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Kansas City MO | IRS ruling year: 1993 | EIN: 58-2060131
Water.org is an international nonprofit organization that has positively transformed millions of lives around the world with access to safe water and sanitation thro ... (More)
Water.org is an international nonprofit organization that has positively transformed millions of lives around the world with access to safe water and sanitation through affordable financing. Founded by Gary White and Matt Damon, they have been pioneering market-driven financial solutions to the global water crisis for more than 25 years, giving women hope, children health and communities a future. (Less)
This charity's score is 96%, earning it a Four-Star rating. If this organization aligns with your passions and values, you can give with confidence.
We recognize that not all metrics and beacons equally predict a charity’s success. The percentage each beacon contributes to the organization’s overall rating depends on the number of beacons an organization has earned.
Use the tool below to select different beacons to see how the weighting shifts when only one, two, or three beacons are earned.
|Date Published||Form 990 FYE||Overall Score||Overall Rating|
|Rating Version: 2.1|
|Rating Version: 2.0|
|Rating Version: 1.0|
The IRS is significantly delayed in processing nonprofits' annual tax filings (Forms 990). As a result, the Accountability & Finance score for Water.org is outdated and the overall rating may not be representative of its current operations. Please check with the charity directly for any questions you may have.
Water.org has earned a 95% for the Accountability & Finance beacon. See the metrics below for more information.
This beacon provides an assessment of a charity's financial health (financial efficiency, sustainability, and trustworthiness) and its commitment to governance practices and policies.
This Accountability & Finance score represents IRS Form 990 data up until FY 2019, which is the most recent Form 990 currently available to us.Learn more
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)|
The presence of an independent governing body is strongly recommended by many industry professionals to allow for full deliberation and diversity of thinking on governance and other organizational matters. Our analysts check the Form 990 to determine if the independent Board members are a voting majority and also at least five in number. (Less)
|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:
|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.
|Does Not Provide Loan(s) to or Receive Loan(s) From Related Parties ... (More)|
Making loans to related parties such as key officers, staff, or Board members, is not standard practice in the sector as it may divert the charity's funds away from its charitable mission and can lead to real and perceived conflict-of-interest problems. This practice is discouraged by sector trade groups which point to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act when they call for charities to refrain from making loans to directors and executives. And the IRS is concerned enough with the practice that it requires charities to disclose on their Form 990 any loans to or from current and former officers, directors, trustees, key employees, and other "disqualified persons." Furthermore, some state laws go so far as to prohibit loans to board members and officers. And although employees and trustees are permitted to make loans to charities, this practice can also result in real and/or perceived conflict of interest problems for the charity. Furthermore, it is problematic because it is an indicator that the organization is not financially secure. (Less)
|Documents Board Meeting Minutes ... (More)|
An official record of the events that take place during a board meeting ensures that a contemporaneous document exists for future reference. Charities are not required to make their Board meeting minutes available to the public. As such, we are not able to review and critique their minutes. For this performance metric, we are checking to see if the charity reports on its Form 990 that it does keep those minutes. In the future, we will also track and rate whether or not a charity keeps minutes for its committee meetings. (Less)
|Distributes 990 to Board Before Filing ... (More)|
Providing copies of the Form to the governing body in advance of filing is considered a best practice, as it allows for thorough review by the individuals charged with overseeing the organization. The Form 990 asks the charity to disclose whether or not it has followed this best practice. If the charity has not distributed its Form 990 to the board before filing, then we deduct 4 points from its Accountability and Transparency score. (Less)
|Does not Compensate Board Members ... (More)|
The IRS requires that any compensation paid to members of the charity's governing body be listed on the Form 990. Furthermore, all members of the governing body need to be listed whether or not they are compensated. It is not unusual for some members of the board to have compensation listed. The executive director of the organization frequently has a seat on the board, for instance, and is compensated for being a full time staff member. However, it is rare for a charity to compensate individuals only for serving on its Board of Directors. Although this sort of board compensation is not illegal, it is not considered a best practice. (Less)
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)|
Such a policy protects the organization, and by extension those it serves, when it is considering entering into a transaction that may benefit the private interest of an officer or director of the organization. Charities are not required to share their conflict of interest policies with the public. Although we can not evaluate the substance of its policy, we can tell you if the charity has one in place based on the information it reports on its Form 990. If the charity does not have a Conflict of Interest policy, then we deduct 4 points from its Accountability and Transparency score. (Less)
|Whistleblower ... (More)|
This policy outlines procedures for handling employee complaints, as well as a confidential way for employees to report any financial mismanagement. Here we are reporting on the existence of a policy as reported by the charity on its Form 990. (Less)
|Records Retention and Destruction ... (More)|
Such a policy establishes guidelines for handling, backing up, archiving and destruction of documents. These guidelines foster good record keeping procedures that promotes data integrity. Here we are reporting on the existence of a policy as reported by the charity on its Form 990. If the charity does not have a Records Retention and Destruction Policy, then we deduct 4 points from its Accountability and Transparency score. (Less)
|CEO Compensation Process ... (More)|
This process indicates that the organization has a documented policy that it follows year after year. The policy should indicate that an objective and independent review process of the CEO's compensation has been conducted which includes benchmarking against comparable organizations. We check to be sure that the charity has reported on its Form 990 its process for determining its CEO pay. (Less)
|Donor Privacy ... (More)|
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)|
Charities are required to list their CEO's name and compensation on the Form 990. Our analysts check to be sure that the charities complied with the Form 990 instructions and included this information in their filing. (Less)
|Board of Directors Listed on Website ... (More)|
Our analysts check to see if the charity lists Board members on its website. Publishing this information enables donors and other stakeholders to ascertain the make up of the charity's governing body. This enables stakeholders to report concerns to the Board. Charity Navigator does not cross-check the Board members listed on the website with that reported on the Form 990, because the latter often isn't available until more than a year after the charity's fiscal year ends. In that time, the charity's Board members may have changed, and the charity typically reflects those more recent changes on the website. (Less)
|Key Staff Listed on Website ... (More)|
It is important for donors and other stakeholders to know who runs the organization day-to-day. Charity Navigator does not cross-check the leadership listed on the website with that reported on the Form 990 because the latter often isn't available until more than a year after the charity's fiscal year ends. In that time, the charity's leadership may have changed and the charity typically reflects those more recent changes on the website. In other words, since the Form 990 isn't especially timely, it can not be used to verify the leadership information published on the charity's site. (Less)
|Audited Financial Statements Listed on Website ... (More)|
We check the charity's website to see if it has published its audited financial statements for the fiscal year represented by the most recently filed IRS Form 990. It is important for donors to have easy access to this financial report to help determine if the organization is managing its financial resources well. We currently rate charities on whether or not they publish their audit on their website. (Less)
|Form 990 Available on Website ... (More)|
We check the charity's website to see if it has published its most recently filed IRS Form 990 (a direct link to the charity's 990 on an external site is sufficient). It is important for donors to have easy access to this financial report to help determine if the organization is managing its financial resources well. (Less)
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
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
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
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
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
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
Organizations that demonstrate consistent annual growth in program expenses are able to outpace inflation and thus sustain their programs year to year. These organizations also supply givers with greater confidence by maintaining broad public support for their programs. 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
This chart displays the trend of revenue and expenses over the past several years for this organization, as reported on their IRS Form 990.
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
Gary White, Chief Executive Officer
$396,419 (1.41% of Total Expenses)
Jennifer Schorsch, President
$344,178 (1.22% 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
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
Fundraising (BMF activity code: 927)
Gifts, grants, or loans to other organizations (BMF activity code: 602)
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)
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 search for this organization's Forms 990 on the IRS website (if any are available). Simply enter the organization's name (Water.org) or EIN (582060131) in the 'Search Term' field.
This organization was impacted by COVID-19 in a way that effected their financial health in 2020. This normally would have reduced their star rating. 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, and doing this pauses our revision of their rating. Charities may submit their own pandemic responses through their nonprofit portal.
Water.org reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
How COVID-19 impacted the organization's operations financially:
Several of Water.org’s funding commitments were disrupted as donors and companies began saving and/or redirecting their giving in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic uncertainty. As a result, revenue declined by 21.5% from FY19 to FY20. This required the organization to take several steps to preserve the core functions and keep expenses in line with our cash outlook. All discretionary spending was discontinued, and we applied for and received PPP relief to help preserve our impact and our team as much as financially feasible.
How COVID-19 impacted the organization's delivery of programs:
Water.org continued to deliver support to our implementing partners in 11 countries throughout the pandemic. However, lockdowns and strains on the economy because of the pandemic affected loan activity for water and sanitation solutions in various ways: Fewer people were able to access loans for water and sanitation. Implementing partners were temporarily unable to reach new customers. Partners had to adjust their operations, such as temporarily stopping lending, restructuring payments, halting the collection of loan payments, and providing emergency goods to vulnerable clients. Governments in the countries where we work shifted their focus toward reducing the spread and mitigating the effects of COVID-19, and away from increasing water and sanitation access.
How this organization adapted to changing conditions caused by COVID-19:
Water.org responded to the pandemic by transitioning to a work from home environment to ensure the health of staff. Next, contingency plans and detailed scenarios around cash modeling revealed the necessary steps to preserve the core functions of the organization. We focused on cash management, increased operational discipline and forecasting, monitoring of local conditions around the globe, and communication with donors. We responded to the changing conditions caused by COVID-19 in the following ways: Promote health among those living in poverty through hygiene and behavior change messages, as well as advocating for improved public access and investment in water, sanitation, and handwashing facilities. Support an increase in resilience of our partners so they will be able to continue offering critical water and sanitation loans to people in need. Advocate for stronger linkages between WASH and health to ensure governments focus resources on these vital, life-saving interventions.
Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:
We anticipate the focus on access to water and sanitation will continue to intensify, as the demand for these solutions in homes, businesses, and public spaces will increase as a means of protecting more people from COVID-19. We play a critical role in helping to meet this urgent need. We have adapted to communicating virtually, both amongst our global team and with our partners around the world, giving us more opportunity to connect and collaborate from afar. Training and technical assistance to our in-country partners has also become more digital. As we continue to grow, the ability to train a financial partner virtually will increase our efficiency and capacity to establish new partnerships. We have also seen more financial institutions turning to mobile technology for the loan and repayment process. By equipping our in-country partners with resources to deploy new mechanisms for remote lending, we can make our solution more accessible and reach more people in need.
Not Currently Scored
Water.org cannot currently be evaluated by our 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.
Water.org reported its two 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
Water.org has earned a 96% for the Culture & Community beacon. See the metrics below for more information.
This beacon provides an assessment of the organization's culture and connectedness to the community it serves.Learn more
30% of beacon score
This organization reported that it is collecting feedback from the constituents and/or communities it serves. 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.
Who are the people you serve with your mission? Describe briefly.
We serve people living in poverty who lack access to safe water and sanitation across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Millions of people who live in the countries where we work live on less than $6 a day. Our solutions resonate with people living in poverty who cannot pay for the water & sanitation facilities or services upfront, or who often cannot access the funds at an affordable rate, but have enough income potential to take out a water or sanitation loan.
How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?
Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person)
How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?
To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, 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
With whom does your organization share the feedback you got from the people you serve?
Our staff, Our funders, Our community partners
How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship with them or shifted power - over decisions, resources, rules or in other ways - to them?
We believe in the power and autonomy of the people we empower. They know the specific needs of their own homes and communities and what will work. Asking for feedback through household market surveys has indicated that people living in poverty are willing to take out and repay loans for water and sanitation improvements. They are also able to decide which water or sanitation improvement is best for their family, which shifts decision making from the nonprofit to the people we serve. This shift in decision making is particularly felt by women, who are most impacted by the water and sanitation crisis and who make up 88% of our program borrowers.
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, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to get honest feedback from our clients
Briefly describe a recent change that your organization made in response to feedback from the people you serve.
Water.org works with independent third-party firms to survey people with recent water and/or sanitation connections. The surveys collect feedback regarding clients’ satisfaction with the loan process and validate that the loan resulted in functional water or sanitation connections. In India, feedback from households indicated a need for larger loan amounts to cover the full cost of the preferred water/sanitation improvements. Water.org recognized that partners in India need greater access to capital to increase loan amounts and make them more available to households. Thus, Water.org has been working across the financial sector to increase the amount of capital available to our local partners so that they can offer more clients larger loans.
70% of beacon score
This organization's score of 95 is a passing score. The organization reported that it is implementing 9 Equity Practices. Charity Navigator believes nonprofit organizations implementing effective equity policies and practices can enhance a nonprofit's decision-making, staff motivation, innovation, and effectiveness.
Equity Practices (3/7)
We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and/or portfolios.
We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization/'s programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured
We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Equity Policies and Procedures (6/7)
We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Water.org has earned a 100% for the Leadership & Adaptability beacon. See the metrics below for more information.
This beacon 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.Learn more
The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization's mission
Water.org is an international nonprofit organization that exists to break down the financial barriers between people living in poverty and access to safe water and sanitation.
The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s vision.
Safe water and sanitation for all
Source: Nonprofit submitted responses
The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking and goal setting through sharing their most important strategic goals.
Goal One: Transform the lives of 74 million people with access to safe water or sanitation by 2025.
Goal Type: Grow, expand, scale or increase access to the existing programs and services.
Goal Two: Build Water.org’s capacity to implement climate and water resilient solutions and impact.
Goal Type: New program(s) based on observed changes in needs among our constituencies/communities served.
Goal Three: Be a social enterprise that harnesses capital markets to drive access to water and sanitation for people living in poverty.
Goal Type: Grow, expand, scale or increase access to the existing programs and services.
The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development
A few key initiatives have been implemented to empower team members to succeed in formal and informal leadership roles within the organization. These include: documenting formal career development conversations; equipping team members with new resources to create Individual Development Plans to outline and achieve career goals; launching a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion task force which consists of team members representing a variety of departments, roles and leadership levels; and implementing a new training curriculum that includes quarterly leadership roundtables, monthly staff trainings, and individual skill/knowledge builders. We have also operationalized a new model for our global offices – investing in and building our global team and leadership presence in the regions where we work.
The nonprofit provides evidence of leadership through focusing externally and mobilizing resources for the mission.
Networks of Collective Impact Efforts
Water.org prioritizes cultivating partnerships to achieve our goals and further our mission. Corporations, foundations and individuals provide critical funding to change lives with safe water; financial institutions and other in-country partners lend for water & sanitation; and global partners from governments to multilateral, bilateral and local development finance institutions help us expand financing for water & sanitation. Water.org actively participates in events, networks, and research in the water & sanitation sector, such as the Water Resilience Coalition and the Stockholm International Water Institute. These and other efforts with partners across the globe help influence public policy and practice changes to help increase the flow of capital for water & sanitation solutions. In addition, our strategic marketing activities raise awareness of our mission and the people we serve, such as annual campaigns around International Women’s Day and World Water Day.
The nonprofit has an opportunity to tell the story of how the organization adapted to tremendous external changes in the last year.
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was clear that water and sanitation were key to an effective COVID-19 response. Now more than ever, access to safe water and sanitation is critical to the health and resilience of our global community. In the short-term, we shifted activities to respond to the needs of our partners and the people we serve. We worked to improve the quality and quantity of hygiene activities, assisted our in-country partners in navigating COVID-19 impacts, and supported policies and investments that connect water and sanitation with the responses of government and development finance institutions. We also adapted to communicating virtually, both amongst our global team and with our partners around the world. For example, we continue to develop eLearning opportunities for our partners to access training materials and resources virtually. Now and looking ahead, we anticipate the demand for water and sanitation will intensify as a means of protecting more people from COVID-19 and future health issues. We play a critical role in helping to meet this urgent need. We also recognize an increased demand for sustainable water and sanitation solutions in the face of climate change, as the people we serve will be the most affected. This has driven investments in climate research and the development of a Water & Climate Fund to direct resources to initiatives that will help increase resiliency to climate change, such as improving water and sanitation infrastructure in the countries where we work.