Mission: Support The Enlisted Project (STEP) provides emergency financial grants and transition assistance grants to active duty and recently discharged enlisted service members and their families. Our service area now includes Southern California and the state of WA. We serve enlisted families in pay grades E1 to E6 whether on active duty or honorably discharged within the past 12 months, to help them successfully reintegrate into civilian life. Whether a military family is in need of a new transmission for their car, or an expectant mother and military spouse needs critical infant items, Support The Enlisted Project (STEP) is here to help with grants, not loans, for unexpected financial hardships. Where there is a need that we do not provide, we will partner with other organizations in the community for the benefit of our Nation's heroes and the families they frequently leave behind. STEP was formerly known as Operation Homefront Southern California from 2005 to 2012.<

Support The Enlisted Project (STEP) is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 2014, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information

  http://www.teamstepusa.org

 9915 Businesspark Avenue
Suite A
San Diego CA 92131 

  858-695-6810


You are viewing this organization's new Charity Navigator profile page. To view the legacy version, click here.

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.




Exceptional

This charity's score is 92.64, earning it a 4-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

83.6%


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

7.4%


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

8.8%


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

20.3%


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

$0.08


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

0.26 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

11.36%


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.
(Less)
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.
(Less)
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 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



Tony Teravainen, Chief Executive Officer

$136,508 (7.55% of Total Expenses)


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:

Activity data not reported from the IRS


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)


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.


Support The Enlisted Project (STEP) reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Program Delivery

  • Fundraising Capacity

  • Revenue

  • Staffing

  • Administrative Capacity

  • Balance Sheet


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

It impacted our grant pipeline as many agencies had shifting priorities, requirements and timelines


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

the needs of our clients changed, and we had to adjust our programs to meet their new needs, while still embracing and supporting our mission


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

Our clients and community made it known that they were scared for their health and required basic necessities such as food, diapers, wipes, hygiene stuffs and the like in a manner which would not expose them to any COVID, so we began touch-free, drive-thru distributions for general and customized needs.


Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

I do not feel that we will keep any of our temporary programs permanently, when they are not required or desired.


Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
11/1/20202019 92.64
7/1/20192018 92.72
2/1/20192017 94.41
9/1/20172016 93.90
11/1/20162015 80.72
6/1/20162014 88.19
Rating Version: 2.0
3/1/20152014 78.81
3/1/20142013 76.85
3/1/20132012 95.29
7/1/20122011 95.48
4/1/20122011 94.67

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.

12/1/20112010 90.90
9/20/20112010 84.42
Rating Version: 1.0
3/1/20112010 93.34

...   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

Support The Enlisted Project (STEP) 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 Support The Enlisted Project (STEP)? Join the waitlist for an updated Impact & Results score.


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Additional Information

Unscored

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Largest Programs

Largest Programs



Support The Enlisted Project (STEP) reported its largest program on its FY 2020 Form 990 as:


$1,892,746

Spent in most recent FY

100%

Percent of program expenses


STEP PROVIDES INDIVIDUALIZED FINANCIAL COUNSELING, EMERGENCY FINANCIAL GRANTS AND MORALE PROGRAM ASSISTANCE TO ACTIVE DUTY AND RECENTLY DISCHARGED ENLISTED MILITARY PERSONNEL AND THEIR FAMILIES. EMERG ... (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 Support The Enlisted Project (STEP) 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


Support The Enlisted Project (STEP) works to help our young military and veteran families move from financial crisis to a lifetime of self-sufficiency through counseling, education, grants and other programs. Our service area includes Southern California and the state of WA. We serve enlisted families in pay grades E1 to E6 whether on active duty or honorably discharged within the past 12 months, to help them successfully reintegrate into civilian life. Whether a military family is in need of a new transmission for their car, or an expectant mother and military spouse needs critical infant items, Support The Enlisted Project (STEP) is here to help with grants, not loans, for unexpected financial hardships. Where there is a need that we do not provide, we will partner with other organizations in the community for the benefit of our Nation's heroes and the families they frequently leave behind. STEP was formerly known as Operation Homefront Southern California from 2005 to 2012.<


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Vision

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


Our vision is to be relevant, reliable and responsive. In that, we aim to change the lives of young military and veteran families by helping them achieve a lifetime of financial self-sufficiency. After 7 years of dedicated service to Southern California's military families, and with a success rate of 90%, the board of directors at Support The Enlisted Project (STEP) voted to begin the process to pilot an expansion to serve the military and veteran families in Washington State. This process has been underway, stymie somewhat by COVID, since early 2020, and is being strongly requested by the local military leadership, community and governments. This expansion brings STEP to serving 20% of all military families.


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 to serve Washington State military and veteran population, as requested by the community, in a manner which does not negatively impact current service areas.

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


Goal Two: Increase average grant amount by winning larger grant proposals - this will be done by increasing balance sheet strength, expanding impacts, networking and marketing STEP's value to the community.

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


Goal Three: Expand the number of referral partners whom send clients to STEP, via personal referral, by building positive & mutually beneficial relationships which serves to increase the strength of the community

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


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Leadership Development

The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development


Describe an investment in leadership

$10,000 has been invested into employee development programs such as webinars, certification courses, nonprofit solutions management subscription. $5,000 has been invested into employee education reimbursement programs. All social workers work to become certified financial counselors and achieve "Financial Social Worker' status. All this activity is allowed during working hours.

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

  • Community Building

What are this organization’s external mobilizaton efforts?

Employees are encouraged to sit on external boards, committees, coalition boards, collaborative boards, and commissions, where 18 seats are held in the community by STEP employees. Employees are encouraged to speak at conferences, panels, podcasts and seminars where they can share their professional expertise, nationally if possible, where this has occurred 14 times in last two years (zoom included) Employees are submitted for community awards and recognition bringing awareness to their efforts to improve our community, where 6 major awards have been won in last 12 months. Employees guest lecture at local universities in area of expertise, 2 times this year. Fundraisers, program execution and marketing campaigns include participation from other military support agencies regularly, maybe 50 times in last two years.

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.


In March 2020, on the second day after everything shut down, we received a call from a Navy Chaplin assigned to a ship on the waterfront. He explained that all the Sailors that were on the ship at the time were getting locked onboard, despite their plans on going home at night. He told us that there were nine of them that were supposed to stop at the store on the way home to get food, diapers and baby formula for their families. He asked if we could help. Although we had no process to support in this manner, we immediately devised a process where we met all the needs and requirements of our donors, while meeting the requirements of our clients. After some email exchanges, pictures of signatures, excel spreadsheets, STEP members put what the Chaplin needed on a pallet late that night where He came pick it all up and leave on the doorsteps of the needy families. Knowing that safety of survival was becoming an immediate need, we shifted gears to acquire more basic needs for distribution, re-assign our financial counseling social workers to engage with clients in a screening/triage process during distributions, and working to provide needed information. Our warehouse containing baby clothes, toys, books and the like was moved to the now useless conference room. The emptied warehouse was filled with food, diapers, wipes, hygiene items and the like. As we were working out our systems of sourcing supplies from donors, food banks, Amazon, and Target, we received another call from military leadership, that there were 400 military spouses locked in their homes, fearful of contracting COVID and loosing custody of their children as their military spouses were at sea as one of the 5,000 sailors on the USS Teddy Roosevelt, which had come under its massive COVID infection. From here, things just got busy. We saw it as our duty to adjust to the new environment of our clients, serve them where and how they need to do it, while keeping an eye on our mission, vision and values.

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

Support The Enlisted Project (STEP) 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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