Mission: On August 2, 2020 the San Diego Museum of Man announced its new name: Museum of Us. The museum is located on the ancestral homelands of the Kumeyaay Nation in San Diego's Balboa Park, and is guided by its mission to inspire human connections by exploring the human experience. Over the last decade, MoU's leadership has introduced and implemented a new strategy that uses contemporary social issues and popular culture as a springboard for experience-based explorations of the past, present, and future of what it means to be human.

Fundamental to this shift in strategy is an approach focused on decolonizing our work that places the perspectives and needs of indigenous communities and other underrepresented groups as an institutional priority. The integration of a decolonized approach into the fabric of the organizational structure and operations is grounding our purpose to create a more inclusive, accessible, and socially just museum.

Museum of Us is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 1958, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information

  http://www.museumofus.org

 1350 El Prado
Balboa Park
San Diego CA 92101 

  619-239-2001


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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 90.78, earning it a 4-Star rating. Donors can "Give with Confidence" to this charity. 

This score is calculated from two sub-scores:

This score represents Form 990 data from 2019, the latest year published by the IRS.

View this organization’s historical ratings.


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Star Rated Report

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Program Expense

Program Expense Ratio

77.7%


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

14.5%


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

7.7%


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

4.4%


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

$0.26


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

1.48 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

4.71%


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


Source: IRS Form 990

Governance


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


Sources Include: IRS Form 990

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Policies


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


Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

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

Donors have expressed extreme concern about the use of their personal information by charities and the desire to have this information kept confidential. The exchanging and sale of lists for telemarketing and the mass distribution of "junk mail," among other things, can be minimized if the charity assures the privacy of its donors. Privacy policies are assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Yes: This charity has a written donor privacy policy published on its website, which states unambiguously that (1) it will not share or sell a donor's personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations or (2) it will only share or sell personal information once the donor has given the charity specific permission to do so.

  • Opt-out: The charity has a written privacy policy published on its website which enables donors to tell the charity to remove their names and contact information from lists the charity shares or sells. How a donor can have themselves removed from a list differs from one charity to the next, but any and all opt-out policies require donors to take specific action to protect their privacy.
  • No: This charity either does not have a written donor privacy policy in place to protect their contributors' personal information, or the existing policy does not meet our criteria.

The privacy policy must be specific to donor information. A general website policy which references "visitor" or "user" personal information will not suffice. A policy that refers to donor information collected on the website is also not sufficient as the policy must be comprehensive and applicable to both online and offline donors. The existence of a privacy policy of any type does not prohibit the charity itself from contacting the donor for informational, educational, or solicitation purposes.

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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



Micah D. Parzen, CEO

$205,866 (5.58% 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:

Museum, zoo, planetarium, etc. (BMF activity code: 060)


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.


Museum of Us reported being impacted by COVID-19 in the following ways:
  • Program Delivery

  • Fundraising Capacity

  • Revenue

  • Staffing

  • Administrative Capacity

  • Balance Sheet


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

The financial impact of the pandemic meant we had to reduce our staff significantly. Parting with valued team members was heartbreaking and we wanted to honor them by emerging from the pandemic as a better version of ourselves. We’re doing this by taking a hard look at our compensation practices. As a result, we’ve shifted from a part-time to a full-time model for all of our forward-facing staff, with an industry-leading wage of $20/hour. All of our team members now receive our full menu of generous benefits, including health care and a retirement match of up to 6%. A host of other operational/budgetary actions were made as well, including adopting operating hours that better facilitated a team of full-time Visitor Experience Associates, factoring-in annual cost of living pay increases, and increased transparency regarding COVID related decision making. These strategies have been successful, with the Museum seeing a budget surplus in FY21.


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

Our first priority was to continue our community driven projects, as much as possible, during the pandemic. We established virtual community consultation protocols so that work moved forward on critical Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or NAGPRA, efforts – consultations to facilitate the repatriation of Ancestors and cultural materials to the Kumeyaay Nation and other Indigenous communities . We embraced the digital world by launching a series of virtual exhibits on the freely accessible, world-wide Google Arts and Culture platform. The first is entitled Colonial Legacy: The Museum’s Façade, and it examines the façade of our iconic California Building. The exterior decorative scheme includes intricate busts and statues of nine Colonizers who were key to establishing European dominance of California and the Pacific Northwest. The legacies of those individuals are examined from the perspectives of Native Americans.


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

We launched “Membership On Us” a radical new approach to membership where we provide unlimited general admission for one year to anyone who purchases a daily admission ticket. We’ve already seen a huge upsurge in new members. Not only does this program redefine public access, it will help build a community of support. For example, in an average year, we typically welcome approximately 200,000 visitors. Even if just 50% of those guests opt to convert their general admission ticket to this free membership, we will expand to 100,000 members in the first year of the program alone. As we retain existing members and enlist tens of thousands of new ones every year, we’ll build a greater audience for our programs and potential for support in all of its forms.


Innovations the organization intends to continue permanently after the pandemic:

We adapted our workplace to embrace flexible "working from home" policies as much as possible, and will plan to continue that practice.


Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
12/1/20212020 84.33
12/23/20202019 90.78
11/1/20192018 91.94
11/1/20182017 93.36
2/1/20182016 94.55
3/1/20172015 94.31
6/1/20162014 90.33
Rating Version: 2.0
11/1/20152014 92.02
12/22/20142013 88.79
10/1/20132012 74.86
9/1/20122011 77.47
9/20/20112010 75.54
Rating Version: 1.0
8/1/20102009 89.01
10/1/20092008 83.07
8/1/20082007 78.24
8/1/20072006 65.81

...   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

Museum of Us 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.


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Additional Information

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Largest Programs

Largest Programs



Museum of Us reported its two largest programs on its FY 2020 Form 990 as:


$2,424,677

Spent in most recent FY

84%

Percent of program expenses


CULTURAL RESOURCES AND EXHIBITIONSTHE DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL RESOURCES IS TASKED WITH CARING FOR MORE THAN 150,000 DOCUMENTED ETHNOGRAPHIC MATERIALS, MORE THAN 500,000 ARCHAEOLOGICAL CULTURAL RESOURCE ... (More)


$437,158

Spent in most recent FY

15%

Percent of program expenses


EDUCATION, PUBLIC PROGRAMS AND PROGRAM EVENTSSIGNATURE OFFERINGS INCLUDE STUDENT AND ADULT TOURS AND 90 MINUTE WORKSHOPS COMPLEMENTING THE RACE: ARE WE SO DIFFERENT? EXHIBIT. WE CONTINUE TO OFFER TOUR ... (More)


...   Leadership & Adaptability


This score provides an assessment of the organization's leadership capacity, strategic thinking and planning, and ability to innovate or respond to changes in constituent demand/need or other relevant social and economic conditions to achieve the organization's mission.


Leadership & Adaptability Score

100

out of 100

The score earned by Museum of Us is a passing score. This score has no effect on the organization's Star Rating.

Encompass Rating V4 provides an evaluation of the organization's Leadership & Adaptability through the nonprofit organization submitting a survey response directly to Charity Navigator.


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Leadership & Adaptability Report

100

of 100 points

Mission

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


INSPIRING HUMAN CONNECTIONS BY EXPLORING THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE.


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Vision

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


The institutional vision for the Museum of Us is to be San Diego’s dynamic place to go to learn from each other, reflect on our place in the world, and build a better community. We are a place for the diverse stories that define us, especially those stories that have long been overlooked or silenced by dominant cultural narratives.


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: The Museum of Us is committed to equity, a commitment illustrated by our core programs complementing our "Race: Are We So Different?" exhibit.

Goal Type: Focus on core programs to achieve mission and scale back on programs not seen as core.


Goal Two: We're expanding meaningful, more equitable access by our "Membership On Us" program which provides year-long access with the purchase of a daily admission ticket.

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


Goal Three: We're working with the Kumeyaay Nation on a community driven project, partly funded by IMLS, to produce a new Kumeyaay exhibit which reflects their voice and priorities.

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


Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Leadership Development

The nonprofit provides evidence of investment in leadership development


Describe an investment in leadership

Development for staff and board is a priority at the Museum of Us. In August and September of 2021, we took time to learn together virtually with the goal of building cultural competency and modifying our ways of working to build a genuine partnership with the Kumeyaay community. Our partner in this work has been Racing Magpie, a nonprofit led by Mary Bordeaux, Creative Director & Co-Owner (Sicangu/Oglala Lakota), and Peter Strong, Director and Co-Owner.

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

What are this organization’s external mobilizaton efforts?

Our external mobilization efforts are best highlighted by the following: The world-wide museum community is eager to hear about the decolonizing work at the Museum of Us – to learn how theory can become practice. CEO Micah Parzen and Senior Director of Decolonizing Initiatives Brandie Macdonald have taken the lead in accepting public speaking engagements and in submitting scholarly and less formal written accounts of their experiences. As the work has progressed, team members across the institution – from marketing to the board have been asked to recount the impact of decolonizing in their spheres of work. We’re frequently asked by museum professionals, “how did you make that happen?” We’re happy to share our perspectives. Since our new name was announced in August 2020, our external voice, via our website and social media, has highlighted our decolonizing, equity, and anti-racist commitments.

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.


Emerging from the pandemic as a better version of ourselves became a guiding principle during the last year. That principle is especially illustrated by our change of name in August 2020. The new name represents a public commitment to equity, access, and our decolonizing/anti-racism work – a journey that began a decade ago. For us this change means holding ourselves accountable to our colonial past and present, so that we can transform into a more equitable organization. We know we must do better for our community and future generations. Our organizational practices, policies, and culture are changing to reflect the requests and needs of our internal and external communities. These shifts result from the guidance of our partners: elders, artists, community members, ambassadors, and scholars within Black, Indigenous, and communities of color. Our attached "Accountability Report" for

Source: Nonprofit submitted responses

Additional Information

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Organization Leadership

Organization Leadership


Micah D. Parzen

Executive Director

Ellen Waddell

Chair

...   Culture & Community


This score provides an assessment of the organization's engagement with the constituents it serves, a practice we term Constituent Feedback. When organizations listen to constituents, they are able to better deliver on programs and meet the needs of stakeholders. A future version of this Beacon will also assess an organization's people operations and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) metrics.


Culture & Community Score

Not Currently Scored

Museum of Us is currently not eligible for a Culture & Community score because we have not received its Constituent Feedback data. Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile. This data will provide the basis for the initial evaluation of Culture & Community.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that we have not yet evaluated the organization.


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Culture & Community Report

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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 Culture & Community.


Charity Navigator believes nonprofit organizations that engage in inclusive practices, such as collecting feedback from the people and communities they serve, may be more effective. We award every nonprofit that completes the Candid survey full credit for this Beacon, in recognition of their willingness to publicly share this information with the nonprofit and philanthropic communities. Although the data is not evaluated for quality at this time, future iterations of this Beacon will include third party or other data that will serve to validate the information provided by the nonprofit.

Analysis and Research


Like the overall Encompass Rating System, the Culture & Community Beacon is designed to evolve as metrics are developed and ready for integration. Our partnership with Feedback Labs and Guidestar by Candid, and other partners including Fund for Shared Insight, GlobalGiving, and Keystone Accountability, enables us to launch the first version of this beacon with Constituent Feedback information collected on Candid's site.


Feedback practices have been shown to support better Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion outcomes, an essential area of assessment that we intend to further expand and develop in the future. Feedback Labs has documented several studies which indicate that beyond achieving organizational goals, nonprofits that are attentive and responsive to concerns and ideas raised by beneficiaries establish stronger relationships with the people they serve, promote greater equity, and empower constituents in ways that can help to ensure better long-term outcomes. You can find resources to help nonprofits improve their feedback practices here.

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