Mission: The Coast Guard Foundation is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of the men and women of the Coast Guard and their families. Founded  ... (More)

Coast Guard Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 1986, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information


 394 Taugwonk Road
Stonington CT 06378 


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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.


This charity's score is 86.31, 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


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


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


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


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


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

1.57 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


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


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

Sources Include: IRS Form 990

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.
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.
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)


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

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.




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

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


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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 this organizations key compensated staff members as identified by our analysts. 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 W-2. In some cases, these amounts may include compensation from related organizations. Read the IRS policies for compensation reporting

Susan Ludwig, President

$208,822 (2.60% of Total Expenses)

Source: IRS Form 990 (page 7), filing year 2019

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


Gifts, grants, or loans to other organizations (BMF activity code: 602)

Described in section 170(b)1)(a)(vi) of the Code (BMF activity code: 994)

Foundation Status:

Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public   170(b)(1)(A)(vi) (BMF foundation code: 15)


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.

Coast Guard Foundation reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Program Delivery

  • Fundraising Capacity

  • Revenue

  • Administrative Capacity

  • Balance Sheet

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

To start, we cut our operating budget almost immediately. We knew we would have less funding due to the cancellation of nearly all our in-person events, which raise a significant amount for our operations. So we deferred many needed expenses so we could weather the storm and focus on supporting the Coast Guard. Our board formed an ad-hoc committee to address all income and expense items for the year, and met regularly with Coast Guard Foundation senior leadership to assess changes in fundraising, and how to maximize program support with reduced available funding.

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

We first met with Coast Guard leaders to see how we could best provide support during this time. We pivoted wellness support to meet the service’s greatest needs. The country shut down as our scholarship deadline approached, so we extended the closing date for more time for students to finish applications/submit transcripts. With most camps canceled, we pivoted our grants to include flexible options like online enrichment and investments in technology to allow for distance learning. Our workforce development program is largely in-class learning; while we were able to hold many classes, we launched a parallel program online, allowing for self-paced learning; the online option also gives CG members the chance to earn a certification while underway. Our Run to Remember program honors Coast Guard fallen heroes, through in-person fitness events. We provided local organizers tools to hold virtual events, and launched our own CGF virtual events that engaged people from across the country.

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

We pivoted to a fully remote work environment, and provided all team members with the tools and technology to continue our work. Several of our team members were already working remotely, and their shared experiences helped boost our communication among the full team. We strengthened our digital communication to our board and key stakeholders, through use of video conferencing and panel discussions.

Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

Overall, we will keep processes in place that provide deeper engagement with our core constituencies: Coast Guard members and families, and our donors and supporters. Now that there is improved access to technology, we will offer a hybrid meeting design for our Board of Trustees, who are spread out across the country. Our regional team hosts programs online that highlight Coast Guard missions. We will continue this engagement online because it gives more people the opportunity to engage. We will return to in-person events as the situation allows, but we will continue to provide digital, online engagement opportunities so we can reach more of our supporters across a wide demographic. Our Run to Remember program will promote both in-person, locally-organized events and virtual events that promote collective action across the country.

Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
4/1/20212019 86.31
12/20/20192018 83.48
3/5/20192017 83.53
2/1/20192017 79.29

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.

5/1/20182016 87.42
6/1/20172015 81.03
5/1/20172015 80.68
6/1/20162014 85.33
Rating Version: 2.0
12/22/20152014 88.73
12/22/20142013 86.54
12/20/20132012 81.00
2/1/20132011 80.00
3/1/20122010 75.37
9/20/20112009 76.83
Rating Version: 1.0
6/1/20112009 67.96
1/12/20112008 71.90
7/1/20092007 70.76
4/1/20082006 87.97
2/1/20072005 90.73
4/1/20062004 95.85
3/1/20052003 95.65
5/1/20042002 98.59
3/28/20032001 98.39

...   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

Coast Guard Foundation 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 Coast Guard Foundation? Join the waitlist for an updated Impact & Results score.

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Additional Information


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Largest Programs

Largest Programs

Coast Guard Foundation reported its three largest programs on its FY 2019 Form 990 as:


Spent in most recent FY


Percent of program expenses



Spent in most recent FY


Percent of program expenses



Spent in most recent FY


Percent of program expenses


...   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


out of 100

The score earned by Coast Guard Foundation 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


of 100 points


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

We partner with the Coast Guard to provide resources to members and families that build resilience and strengthen the entire community.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses


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

We envision a world where all Coast Guard members and families are valued and have the support they need to succeed throughout their lives.

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: Double the support provided to the Coast Guard across our core programs of emergency relief, education/employment support, and morale & wellness assistance while creating sustainable revenue streams.

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

Goal Two: Achieve our full potential by investing in infrastructure by expanding the regional fundraising team, to best work with philanthropists across the country for impact to CG members and families.

Goal Type: This goal reflects our commitment to further our advocacy work for our organization and or cause area.

Goal Three: Assess Coast Guard member current and future needs and analyze Coast Guard Foundation program impacts and how they meet the identified needs.

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

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Leadership Development

The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development

Describe an investment in leadership

The Coast Guard Foundation convenes meetings several times each year with the entire staff and/or full departments to allow mentoring, performance assessments, industry training, and identifying leadership strategies for the future. In a typical year they are at CGF Headquarters, allowing for in-person collaboration and training. During the all team meetings, CGF senior leaders provide coaching and training on best practices, and industry trends and opportunities. Individual staff members also typically attend industry and leadership training at professional conferences or other venues. During the pandemic team meetings were held virtually and attendance at conferences and outside training was paused for safety. As travel and gatherings have opened up, we returned to an in-person all-team meeting in 2021. We are planning to allow staff members to attend needed training again in 2022.

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

  • Thought Leadership

  • Raising Awareness

  • Community Building

What are this organization’s external mobilizaton efforts?

The Coast Guard Foundation promotes the mission and service of the Coast Guard and raises awareness about the value of the Coast Guard’s service. We honor and celebrate Coast Guard heroism and mission excellence. We celebrate the Coast Guard and its missions at annual events, through public campaigns and online media. We host Industry Panels with Coast Guard officials, industry experts, and maritime/defense associations to expand understanding and thought leadership on issues related to national security, maritime transportation, and Coast Guard missions. We host Coast Guard officials to speak with public audiences about Coast Guard missions, activities, and priorities. We partner with the Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association to provide disaster and other relief. We work to provide programs that strengthen Coast Guard members’ service to our nation including providing equipment, infrastructure, and events that build community among military members and families.

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.

When the pandemic hit, CGF took 2 immediate actions. We reached out to the Coast Guard (CG) to see how we could help. We outfitted 125 quarantine facilities so exposed members did not infect others and impact CG readiness. We rushed morale to 25 large CG ships deployed with no shore leave. We assisted units in remote areas & large bases where CG members were facing challenges. Our 2nd action was to cut operating expenses. We had less funding due to the cancellation of nearly all in-person events, which raise funds for operations. We deferred needed expenses and focused on support for the CG. We usually host 8 fundraising dinners nationwide, all but three were canceled, 2 of those were held virtually. Much of our fundraising also occurs through in-person meetings with our key stakeholders. Our team worked with donors by phone, email, and video. In addition to COVID-specific aid, which included 185 projects around the country, we assessed how the pandemic impacted programs that provide vital assistance to CG families. Example: the country shut down as our scholarship period was ending and many students couldn’t access their transcripts. We worked with students to complete applications and awarded 167 scholarships in 2020, and another 158 scholarships in 2021. We pivoted our summer camp grant program to allow for in-home learning and enrichment activities and offered grants for Chromebook and tablets to aid in distance learning. This summer, as camps re-opened, in-person camps and activities returned, and we continued to offer technology hardware for youth learning from home. We focused on fundraising for workforce development & employment assistance programs. We provided grants for the spouses of junior members to improve their skills, re-train, or obtain new licenses. From a communications perspective, we pivoted to a largely remote workplace and put technology enhancements in place for supportive interaction and collaboration.

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


out of 100

The score earned by Coast Guard Foundation is a passing score.

Encompass Rating V4 provides an evaluation of an organization's Culture and Community by measuring its Constituent Feedback practices (see report below). Constituent Feedback data provides 100% of the basis for the initial evaluation of the Culture & Community Beacon.

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Culture & Community Report


of 100 points

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Constituent Feedback

Constituent Feedback

Full Credit

This organization reported that it is collecting feedback.

Here's how this organization is listening and learning from the people they serve:

How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Paper surveys

How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

With whom does your organization share the feedback you got from the people you serve?

The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners

What challenges does your organization face in collecting feedback from the people you serve?

It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback

Briefly describe a recent change that your organization made in response to feedback from the people you serve.

In the summer of 2020 we needed to pivot our Youth Enrichment Program because in-person summer camps and enrichment programs were canceled because of COVID-19 concerns. In consultation with senior enlisted Coast Guard members, we assessed there were additional needs to meet, specifically technology- like Chromebooks and tablets - so kids could enhance their school-year learning over summer break, on their own devices and participate in online enrichment activities (like zoom book clubs We were able to meet our program participants where they were and about 1/2 of the grant recipients participated in non-camp activities. This year, we offered the expanded view of youth enrichment, and 20% accessed grants for technology, while 80% returned to in-person camp and extra-curricular programming.


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've partnered with GuideStar by Candid to survey organizations about their feedback practices. Nonprofit organizations can fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile to receive a rating.

Charity Navigator awards full credit for this Beacon to every nonprofit that is eligible for an Encompass Rating that completes the survey, in recognition of their willingness to publicly share this information with the nonprofit and philanthropic communities. This data is not evaluated for quality at this time. Validation will be added in future iterations of this Beacon.

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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