Mission: Founded in 1982 by legendary environmentalist David Brower, Earth Island Institute is a nonprofit conservation organization confronting unprecedented threats to life on Earth. Earth Island provides support, mentorship, and training to a vibrant network of more than 75 conservation action projects in the US and around the world.
Earth Island also operates the premier youth leadership support and recognition program, the Brower Youth Awards and New Leaders Initiative. Earth Island Advocates, our legal arm, is on a mission to protect irreplaceable resources, sild spaces and wildlife that are critical to a healthy planet.
Earth Island also inspires people to get involved and take action, through the publication of our award-winning quarterly magazine, the Earth Island Journal.

Earth Island Institute is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 1984, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information

  http://www.earthisland.org

  2150 Allston Way
Suite 460
Berkeley CA 94704 

  510-859-9100


 Important note on the timeliness of ratings

The IRS is significantly delayed in processing nonprofits' annual tax filings (Forms 990). As a result, the Financial and Accountability & Transparency score for Earth Island Institute is outdated and the overall rating may not be representative of its current operations.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.

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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 98.42, 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.


Back to Overall

Star Rated Report

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Program Expense

Program Expense Ratio

84.3%


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

8.4%


As reported by charities on their IRS Form 990, this measure reflects what percent of its total budget a charity spends on overhead, administrative staff and associated costs, and organizational meetings. Dividing a charity's average administrative expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.


Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Expenses

7.1%


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

4.0%


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

$0.06


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

1.71 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

7.97%


We compute the average annual growth of program expenses using the following formula: [(Yn/Y0)(1/n)]-1, where Y0 is a charity's program expenses in the first year of the interval analyzed, Yn is the charity's program expenses in the most recent year, and n is the interval of years passed between Y0 and Yn.


Source: IRS Form 990

Governance


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990 that the organization has these governance practices in place.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990

Governance:
Independent Voting Board Members  ... (More)
No Material Diversion of Assets ... (More)

A diversion of assets – any unauthorized conversion or use of the organization's assets other than for the organization's authorized purposes, including but not limited to embezzlement or theft – can seriously call into question a charity's financial integrity. We check the charity's last two Forms 990 to see if the charity has reported any diversion of assets. If the charity does report a diversion, then we check to see if it complied with the Form 990 instructions by describing what happened and its corrective action. This metric will be assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Full Credit: There has been no diversion of assets within the last two years.

  • Partial Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity has used Schedule O on the Form 990 to explain: the nature of the diversion, the amount of money or property involved and the corrective action taken to address the matter. In this situation, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity's explanation on Schedule O is either non-existent or not sufficient. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
(Less)
Audited Financials Prepared by Independent Accountant ... (More)

Audited financial statements provide important information about financial accountability and accuracy. They should be prepared by an independent accountant with oversight from an audit committee. (It is not necessary that the audit committee be a separate committee. Often at smaller charities, it falls within the responsibilities of the finance committee or the executive committee.) The committee provides an important oversight layer between the management of the organization, which is responsible for the financial information reported, and the independent accountant, who reviews the financials and issues an opinion based on its findings. We check the charity's Form 990 reporting to see if it meets this criteria.

  • Full Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant with an audit oversight committee.

  • Partial Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant, but it did not have an audit oversight committee. In this case, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: The charity did not have its audited financials prepared by an independent accountant. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
(Less)
Does Not Provide Loan(s) to or Receive Loan(s) From Related Parties ... (More)
Documents Board Meeting Minutes ... (More)
Distributes 990 to Board Before Filing ... (More)
Compensates Board ... (More)

Policies


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization has these policies in place.


Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Policies:
Conflict of Interest  ... (More)
Whistleblower ... (More)
Records Retention and Destruction ... (More)
CEO Compensation Process ... (More)
Donor Privacy ... (More)

Donors can be reluctant to contribute to a charity when their name, address, or other basic information may become part of donor lists that are exchanged or sold, resulting in an influx of charitable solicitations from other organizations. Our analysts check the charity's website to see if the organization has a donor privacy policy in place and what it does and does not cover. 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



David Phillips, Executive Director

$135,985 (1.18% 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 2020

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:

Publishing activities (BMF activity code: 120)

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)


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.


Earth Island Institute reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Program Delivery

  • Staffing

  • Administrative Capacity


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

The dislocation of our closed office and remote work made our financial operations more difficult. We experienced some reduction in grants and donations. We applied for and received a PPP loan allowing us to retain our entire staff for several key months. Even after the PPP support, we have been successful in retaining all staff positions. We have been able to provide office use for critical organizational functions and are now taking steps to allow safe return to office for more staff.


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

Earth Island has nearly 80 projects operating in the US and around the world. Our Project Support team has had to develop new methods for coordinating all the financial and programmatic needs of program fundraising, deposits and bill payments, contract management, support services, outreach, HR, and communication.


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

After 19 consecutive years of doing our annual Brower Youth Award event in person at a large theater, we had to adapt to doing it in 2020 virtually. All elements from video production, winner coaching and training, and award presentation had to be done virtually. We also had to bring new tools and practices to the effort to attract a large online audience rather than our traditional in-person audience. We have learned a great deal, had a very successful event, and will be doing the 2021 event virtually again because of continued COVID pandemic health concerns.


Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

While we greatly value in-person workshops, orientation, and summits to promote synergy and collaboration within our Project network, we are implementing new online ways to communicate and will continue these even after the pandemic recedes. We have also implemented better tools for remote working, and hybrid work arrangements that we expect will also remain in place going forward.


Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
12/1/20202019 98.42
8/1/20192018 92.08
8/1/20182017 88.24
12/22/20172016 86.49
9/1/20172015 91.53
7/1/20162015 89.81

This organization received multiple star ratings within this fiscal year, due to an update to its Accountability and Transparency data and/or the receipt of an amended Form 990.

6/1/20162013 92.79
Rating Version: 2.0
6/1/20152013 90.55
12/1/20132012 89.61
12/20/20122011 92.33
12/1/20112010 91.07
9/20/20112009 90.94
Rating Version: 1.0
3/1/20112009 95.51
5/1/20102008 93.72
12/1/20082007 93.54
12/1/20072006 93.59
12/15/20062005 78.20
12/1/20052004 72.16
7/1/20052003 74.02
12/1/20032002 91.19
10/15/20022001 91.83
4/15/20022000 93.61

Previous: Finance & Accountability  / Next: Leadership & Adaptability

...   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

Earth Island Institute 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 Earth Island Institute? Join the waitlist for an updated Impact & Results score.


Back to Overall

Additional Information

Unscored

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Largest Programs

Largest Programs



Earth Island Institute reported its three largest programs on its FY 2019 Form 990 as:


$8,865,278

Spent in most recent FY

87%

Percent of program expenses


Project Network


$432,649

Spent in most recent FY

4%

Percent of program expenses


Project Support


$335,553

Spent in most recent FY

3%

Percent of program expenses


Earth Island Journal


Previous: Impact & Results  / Next: Culture & Community

...   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 Earth Island Institute 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.


Back to Overall

Leadership & Adaptability Report

100

of 100 points

Mission

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


Founded in 1982 by legendary environmentalist David Brower, Earth Island Institute is a nonprofit conservation organization established to confront unprecedented threats to life on Earth. Earth Island provides support, mentorship, and training to a vibrant network of more than 75 conservation action projects in the US and around the world. Earth Island also operates the premier youth leadership support and recognition program, the Brower Youth Awards and New Leaders Initiative. Earth Island Advocates, our legal arm, works to protect irreplaceable resources, wild spaces and wildlife that are critical to a healthy planet. Earth Island also inspires people to get involved and take action, through the publication of our award-winning quarterly magazine, the Earth Island Journal.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Vision

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


Life on Earth faces such unprecedented threats. We seek to reverse the perilous course we are on through helping our projects, programs and the public to step up, connect, and take action. We seek a protected natural world and diverse communities of our planet -- both biological and human -- to create just and ensuring solutions.


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: Grow the size of our Conservation Action Projects network at Earth Island and help increase effectiveness and reach of each project through careful and strategic project support tools.

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


Goal Two: Build our relatively new core area focus on EI Advocates to provide Projects and the organization with a legal arm for programatic legal efforts for the protection of the environment.

Goal Type: New program(s) based on observed changes in needs among our constituencies/communities served.


Goal Three: Help both our Project network, and our core programs be more effective through investment in financial, legal, and communication outreach tools.

Goal Type: Invest in the capacity of our organization (financial, management, technical, etc.).


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Leadership Development

The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development


Describe an investment in leadership

Earth Island has a longstanding commitment to building youth environmental leadership. We run the preeminent Youth Environmental leadership award program in North America.

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?

We play a key role in developing growth and effectiveness of the Fiscal Sponsorship model, and our staff are involved in the Fiscal Sponsor Network. Both our network of Projects and our Core Programs are involved in community building in youth environmental leadership development, food security, wildlife and environmental protection

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.


How we have persevered through the COVID pandemic -- kept the pipeline open for new projects and have added key new projects -- kept project support going, got PPP assistance and kept the network well supported -- increased our reach into communities, with a set of existing and new projects that focus on community including Kids for the Bay, , Green Schoolyards, Food Shift, Alemany Farm, Nature in the City and more. Let's use a recent Islandwire letter for upload (as below)

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Additional Information

Unscored

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Organization Leadership

Organization Leadership


Dave Phillips

Executive Director

Josh Floum

President

Previous: Leadership & Adaptability

...   Culture & Community


This score provides an assessment of the organization's culture and connectedness to the community it serves. Learn more about how and why we rate Culture & Community.


Culture & Community Score

83

out of 100

Earth Island Institute has earned a passing score. This score has no effect on the organization's Star Rating. The organization provided data about its Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) practices (see report below).

The Culture & Community Beacon is comprised of the following metrics:

  • Constituent Feedback: Not Scored (0% of beacon score)

  • Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion: 83/100 (100% of beacon score)


Back to Overall

Culture & Community Report

83

of 100 points

This beta feature is currently viewable only on desktop or tablet screens. Check back later for updates.

Constituent Feedback

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

83/100 points

100% of beacon score


This organization's score of 83 is a passing score. The organization reported that it is implementing 4 diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practices. Charity Navigator believes nonprofit organizations implementing effective DEI policies and practices can enhance a nonprofit's decision-making, staff motivation, innovation, and effectiveness.


View this organization's DEI Strategies


Methodology


We are utilizing data collected by Candid to document and assess the DEI practices implemented by the organization. Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to fill out the Equity Strategies section of their Candid profiles to receive a rating.


Learn more about the methodology.

Constituent Feedback

Not Scored


This organization reported that it is not 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.


View this organization's Constituent Feedback Practices




Methodology


We've partnered with 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.


Learn more about the methodology.

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. Below you can find more information about the metrics we currently evaluate in this beacon and their relevance to nonprofit performance.


Constituent Feedback


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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