Mission: San Diego Coastkeeper protects and restores fishable, swimmable, and drinkable waters in San Diego County using a strategic blend of education, community engagement, science, and advocacy to address persistent and emerging threats to clean water.

Since 1995, San Diego Coastkeeper has been the region's leading environmental nonprofit protecting and restoring the rivers, streams, bays, lagoons, wetlands, and coastal waters across San Diego County. We use a strategic blend of education, community engagement, science, and advocacy to tackle persistent and emerging threats to water quality, water supply, and ecosystem health, and to meet our goals and advance our mission. We believe that humans and the environment share a fundamental right to clean water.

San Diego Coastkeeper is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 1995, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information

  http://www.sdcoastkeeper.org

 3900 Cleveland Avenue
Suite 102
San Diego CA 92103 

  619-758-7743


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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.




Exceptional

This charity's score is 94.02, 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

78.4%


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

10.3%


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

11.1%


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

1.3%


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

$0.07


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

2.04 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

5.94%


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.
(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 Form W-2. In some cases, these amounts may include compensation from related organizations. Read the IRS policies for compensation reporting



Matt O'Malley, Executive Director

$115,000 (17.86% of Total Expenses)


Current CEO and Board Chair can be found in the Leadership & Adaptability report below.

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:

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

Combating or preventing pollution (air, water, etc) (BMF activity code: 351)


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.


San Diego Coastkeeper reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Program Delivery

  • Fundraising Capacity

  • Revenue

  • Administrative Capacity

  • Grants Received

  • Balance Sheet


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

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic impacted our funding opportunities. A few of our government contracts were frozen or terminated in 2020. A handful of grants that we expected to receive in 2020 and 2021 have delayed their grant process or have completely closed their funding opportunity. Also, coronavirus regulations and circumstances precluded us from hosting our annual in-person event, which raises significant critical funds that support our programs and efforts.


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

Before the pandemic, most of our work focused on place-based, hands-on education, interactive community engagement of schools, groups, families, individuals, and other partners, and in-person events and meetings. When the coronavirus pandemic reached San Diego in March of 2020, it forced us to make our engagements and programming completely virtual. For example, our education team was prevented from delivering in-person engagements at schools. In response, we quickly developed and disseminated a needs assessment through which educators provided feedback on their most pressing resource needs. This allowed us to swiftly adapt our education program to meet the emerging needs of teachers, students, and parents adjusting to remote learning. Meeting the needs of educators, Coastkeeper fully adapted our popular education programs by providing direct-to-student resources for both synchronous and asynchronous learning, such as videos, virtual activity guides, and web-based reading materials.


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

Our staff were able to successfully transition to remote work throughout COVID-19, as well as reformat our previously in-person events and programs to safe, virtual forms. For example, we transitioned our K-12 water and climate education program to both remotely-led presentations as well as do-it-yourself online modules for classrooms, complete with video lessons and follow-along activities, toolkits, and workbooks. We also launched a self-guided cleanup challenge in lieu of our community cleanups, providing a COVID-safe way for individuals and families to safely get outside and enhance their neighborhoods. Lastly, we hosted various virtual workshops for San Diegans to learn and stay informed about local water issues, as well as how to become active voices in local government.


Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

We had many successes with our innovations that we will keep in place permanently. We will continue to provide our self-guided series of online modules for our K-12 grade water and climate education program. We will also continue to keep some of our workshops and events in a virtual format.


Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
7/1/20212019 94.02
6/1/20202018 88.69
5/1/20202018 88.34

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.

6/1/20192017 82.24
3/1/20182016 78.81
12/22/20172016 77.26
5/1/20172015 80.05
6/1/20162014 82.22
Rating Version: 2.0
12/22/20152014 77.31
8/1/20152013 78.56
6/1/20152013 73.55
12/20/20132012 68.46
4/1/20132011 74.56

...   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

San Diego Coastkeeper 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 San Diego Coastkeeper? Join the waitlist for an updated Impact & Results score.


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Additional Information

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Largest Programs

Largest Programs



San Diego Coastkeeper reported its three largest programs on its FY 2019 Form 990 as:


$213,588

Spent in most recent FY

41%

Percent of program expenses


EDUCATION - THE ORGANIZATIONS EDUCATIONAL LESSONS, WATER EDUCATION FOR ARE AVAILABLE FOR ALL EDUCATORS INFORMAL AND FORMAL TO HELP K-12 GRADE STUDENTS IN SAN DIEGO GAIN A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE L ... (More)


$254,917

Spent in most recent FY

49%

Percent of program expenses


ADVOCACY - URGING REGULATORY AGENCIES AND COMMISSIONS AS WELL AS STATE, COUNTY, AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, THE ORGANIZATION ADVOCATES FOR STRICTER STORM WATER AND URBAN RUNOFF REGULATIONS, COMPLIANCE WITH ... (More)


$48,634

Spent in most recent FY

9%

Percent of program expenses


MONITORING - THE ORGANIZATION MONITORS WATER QUALITY THROUGHOUT THE REGION. THIS INCLUDES RIVERS AND STREAMS, AS WELL AS POLLUTED RUNOFF FROM CONSTRUCTION SITES, SCRAP YARDS, AND ANY OTHER INDUSTRIAL  ... (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 San Diego Coastkeeper is a passing score. This score has no effect on the organization's Star Rating.

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


San Diego Coastkeeper protects and restores fishable, swimmable, and drinkable waters in San Diego County using a strategic blend of education, community engagement, outreach, science, and advocacy. Since 1995, San Diego Coastkeeper has been the region's leading environmental nonprofit protecting and restoring San Diego County’s rivers, streams, bays, lagoons, wetlands, and coastal waters. We use a multi-pronged approach to tackle persistent and emerging threats to water quality, water supply, ecosystem health, and environmental justice.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Vision

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


San Diego Coastkeeper is a major force in transforming the San Diego region into a leader in sustainable water management, guided by engaged and informed communities, and protective of a healthy environment that supports high biodiversity, resilient ecosystems, and thriving neighborhoods.


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: Strengthen water quality protections against pollution and degradation and advance ecosystem health.

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


Goal Two: Advance a resilient, multi-benefit, low-carbon water supply.

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


Goal Three: Educate and activate residents to achieve clean water, sustainable water supply and use, and increased environmental literacy.

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

Yes, the organization invests in leadership development. We have an allocated budget for each staff member to participate and attend various professional development opportunities that relate to their field and expand their skills and knowledge. Many of our staff are also actively involved in the community, serving as board members on and core volunteer leads with other nonprofit and community groups.

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

  • Policy Advocacy

What are this organization’s external mobilizaton efforts?

San Diego Coastkeeper works closely with other environmental nonprofit organizations throughout San Diego County. We are part of and work within the office of the San Diego Climate Hub, which is an initiative bringing together environmental nonprofits who are addressing the climate crisis and working toward sustainable and equitable solutions for our region. We also regularly host and co-host workshops, tours, and trainings for community members to learn how to be involved in local government, see how they could live more sustainably, or participate in environmental conservation and stewardship activities. Additionally, our advocacy team works closely with traditional and non-traditional partners to advance climate-resilient and nature-based solutions. Lastly, we are on several social media platforms (LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter) and regularly update these profiles, along with our website, with our upcoming events and calls to action.

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 COVID-19 hit our region, San Diego Coastkeeper adapted quickly and acted swiftly and strategically to adjust our programs and services. For example, in order to meet the urgent needs of teachers, we compiled an online resource library with educational videos, real-world data, hands-on activities, and downloadable curriculum. We transitioned our standards-aligned science curriculum into an innovative set of online curriculum modules, complete with lesson plans, hands-on activity videos, and virtual classroom visits for remote learners. To continue mitigating marine debris, we developed and launched an innovative, COVID-safe volunteer cleanup and community science program to inspire and activate individuals and households to conduct do-it-yourself cleanups. We have taken similar approaches across all program areas, transitioning our programs to be deliverable in a virtual setting and connecting our community with critical resources.

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Additional Information

Unscored

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Organization Leadership

Organization Leadership


Matt O'Malley

Executive Director

Cindy Lin

President

...   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

San Diego Coastkeeper 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

Not Scored


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?

Note: The organization did not respond to this question.


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

Note: The organization did not respond to this question.


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

Note: The organization did not respond to this question.


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

Note: The organization did not respond to this question.


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

Note: The organization did not respond to this question.



Methodology


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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