Org's Mission: (i) to promote awareness of the Monterey Bay eco-systems and its adjoining areas; (ii) to conduct educational field trips; (iii) to instill in youth and adults  ... (More)

 |  2222 E CLIFF DR STE 222 Santa Cruz CA 95062-4739

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Oneill Sea Odyssey is headquartered in Santa Cruz, CA, and is a 501(c)(3) organization. EIN: 77-0464784.  Donations are tax-deductible. The IRS NTEE classification code is C30, Natural Resources Conservation and Protection within the Environmental Quality, Protection and Beautification category. The IRS ruling year for tax exemption was 1998.

(Source: IRS Business Master File and Form 990)

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Encompass Rating System by Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator’s Encompass Rating System evolves on a quarterly basis as we add new measures and indicators, which we call Beacons. Check back often to see how this organization’s score changes.

Learn about the Encompass Rating System: Announcement | FAQ | Release Notes

Overall Score

Not Scored

Encompass Scores are calculated from one or more Beacon Scores. This organization is either not eligible for a Beacon (see below), or that Beacon is not yet available.

  • This organization is ineligible for a Finance & Accountability score. Find out why.

  • This organization is ineligible for a Impact & Results score. Find out why.

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...   Finance & Accountability

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.

No Score

We have not issued this nonprofit a Finance & Accountability score. This does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, only that we have not reached a conclusion for the following reason:

This organization cannot be evaluated by our Encompass Rating methodology due to only having 2 years of electronically-filed IRS Form 990 data.

To ensure year-to-year consistency the Encompass Rating System’s Finance & Accountability beacon analyzes the three-year average of some data provided through the IRS 990.
Charity Navigator currently only has 2 years of consecutive e-filed Forms 990 from the IRS for Oneill Sea Odyssey under the EIN: 77-0464784.
Before Charity Navigator can evaluate this organization, Oneill Sea Odyssey will need to e-file for additional fiscal years.

Additional Information


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Total Revenue and Expenses

Total Revenue and Expenses

This chart displays the trend of revenue and expenses over the past several years for this organization, as reported on their IRS Form 990.

Salary of Key Persons

Presented here are up to five of the highest compensated employees listed on page 7 of the IRS Form 990. This compensation data 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 here.











Source: IRS Form 990, filing year 2019

Business Master File Data

The Exempt Organization IRS Business Master File (BMF) includes cumulative information the IRS collects and displays for all exempt organizations. The data is updated monthly. Below are some key data points from the BMF for this organization. View information about the BMF on the IRS website here.


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

Preservation of natural resources (conservation) (BMF activity code: 350)

Foundation Status:

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


Independent - the organization is an independent organization or an independent auxiliary (i.e., not affiliated with a National, Regional, or Geographic grouping of organizations). (BMF affiliation code: 3)

Data Sources: IRS Forms 990

The IRS Form 990 is the source of the finance and accountability data used within the Encompass Rating System. When an organization is eligible for a Finance & Accountability beacon score, each metric is based on elements of the 990. Some metrics are based on the most recent available filing, while others are based on averages of values over multiple years. We provide links to all available 990s here, whether or not this organization is eligible for a Finance & Accountability score.

IRS Forms 990 are provided courtesy of Foundation Center.

...   Impact & Results

Charity Navigator assesses how well a nonprofit delivers on its mission. To issue an Impact & Results score, we estimate the actual impact a nonprofit has on the lives of those it serves, and determine whether it is making good use of donor resources to achieve that impact.

No Score

We have not issued this nonprofit an Impact & Results score. This does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, only that we have not reached a conclusion for one of the following reasons:

  • The nonprofit is eligible for a score, but we have not yet gotten to scoring it.

  • The nonprofit is eligible for a score, but we have not yet developed the specific algorithms to estimate the impact of the type of service it delivers and so cannot issue a score yet.

  • The nonprofit does not primarily deliver services directly to beneficiaries or it is not reasonable to expect the nonprofit to measure impact for its primary activity. The impact analysis framework that we use is not well suited to these nonprofits.

  • The nonprofit is not heavily reliant on individual donors because beneficiaries fund a majority of its costs or it does not receive any private charitable contributions.

Learn more about how we rate nonprofits.

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Additional Information


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Largest Programs

Largest Programs

Oneill Sea Odyssey reported its largest program on its FY 2019 Form 990 as:


Spent in most recent FY


Percent of program expenses

The corporation is formed for the following purposes: (i) to generally promote and foster local, national and international awareness of the eco-systems of the Monterey Bay and its adjoining areas; (i ... (More)

GuideStar Seal of Trans­parency


GuideStar is Charity Navigator's trusted partner in sharing information on how this organization seeks impact. GuideStar has recognized this organization with a Gold Seal of Transparency for voluntarily and publicly describing their goals, strategies, and accomplishments. Click here for more information.

Note: GuideStar Seals do not effect the nonprofit’s Impact & Results Score.

What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

By providing a free, hands-on, marine science and outdoor education program, O'Neill Sea Odyssey will: • Help schools reach National Science and Mathematics Education Standards through outdoor education curricula aligned with NOAA's (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's) Ocean Literacy Essential Principals and Fundamental Concepts. • Encourage environmental stewardship and leadership skills among low income, at risk and underserved youth through community service. • Improve environmentally responsible behaviors (ERB's) among low income, at risk and underserved youth. • Improve the health and viability of urban watersheds, wetlands and schools by promoting community service.

What are your strategies for making this happen?

The curriculum is taught in a stimulating and intimate learning environment, which provides a learning experience that lasts a lifetime. The program's curriculum is designed to support the educational goals of the schools that participate, and each of the subjects taught align with both California state and federal education standards. Hands-on activities, teaching to the different intelligences, and scaffolding new language for meaning are widely accepted teaching methods currently encouraged within education. OSO utilizes the hands-on teaching method, and activities to educate and inspire youth towards a life of stewardship. Hands-on learning in smaller group settings scaffolds vocabulary, increases participation by English learners, demonstrates academic subject matter in an engaging manner, and integrates academic subjects in an exciting learning environment. Verbal, visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learners are all educated through this hands-on approach to science. OSO introduces new vocabulary to both native English speakers and English learners. The use of scientific terminology builds vocabulary and helps to further youth's educational goals in the area of literacy.

What are your organization's capabilities for doing this?

O'Neill Sea Odyssey has been providing this service for 20 years, conducting lessons on board the catamaran with follow-up lessons at the shore-side Education Center at the Santa Cruz Harbor. It is free of charge, but students earn their way into the program by designing and performing a project to benefit their community. O'Neill Sea Odyssey also raises funds for bus transportation for lower-income schools, and our in-class curriculum is being distributed nationally as of 2016. OSO was founded in 1996. In 1999, Tom and Judy Webster established the Adam Webster Memorial Fund for special needs youth. Jack O'Neill and Harry Hind donated the O'Neill Building to OSO in 2000, to provide a shore-side education center and some revenue for the program. In 2003 OSO published a curriculum handbook including a chart with alignment to California State and Federal content standards, and distributed it nationally in collaboration with the national marine sanctuary program. OSO received the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in 2004, the same year that $1.3 million in donor funds re-build upstairs of the O'Neill building with OSO education center, elevator, disabled access, and Surfrider Foundation water quality lab, while the downstairs reverted to the Santa Cruz Harbor. In 2006 OSO began paying for bus transportation for lower income schools, received Senator Barbara Boxer's Environmental Champion award and installed its weather station and integrated it into its curriculum. In 2008 OSO installed its solar system for its education center and the Surfrider Foundation. In 2009 the Adam Webster Memorial Fund received the Community Spinners award, and in 2012 OSO's curriculum was aligned to Ocean Literacy principles and distributed throughout California. The Silicon Valley Business Journal's Community Impact Award was received in 2013 and the study of our program's long term impact on students was completed. In 2014 OSO's curriculum was aligned to Common Core & Next Generation Science Standards. Having served 85,000 students, our organization is on track to achieve a total of 100,000 total students served by 2018, according to our 2013-2018 Five Year Strategic Plan. During last school year, OSO served 5,519 students in 207 classrooms. In 2015 OSO completed its transition from paper and clipboard collection of data on Monterey Bay to the use of iPads and a custom app, and has also filmed three classes and subsequently produced a “virtual program" for schools that cannot physically get to our location but can benefit from the program. In September, 2016, in-class, Common Core and Next Generations Science Standards curriculum will be distributed nationally via the Pepper College Readiness Network.

How will your organization know if you are making progress?

O'Neill Sea Odyssey is an ocean-going science and math program, with environmental stewardship outcomes. To measure progress in achieving its three objectives, OSO uses a student survey consisting of six carefully chosen questions administered before and after the field trip to measure attitudes, intended behaviors and understanding of the subject matter which will be analyzed by Applied Survey Research (ASR). OSO also uses a teacher survey that measures how much the class learned and the effectiveness of OSO's field trip, as well as the pre- and post-field trip curriculum. In conjunction with ASR, OSO tested a new student survey measuring outcomes between September and December of 2013 to sharpen our understanding of participating student's retention of concepts relating to non-point source pollution. For the question: “I know where storm drains lead" 49.6% of students answered affirmatively before the program, and 96.7% afterwards, a 47.1% positive change. For the question “Most pollution comes from land" it was 88.2% vs. 99.2%, for an 11% positive change. And for the question “(I will) share what I know about the protecting the environment and ocean with my friends and family" it was 59.2% vs. 94.1%, for a positive change of 34.9%. Taken together, we believe these results indicate that OSO has a profound impact on student understanding of and willingness to undertake stewardship and to advocate positive action to others relative to non-point source pollution. For the 2014-15 school year, the Student Survey showed that the program was effective in promoting substantial increases in students' environmental awareness. Before participating, an average of 76% of students agreed with the survey questions overall. After attending the program, this percentage increased to 96%. When student surveys were divided by income level, results showed that all groups of students increased their environmental knowledge after attending the program. The students from lower and middle income groups generally had lower overall levels of agreement before the program started than the higher income groups. The teacher surveys for 2014-15 indicated that 72% of all teachers/group leaders reported that they had used the online teaching materials provided on the website before their trip, and 95% of teachers intended to use the online teaching materials in the classroom after the trip. When asked which online resource the teachers/group leaders used, 90% used the pre-trip education materials. The online resource that teachers/group leaders identified as most helpful was the pre-trip education materials, at 84%.

What have and haven't you accomplished so far?

O'Neill Sea Odyssey's Board of Directors approved a new, five-year strategic for 2014 through 2018. The plan includes the following goals: • In 2018 100,000 students had been served and our goal by the end of 2018 is to have served 100,000 students with our hands-on, ocean going education program. • Continue to increase environmental stewardship and advocacy among youth through our hands-on ocean education program combined with our promotion of ocean science curriculum and watershed concepts in classrooms, especially for inland schools. • Achieve financial sustainability through endowment & building. • Using O'Neill Sea Odyssey's success as a model, continue to advocate for outdoor, hands-on environmental education.


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Note: GlobalGiving Badges do not effect the nonprofit’s Impact & Results score.

...   Leadership & Adaptability

Charity Navigator will provide an assessment of the organization’s leadership capacity, strategic planning, and the ability to readily innovate or respond to changes in constituent demand/need or other relevant social and economic conditions to achieve the organization’s mission.

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...   Culture & Community

Charity Navigator will provide an assessment of the organization’s people operations, its engagement with the constituents served, and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) measures.

Culture & Community Score (BETA)

Coming Soon

Encompass Rating Beta V2 does not provide an evaluation of the organization's culture and community. Beta V3 will provide an evaluation of Constituent Feedback and Listening Practices. 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. Other measures will be added later in the year.

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Additional Information


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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 Community & Culture.

Why It Matters

Like the Encompass Rating System, the Culture & Community Beacon is designed to evolve as relevant 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.