Mission: At home or abroad, buildOn's mission is to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education. Across the U.S., buildOn empowers urban y ... (More)

buildOn is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 1992, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information

  http://www.buildon.org/

 1111 Summer Street
Suite 602A
Stamford CT 06905 

  508-395-9703


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Star Rating System


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 92.80, 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

84.1%


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

5.4%


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

10.3%


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

4.5%


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

$0.10


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

0.91 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

6.58%


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 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 include salary, cash bonuses, and expense accounts. The amounts do not include nontaxable benefits, deferred compensation, or other amounts not reported on Form W-2. Read the IRS policies for compensation reporting



JIM ZIOLKOWSKI, CHAIRMAN AND CEO

$370,096


MARC FRIEDMAN, CHIEF REVENUE OFFICER/SECRETARY

$238,500


CARRIE PENA, CXO

$163,494


REBECCA SILVER-FISHER, VP PHILANTHROPY

$162,045


FRANK ERTL, CFO

$158,760


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


Activities:

Other school related activities (BMF activity code: 059)


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.


buildOn reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Program Delivery

  • Fundraising Capacity

  • Revenue

  • Staffing

  • Grants Received


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

Due to the pandemic, our revenue declined by 13.6% from $19,343,424 to $16,709,032. Excluding the PPP loan/grant, it would have declined by 20.2% to $15,430,632. Individual giving dropped by 26.4% primarily due to a decrease in peer-to-peer crowd raising for our Trek Program, a global service-learning program when donors raise funds to build a school and then travel to partner with communities on the construction. Corporate and Foundation giving dropped by 22.8% due to economic uncertainty and the inability to partner on in-person service/CSR experiences for employees. However, by converting our in-person fundraising events to virtual, we were still able to net nearly $3 million in event revenue. To manage this decline in revenue, we reduced our expenses by 11.1%. Through these efforts to effectively manage our expenses against our revenue, and by virtue of receiving the PPP loan/grant, we generated a small surplus by the end of 2020.


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

COVID greatly disrupted both our U.S.-based service-learning programs and our Global school construction and education programs. Our U.S. programs are embedded in underserved high schools and organize students to directly serve their communities. Due to COVID all of our schools were closed for in-person learning and shifted to virtual classrooms. This greatly limited our access to students. Across the globe, we were forced to temporarily suspend our Global School Construction Program, Adult Literacy Program, and Enroll – our program aimed at bringing out-of-school children back to school. Fortunately, our Global Programs are led but experts who are native to their countries, thus the travel lockdowns did not prevent us from resuming construction. But COVID caused a variety of other issues including, increased costs of construction materials, additional costs to bolster health and safety on the worksites, and limited volunteer participation on the worksite due to social distancing.


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

In the U.S., we temporarily converted our in-person service-learning program to an online program. We provided tablets and wifi hot spots for students without access to technology. We worked with U.S. teachers to enhance their digital classrooms by providing an online service-learning curriculum tied to common core standards. And we launched a digital community organizing initiative to build the infrastructure for young leaders to use technology to recruit their peers join them in service. Globally, we learned to operate within the bounds of COVID to build 190 schools. We began by partnering with leaders to provide their communities with COVID-19 prevention information. We helped these communities organize to sew masks, providing the funding for all of the material. Further, we added a mask mandate on all buildOn construction sites, installed handwashing stations that included hand sanitizer, and limited the number of volunteers on a worksite to ten people to ensure social distancing.


Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

We will maintain the improved health measures on our global worksites event after returning to our previous onsite volunteer levels of 100+ people. We created a new role for a National Curriculum Designer who facilitates the creation of a series of Social Justice Service-Learning Journeys. And we are strengthening the position of Digital Community Organizer to build a more robust network of students, including those who have been chronically absent or have been hard to reach during COVID.


Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
6/1/20182016-12 93.73
4/1/20172015-12 93.64
6/1/20162014-12 92.44
Rating Version: 2.0
12/22/20152014-12 91.64
7/1/20152013-12 92.94
2/1/20142012-12 97.30
2/1/20132011-12 93.48
4/1/20122010-12 96.47
9/20/20112009-12 99.17
Rating Version: 1.0
4/1/20112009-12 98.82
4/1/20102008-12 96.32
7/1/20092007-12 98.95
2/1/20082006-12 98.74
2/1/20072005-12 93.37
7/1/20062004-12 98.58
7/1/20052003-12 98.67

...   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

buildOn 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.


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Additional Information

Unscored

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Largest Programs

Largest Programs



buildOn reported its two largest programs on its FY 2019 Form 990 as:


$9,892,502

Spent in most recent FY

71%

Percent of program expenses


BUILDON GLOBAL - SINCE 1991, BUILDON HAS MOBILIZED RURAL VILLAGES IN SOME OF THE POOREST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD, TO BUILD MORE THAN 1,614 SCHOOLS, IN THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS: BOLIVIA (8), BRAZIL (2),  ... (More)


$3,892,592

Spent in most recent FY

28%

Percent of program expenses


BUILDON US - BUILDON'S SERVICE LEARNING PROGRAMS ARE CONFRONTING THE EDUCATION CRISIS IN THE UNITED STATES BY ADDRESSING INDICATORS, SUCH AS TRUANCY, GRADUATION RATES, SCHOOL PARTICIPATION, AND CIVIC  ... (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

Not Currently Scored

buildOn is currently not eligible for a Leadership & Adaptability score because we have not received its L&A survey responses.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that the organization has not yet submitted data for evaluation.


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...   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

buildOn 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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