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Monterey CA | IRS ruling year: 1978 | EIN: 94-2487469
The Monterey Bay Aquarium's mission is to inspire conservation of the ocean. Since opening in October 1984, we have inspired more than 65 million visitors by showcas ... (More)
The Monterey Bay Aquarium's mission is to inspire conservation of the ocean. Since opening in October 1984, we have inspired more than 65 million visitors by showcasing the amazing sea life and habitats found in Monterey Bay and beyond - from coastal wetlands to the open sea, from kelp forests to a mile-deep submarine canyon. We know that bringing people face-to-face with living marine animals is a powerful way to move them to care about the ocean and ocean wildlife. To inspire a rising generation of ocean stewards, we offer free programs that have engaged more than 2.6 million schoolchildren, teens and teachers in scientific explorations of the ocean. As a leading ocean conservation organization, we promote seafood sustainability through our Seafood Watch program, conduct cutting-edge conservation research to promote understanding, protection and recovery of ocean animals and ecosystems, and work to reduce the effects of plastic pollution and climate change on the ocean. (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 As a result, the Accountability & Finance score for Monterey Bay Aquarium is outdated and the overall rating may not be representative of its current operations.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.
Monterey Bay Aquarium has earned a 96% 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
Julie Packard, Executive Director
$331,876 (0.34% 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
Gifts, grants, or loans to other organizations (BMF activity code: 602)
Organization that normally receives no more than one-third of its support from gross investment income and unrelated business income and at the same time more than one-third of its support from contributions, fees, and gross receipts related to exempt purposes. 509(a)(2) (BMF foundation code: 16)
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 (Monterey Bay Aquarium) or EIN (942487469) in the 'Search Term' field.
Not Currently Scored
Monterey Bay Aquarium 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.
Monterey Bay Aquarium reported its three largest programs on its FY 2019 Form 990 as:
Spent in most recent FY
Percent of program expenses
Marine Life Exhibition and Care
Spent in most recent FY
Percent of program expenses
Education and Outreach
Spent in most recent FY
Percent of program expenses
Conservation and Research
Monterey Bay Aquarium has earned a 88% 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
This organization reported that it is collecting feedback from the constituents and/or communities it serves. However, it did not respond to one or more survey questions, and therefore is not eligible for a score on this metric. (View our beacon 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.
How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?
Note: The organization responded that it is not collecting feedback.
How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?
Note: The organization reported that it is not using feedback.
With whom does your organization share the feedback you got from the people you serve?
Note: The organization responded that it does not share feedback.
What challenges does your organization face in collecting feedback from the people you serve?
Note: The organization reported no challenges faced.
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.
100% of beacon score
This organization's score of 88 is a passing score. The organization reported that it is implementing 6 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 (2/7)
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 (4/7)
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.
Monterey Bay Aquarium 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
The mission of the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the ocean. Since opening in October 1984, we have advanced our mission through our amazing exhibitions of ocean wildlife, education programs for youth and their teachers, and conservation and science initiatives that combat growing threats to ocean health. We work to educate the rising generation of ocean stewards, recover threatened ocean species and ecosystems, reduce ocean plastic pollution, and lead the way towards more sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. As one of our nation’s leading Aquariums, we are trusted by the public, businesses, policymakers and international stakeholders, allowing us to tackle pressing issues affecting ocean health and support solutions that create meaningful change.
The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking through articulating the organization’s vision.
We envision a world in which the ocean is healthy, and people are committed to protecting the integrity of Earth's life-sustaining natural systems. To make this vision a reality, we help people know more, care more and do more on behalf of the ocean. Our exhibits and programs introduce people from all walks of life to the wonders of the marine world, from Monterey Bay to the vast oceans beyond. As a leader in ocean conservation, we extend our impact by: inspiring the public through our webcams, web stories, and social media that showcase amazing ocean animals and habitats; engaging schoolchildren, teens, and teachers in science and conservation-based education programming; promoting ocean-friendly policies in California and the U.S. that help protect ocean animals, like the threatened southern sea otter; and providing tools to help the public make better seafood choices for a healthy ocean and global buyers and producers improve sustainable fishing and aquaculture practices.
Source: Nonprofit submitted responses
The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking and goal setting through sharing their most important strategic goals.
Goal One: Inspire and Engage: Create inspiring experiences for Aquarium visitors, build a constituency for the ocean, and develop and empower young conservation leaders.
Goal Type: Grow, expand, scale or increase access to the existing programs and services.
Goal Two: Act for the Ocean: Improve the sustainability of global fisheries and aquaculture, advance policy for ocean conservation, and generate scientific information to guide conservation decisions.
Goal Type: This goal reflects our commitment to further our advocacy work for our organization and or cause area.
Goal Three: Build Our Capacity: Ensure financial sustainability, invest in our people, take care of our physical assets, model best practices in environmental sustainability and advance technology and innovation.
Goal Type: Invest in the capacity of our organization (financial, management, technical, etc.).
The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is dedicated to developing leadership qualities in our staff of all levels. Each leader is required to attend a three-day, experiential leadership development program that provides knowledge and skill building in the areas of leadership fundamentals, coaching skills, feedback and conflict resolution skills, employment law, inclusive interviewing practices, and leading teams. Leaders are also required to attend a two-day program on personal leadership and accountability. Since 2020, all Aquarium staff, including our leaders, are asked to attend a two and a half day program on racial equity and social justice. Every two years leaders complete sexual harassment awareness training, along with other periodic workplace management training. Each month, additional courses are offered in either an online or instructor-led format that offer skill building opportunities for leaders. These courses are self-selected by leaders to support their personal, development goals.
The nonprofit provides evidence of leadership through focusing externally and mobilizing resources for the mission.
Networks of Collective Impact Efforts
We partner with aquariums nation-wide on initiatives to ensure ocean health and with formal and informal educators, school districts, colleges, and universities to help build a rising generation of ocean stewards. We support community partners in their efforts to achieve equitable access to the ocean and encourage ocean-friendly activities. We work closely with government agencies and academic organizations to conduct research and conservation efforts that protect threatened ocean animals and with elected officials at the local, state and federal level to ensure legislation is passed to conserve the ocean, its ecosystems and wildlife. We work with partners in countries around the world to support efforts by seafood buyers, fishers, and farmers to achieve sustainable fishing and aquaculture practices.
The nonprofit has an opportunity to tell the story of how the organization adapted to tremendous external changes in the last year.
Although the Aquarium was closed to the public for 14 months due to the pandemic, we remained committed to our mission to inspire conservation of the ocean. Throughout our closure, we continued to provide the best quality care for the nearly 80,000 animals and plants at the Aquarium. We pivoted programming to virtual platforms, leveraging our web and social channels to share stories about ocean animals and ecosystems. We also launched online courses for schoolchildren, teens and teachers and offered virtual field trip programs for K-12 students that have been extremely popular. Understanding that threats to the ocean continued to become more serious, we continued to care for stranded sea otters, maintained our global Seafood Watch program and supported critical ocean conservation efforts. We accomplished this while managing major programming and staffing cuts. Regardless of the significant challenges, our staff remained deeply committed to their work. They were nimble and creative as they came up new ways to communicate about and forward our critical ocean conservation mission, including accomplishing ground-breaking work on our new exhibition Into the Deep: Exploring Our Undiscovered Ocean because of a generous donor. And when we reopened to the public on May 15th, our staff did an outstanding job developing and employing modifications for the health and safety of our staff and guests, while ensuring an amazing Aquarium experience. During this difficult time, we were heartened to have thousands of new subscribers, followers and virtual visitors and more than 40,000 students, teens and teachers enroll in our virtual education programming. Now that we’ve reopened and restarted in-person education programs, we’re continuing our virtual presence to reach diverse audiences around the globe. Despite the challenges, we’ve remained optimistic due to the amazing support of our members and donors who stood steadfastly by us so we could emerge stronger than ever before.