Does Not Provide Loan(s) to or Receive Loan(s) From Related Parties ... (More)
Documents Board Meeting Minutes ... (More)
Distributes 990 to Board Before Filing ... (More)
Compensates Board ... (More)

Policies


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization has these policies in place.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Policies:
Conflict of Interest  ... (More)
Whistleblower ... (More)
Records Retention and Destruction ... (More)
CEO Compensation Process ... (More)
Donor Privacy ... (More)

Donors have expressed extreme concern about the use of their personal information by charities and the desire to have this information kept confidential. The exchanging and sale of lists for telemarketing and the mass distribution of "junk mail," among other things, can be minimized if the charity assures the privacy of its donors. Privacy policies are assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Yes: This charity has a written donor privacy policy published on its website, which states unambiguously that (1) it will not share or sell a donor's personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations or (2) it will only share or sell personal information once the donor has given the charity specific permission to do so.

  • Opt-out: The charity has a written privacy policy published on its website which enables donors to tell the charity to remove their names and contact information from lists the charity shares or sells. How a donor can have themselves removed from a list differs from one charity to the next, but any and all opt-out policies require donors to take specific action to protect their privacy.
  • No: This charity either does not have a written donor privacy policy in place to protect their contributors' personal information, or the existing policy does not meet our criteria.

The privacy policy must be specific to donor information. A general website policy which references "visitor" or "user" personal information will not suffice. A policy that refers to donor information collected on the website is also not sufficient as the policy must be comprehensive and applicable to both online and offline donors. The existence of a privacy policy of any type does not prohibit the charity itself from contacting the donor for informational, educational, or solicitation purposes.

(Less)

Transparency


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization makes this information easily accessible.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Transparency:
CEO Salary Listed on 990 ... (More)
Board of Directors Listed on Website ... (More)
Key Staff Listed on Website ... (More)
Audited Financial Statements on Website ... (More)
Form 990 Available on Website ... (More)

Additional Information

Unscored

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Total Revenue and Expenses

Total Revenue and Expenses

This chart displays the trend of revenue and expenses over the past several years for this organization, as reported on their IRS Form 990.

Salary of Key Persons

Presented here are up to five of this organization's highest compensated employees. This compensation data includes salary, cash bonuses, and expense accounts and is displayed exactly how it is reported to the IRS. The amounts do not include nontaxable benefits, deferred compensation, or other amounts not reported on Form W-2. In some cases, these amounts may include compensation from related organizations. Read the IRS policies for compensation reporting



D BRENTON SIMONS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

$436,343


RYAN WOODS, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

$261,458


SUSAN FUGLIESE, VICE PRESIDENT OF ADVANCEM

$168,683


STEVEN SOLOMON, ASSISTANT VICE PRESIDENT OF ADVANCEMENT

$149,780


EDWARD MACMAHON, SENIOR GIFT PLANNING OFFIC

$145,182


Source: IRS Form 990 (page 7), filing year 2020

Business Master File Data

Below are some key data points from the Exempt Organization IRS Business Master File (BMF) for this organization. Learn more about the BMF on the IRS website


Activities:

Other school related activities (BMF activity code: 059)


Foundation Status:

Organization that normally receives no more than one-third of its support from gross investment income and unrelated business income and at the same time more than one-third of its support from contributions, fees, and gross receipts related to exempt purposes.  509(a)(2) (BMF foundation code: 16)


Affiliation:

Independent - the organization is an independent organization or an independent auxiliary (i.e., not affiliated with a National, Regional, or Geographic grouping of organizations). (BMF affiliation code: 3)

Data Sources: IRS Forms 990

The Form 990 is a document that nonprofit organizations file with the IRS annually. We leverage finance and accountability data from it to form Encompass ratings. Click here to view this organization's Forms 990 on the IRS website (if any are available).

Pandemic Response

Due to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, we give charities such as this one the opportunity to share the story of COVID's impact on them. Charities may submit their own pandemic responses through their nonprofit portal.


New England Historic Genealogical Society and American Ancestors reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Program Delivery

  • Fundraising Capacity

  • Revenue

  • Staffing


How COVID-19 impacted the organization's operations financially:

We faced an unprecedented set of challenges precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic that resulted in very significant financial hits. Many immediate cost-cutting measures were swiftly taken as we tried not to hurt future growth because of the COVID-19 outbreak and financial impacts. Earned revenue declined by 10% and donations declined by 20%. We also applied and received the PPP loan and thus were able to employ a full staff until June 2020 at which time, we laid off, eliminated positions, or canceled independent contracts for 16 individuals and reduced the hours for three employees, eliminated the employer contribution to the retirement plan, and reduced the wages for the most highly paid employees.


How COVID-19 impacted the organization's delivery of programs:

In-person events, conferences, and tours were postponed or unavoidably cancelled, along with no public access to the American Ancestors Research Library, resulting in substantial lost revenue for NEHGS. This included daily fees for Library access and decreased fees for Research Services. Considering the continuing pandemic, we pivoted to an all-virtual programming model, yet we continue to innovate and introduce new ways and formats to engage our audiences, including an expanded repertoire of presenters, topics, and special guests, and forging new partnerships with like-minded organizations from Boston and beyond.


How this organization adapted to changing conditions caused by COVID-19:

We converted our programs to virtual offerings, including genealogical education lectures and seminars, our American Inspiration author-series, and a new line of art and architecture talks associated with our heritage travel program. As part of our response to fulfilling our mission in the social distancing era, beyond expanded online programs, we began offering our research support service and general customer service as an online chat feature available through AmericanAncestors.org. The online chat research support platform not only provided a safe and effective way for staff to advance our members' research, this latest means to answer real-time questions and have online interactions with new visitors to the website was a leading source of new dues-paying member acquisition for the year.


Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

The response to our online efforts to advance the study of family history by educating, inspiring, and connecting people through our scholarship, collections, and expertise has been uniformly well-received. With varied and diverse programming, including author talks on the history of dress codes and their impact, the maternal families of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin, the life and times of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and a history of women in medicine, along with genealogical tutorial programs on Revolutionary War research, writing family history, getting the most out of AmericanAncestors.org, and tips for maximizing the use of the Federal Census in research, we reached thousands of members and new constituents. We will continue to expand our online educational programming, especially the American Inspiration author series and the Art & Architecture webinar series.


Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
5/1/20212019 88.73
9/1/20202018 90.32
11/1/20192018 87.58

This organization received multiple star ratings within this fiscal year, due to an update to it's Accountability and Transparency data and/or the receipt of an amended Form 990.

12/1/20182017 87.92
2/1/20182016 84.92
3/1/20172015 82.93
6/1/20162014 81.44
Rating Version: 2.0
11/1/20152014 86.00
9/1/20142013 85.74
11/1/20132012 78.44
10/1/20122011 80.94
12/23/20112010 84.70
9/20/20112009 87.87
Rating Version: 1.0
10/1/20102009 86.85
10/1/20092008 83.22
8/1/20082007 72.63
7/1/20072006 68.99
12/1/20062005 78.49
12/1/20052004 71.41
11/1/20042003 79.52
11/1/20032002 61.75

...   Impact & Results


This score estimates the actual impact a nonprofit has on the lives of those it serves, and determines whether it is making good use of donor resources to achieve that impact.


Impact & Results Score

Not Currently Scored

New England Historic Genealogical Society and American Ancestors cannot currently be evaluated by our Encompass Rating Impact & Results methodology because either (A) it is eligible, but we have not yet received data; (B) we have not yet developed an algorithm to estimate its programmatic impact; (C) its programs are not direct services; or (D) it is not heavily reliant on contributions from individual donors.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that we have not yet evaluated the organization.

Learn more about Impact & Results.

Do you work at New England Historic Genealogical Society and American Ancestors? Join the waitlist for an updated Impact & Results score.


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Additional Information

Unscored

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Largest Programs

Largest Programs



New England Historic Genealogical Society and American Ancestors reported its three largest programs on its FY 2020 Form 990 as:


$1,980,741

Spent in most recent FY

22%

Percent of program expenses


FOR MORE THAN 175 YEARS, NEHGS HAS BEEN THE NATION'S LEADING PUBLISHER OF FAMILY HISTORY BOOKS AND PERIODICALS. THROUGH ITS NEWBURY STREET PRESS AND OTHER PUBLICATION ARMS, NEHGS PRODUCES THE NEW ENGL ... (More)


$1,551,431

Spent in most recent FY

17%

Percent of program expenses


NEHGS OFFERS FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCHERS THE MOST-USED GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY WEBSITE IN THE WORLD. AMERICANANCESTORS.ORG PROVIDES ACCESS TO MORE THAN 1.6 BILLION RECORDS SPANNING TWENTY-TWO COUNTRIES CO ... (More)


$3,123,693

Spent in most recent FY

35%

Percent of program expenses


THE NEHGS LIBRARY HAS BEEN NAMED BY USA TODAY AS A TOP 10 WORLD DESTINATION FOR FAMILY HISTORY. THE PUBLIC, MEMBERS AND VISITORS MAY VISIT NEHGS'S EIGHT-STORY LIBRARY AND ARCHIVE WHERE IT OFFERS THE L ... (More)


...   Leadership & Adaptability


This score provides an assessment of the organization's leadership capacity, strategic thinking and planning, and ability to innovate or respond to changes in constituent demand/need or other relevant social and economic conditions to achieve the organization's mission.


Leadership & Adaptability Score

100

out of 100

The score earned by New England Historic Genealogical Society and American Ancestors is a passing score.

Encompass Rating V4 provides an evaluation of the organization's Leadership & Adaptability through the nonprofit organization submitting a survey response directly to Charity Navigator.


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Leadership & Adaptability Report

100

of 100 points

Mission

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s mission


To advance the study of family history in America and beyond, we educate, inspire and connect people through our scholarship, collections, and expertise.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Vision

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s vision.


NEHGS will be an even larger and more influential national institution. We will communicate our compelling and clearly articulated purpose that places people first and explains why what we do is important. We will successfully use our purpose and core values to guide us in engaging a larger constituency. We will showcase our expertise, partner with key nonprofits and other providers, and ensure a long-term future through the hard work of building a stronger and more stable financial platform. In a field that will still be served most widely by large commercial and non-secular entities, we will successfully differentiate ourselves as the premier national organization for the highest quality, guided genealogical and family history services in America and beyond.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Strategic Goals

The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking and goal setting through sharing their most important strategic goals.


Goal One: Expand of headquarters and grow operations with scalable business and philanthropic models to ensure financial sustainability

Goal Type: Grow, expand, scale or increase access to the existing programs and services.


Goal Two: Develop and implement enriching opportunities for members and the public to engage in inspirational experiences

Goal Type: New program(s) based on observed changes in needs among our constituencies/communities served.


Goal Three: Ensure that our members and the public identify with and connect to the American Ancestors and NEHGS community

Goal Type: Focus on core programs to achieve mission and scale back on programs not seen as core.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Leadership Development

The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development


Describe an investment in leadership

Each department at NEHGS has their unique leadership development budget. These funds are used for staff conferences, classes, and tuition reimbursement. Skills development programs are offered through the Employee Assistance Program and is available to all staff. During the recent pandemic, NEHGS looked to the future and the resources needed to lead our organization that achieves impactful and measurable results on a scalable basis and introduced a new organizational chart that is intended to: - Unflatten our reporting structure to more closely align activities that are functionally similar to improve ease of access and understanding for our members and users while gaining internal efficiencies for logistical, technical, and communications support. - Recognize and promote individuals who demonstrated over time, and during the pandemic, particular skills and talents which lend themselves to benefiting our new management structure.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Mobilizing for Mission

The nonprofit provides evidence of leadership through focusing externally and mobilizing resources for the mission.


This organization mobilizes for mission in the following ways:
  • Strategic Partnerships

  • Networks of Collective Impact Efforts

  • Thought Leadership

  • Raising Awareness

  • Policy Advocacy

What are this organization’s external mobilizaton efforts?

We connect with our members and the public in personally meaningful ways as respected expert genealogists and historians who care deeply about helping people of all ages and backgrounds. Our digital service offerings and increased use of social media platforms resulted in substantial new engagement with family historians around the country, and around the world. The far-flung geographic distribution of our members requires the ever-increasing need to prioritize technology to serve our members wherever in the world they may live. The commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower continues to receive considerable international media attention for our efforts in advancing commemorative activities and publications. The successful adaptation of our programming into fully online formats, along with several strategic partnerships with the Boston Public Library and GBH, the Boston-based PBS affiliate, allows us to reach a record number of people.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Story of Adaptability

The nonprofit has an opportunity to tell the story of how the organization adapted to tremendous external changes in the last year.


We have continued to be nimble, adaptive, and employ an entrepreneurial spirit as we carry out our mission amidst the ongoing challenges of an altered operating environment. Our maximization of remote service models, along with a supremely talented and dedicated staff, has allowed us to serve more people than at any other point in the history of our organization as we make lasting impacts on the field and in the lives of our constituents as they engage in the exploration of family history, heritage, and culture. Through varied and diverse online programming, we served more live attendees and had more on-demand views of our program recordings than ever before. In addition to record-setting participation in our programming, our website visitation continued to increase significantly. The use of AmericanAncestors.org as a research tool was bolstered by adding new searchable names, the vast majority of which is unique content from our signature study projects and scholarship from genealogical journals and periodicals. Among our most important strategic shifts in in the last year, we rapidly converted in-person programs to virtual offerings, including genealogical education lectures and seminars, our American Inspiration author series, and a new line of talks called Art & Architecture, which drew unprecedented and highly enthusiastic audiences and expanded our reach dramatically. Our constituency growth was driven, in part, by our swift and decisive modifications to our service model to meet the challenges of the pandemic, as well as accelerated strategic updates to our operations that reflect longer-term changes in information access and cost-effective service delivery. While adaptation was the hallmark of the year, we remained steadfastly focused on our commitment to producing the most authoritative genealogical and historical scholarship.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

...   Culture & Community


This score provides an assessment of the organization's engagement with the constituents it serves, a practice we term Constituent Feedback. When organizations listen to constituents, they are able to better deliver on programs and meet the needs of stakeholders. A future version of this Beacon will also assess an organization's people operations and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) metrics.


Culture & Community Score

Not Currently Scored

New England Historic Genealogical Society and American Ancestors is currently not eligible for a Culture & Community score because we have not received its Constituent Feedback data. Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile. This data will provide the basis for the initial evaluation of Culture & Community.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that we have not yet evaluated the organization.


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Culture & Community Report

Unscored

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Constituent Feedback

Constituent Feedback


Constituent Feedback and Listening Practice data are not available for this organization. Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile. This data will provide the basis for the initial evaluation of Culture & Community.


Charity Navigator believes nonprofit organizations that engage in inclusive practices, such as collecting feedback from the people and communities they serve, may be more effective. We award every nonprofit that completes the Candid survey full credit for this Beacon, in recognition of their willingness to publicly share this information with the nonprofit and philanthropic communities. Although the data is not evaluated for quality at this time, future iterations of this Beacon will include third party or other data that will serve to validate the information provided by the nonprofit.

Analysis and Research


Like the overall Encompass Rating System, the Culture & Community Beacon is designed to evolve as metrics are developed and ready for integration. Our partnership with Feedback Labs and Guidestar by Candid, and other partners including Fund for Shared Insight, GlobalGiving, and Keystone Accountability, enables us to launch the first version of this beacon with Constituent Feedback information collected on Candid's site.


Feedback practices have been shown to support better Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion outcomes, an essential area of assessment that we intend to further expand and develop in the future. Feedback Labs has documented several studies which indicate that beyond achieving organizational goals, nonprofits that are attentive and responsive to concerns and ideas raised by beneficiaries establish stronger relationships with the people they serve, promote greater equity, and empower constituents in ways that can help to ensure better long-term outcomes. You can find resources to help nonprofits improve their feedback practices here.

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