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International : Development and Relief Services (Grantmaking/Grants Payable)

charity: water

Water changes everything

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Impact Information is available from our partner, GlobalGiving

three stars

88.15

40 Worth Street, STE 330 New York, NY 10013
tel: (646) 688-2323   Web Site
EIN: 22-3936753

Board Leadership
Michael Wilkerson
Chairman

CEO
Scott Harrison
Founder, CEO

  Score
(out of 100)
Rating
Overall Score & Rating 88.15 three stars
  Financial 83.25 three stars
  Accountability & Transparency 100.00 four stars
This rating was published 06/01/2019 and includes data from FY2017, the most recent 990 received at that time.

charity: water is a nonprofit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. The organization inspires giving and empowers others to fundraise for sustainable water solutions. 100% of public donations are sent to local partners on the ground, who build and implement the projects. When the projects are completed, charity: water proves every one of them using GPS coordinates, photos and details of the community served.

charity: water is a nonprofit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. The organization inspires giving and empowers others to fundraise for sustainable water solutions. 100% of public donations are sent to local partners on the ground, who build and implement the projects. When the projects are completed, charity: water proves every one of them using GPS coordinates, photos and details of the community served.

Impact Information

GlobalGiving is a trusted Impact Information provider for Charity Navigator. GlobalGiving has vetted this charity. GlobalGiving also further provides further information about each charity's commitment to learning and improvement. GlobalGiving's statuses and badges, below, provide information about this charity's effectiveness.  Learn More about Impact Information.
GlobalGiving Status
Partner Status
This organization holds GlobalGiving Partner Status. GG Rewards is the system GlobalGiving uses to reward nonprofits that demonstrate listening to the people they serve, learning, and improving their impact. Organizations receive points which translate into their Status: 52% of organizations are Partner, 22% are Leader, and the top 26% of organizations are Superstar. GlobalGiving is a trusted Impact Information partner of Charity Navigator.
Additional Badges from GlobalGiving
Vetted
This organization has been vetted by GlobalGiving.
This impact information is current as of March 2019, when it was provided to us by GlobalGiving. At this time, Impact information published on this organization's page has no effect on its rating per our methodology. Further, the availability of GG Rewards information for charities on our site has no effect on Charity Navigator's evaluation of GlobalGiving.

Financial

three stars

83.25

Accountability & Transparency

four stars

100.00

This rating was published 06/01/2019 and includes data from FY2017, the most recent 990 received at that time.
Overall Rating Chart
  Program Expenses
(Percent of the charity's total expenses spent on the programs
and services it delivers)
78.9%
  Administrative Expenses 10.7%
  Fundraising Expenses 10.3%
  Fundraising Efficiency $0.10
  Working Capital Ratio (years) 0.82
  Program Expenses Growth 14.7%
  Liabilities to Assets 51.1%
All data for Financial Performance Metrics calculations was provided by charity: water on recent 990s filed with the IRS.
All data for Financial Performance Metrics calculations was provided by charity: water on recent 990s filed with the IRS.

Highly Rated

Charity Name & State Overall Score Overall Rating
charity: water (NY) 88.15 three stars
Christian Freedom International (VA) 85.50 three stars
NESsT (CA) 85.63 three stars
Give2Asia (CA) 85.57 three stars
Tostan (DC) 90.18 four stars

Compare These Charities (Highly Rated)

REVENUE  
Contributions  
   Contributions, Gifts & Grants $45,182,415
   Federated Campaigns $239,307
   Membership Dues $0
   Fundraising Events $4,405,308
   Related Organizations $0
   Government Grants $0
Total Contributions $49,827,030
   Program Service Revenue $0
Total Primary Revenue $49,827,030
   Other Revenue $557,265
TOTAL REVENUE $50,384,295
   
EXPENSES  
   Program Expenses $39,305,226
   Administrative Expenses $4,519,095
   Fundraising Expenses $4,861,057
TOTAL FUNCTIONAL EXPENSES $48,685,378
   
Payments to Affiliates $0
Excess (or Deficit) for the year $1,698,917
   
Net Assets $33,399,757

Program names and associated costs are listed for the top programs as reported on the charity's most recently filed Form 990. The top programs displayed will include the largest three programs, or those programs covering at least 60% of the charity's total expenses, whichever comes first.

Program Name Amount Spent % of Program Expenses
Water Projects in Ethiopia $13,695,776 34.8%
Water Projects in Mali $3,006,966 7.6%
Water Projects in Rwanda $2,966,294 7.5%

Ratings History

Form 990 FYE Date Published Overall Score Overall Rating
CN 2.1
2017-12 06/01/2019 88.15 three stars
2016-12 12/01/2018 91.16 four stars
2015-12 07/20/2018 92.29 four stars
2014-12 06/01/2016 92.54 four stars
 
CN 2.0
2014-12 03/01/2016 96.98 four stars
2013-12 07/01/2015 97.05 four stars
2013-12 06/01/2015 95.91 four stars
2012-12 12/01/2013 97.10 four stars
2011-12 02/01/2013 97.32 four stars
2010-12 10/01/2011 95.14 four stars
2010-12 09/20/2011 94.70 four stars

The data displayed on this tab is provided by the IRS in the form of Publication 78 and the Business Master File (BMF).

EIN 22-3936753
Name in IRS Master File CHARITY GLOBAL INC
NTEE Code P80
NTEE Classification Services to Promote the Independence of Specific Populations
NTEE Type Human Services - Multipurpose and Other
Classification Charitable Organization
Subsection 501(c)(3)  (View the list of codes)
Activities
Foundation Status Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public   170(b)(1)(A)(vi)
Deductibility Contributions are deductible
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).
Group Name [Not Applicable]
Ruling Date February, 2007
Filing Requirement 990 (all other) or 990EZ return
Fiscal Year End December
IRS Forms 990
(provided courtesy of Foundation Center)
(Log In or Register Now to View Forms 990!)
  • December, 2017
  • December, 2016
  • December, 2015
  • December, 2014
  • December, 2013
Compensation % of Expenses Paid to Title
$282,479 0.58% Scott Harrison CEO, Founder

Highly Rated

Charity Name & State Overall Score Overall Rating
charity: water (NY) 88.15 three stars
Health In Harmony (OR) 92.06 four stars
Global Fund for Children (DC) 86.51 three stars
American Himalayan Foundation (CA) 95.17 four stars
Outreach International (MO) 98.00 four stars

Compare These Charities (Highly Rated)

This charity has an official representative registered with Charity Navigator.

Official Charity Response

Please see charity: water's response here: https://medium.com/@charitywater/we-lost-a-charity-navigator-star-what-happened-bbcfcc79ec0

 

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We lost a Charity Navigator star. What happened?

 

Since charity: water's inception in 2006, we've received the highest ratings and reviews from every major nonprofit organization that assesses a charity’s financial health, accountability, and transparency (including Charity Navigator, Guidestar, Charity Watch, Better Business Bureau, and the AIP).

 

But it's always been a little complicated.

 

Our organization was built on a vision to reinvent charity. We set out not only to bring clean water to every person on the planet, but also to restore public trust by being radically transparent and finding new ways to prove impact.

 

On day one, we made a bold promise that 100% of public donations would always bring clean water to people in developing countries. To maintain that promise, we found a separate group (now, about 150 individuals and families from around the world) to fund our overhead costs.

 

Since then, we’ve treated the two sides of our business differently— with separate purposes, separate fundraising goals, and separate bank accounts for water project funding and operations funding.

 

And while our Charity Navigator profile has never reflected this unique model, it’s never been a setback for our official rating either.

 

(Our Charity Navigator rating history from 2010-2017)

 

In fact, even under the new and revised ratings methodology that Charity Navigator introduced in 2016 (called CN 2.1), the “rolled up” or simplified review of our accounts still yielded us their top 4-star rating.

 

However, as we continue to grow (and increase funding on the Water Project side faster than the Operations side), two of Charity Navigator’s financial capacity metrics now result in scoring penalties for charity: water.

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The First Metric: Working Capital Ratio (Charity Navigator’s Performance Metric 6)

 

Working Capital is meant to measure how long a charity could sustain its level of spending using net available assets. As you might imagine, it's one of the most important metrics we track.

 

Charity Navigator believes that financially healthy charities should have at least one year of working capital (i.e. a working capital ratio of 100% or more). We agree. Internally, we actually hold ourselves to an even higher standard, aiming for one to two years of working capital (or 100% to 200%) as you can see in our 2017 Consolidated Financial Statements.

 

Unfortunately, Charity Navigator's formula is unable to distinguish between how we fund Water Projects and Operations. So even our water project related assets and expenses (which we cannot use for Operations, as per our 100% Model) get aggregated into the calculation.

 

(Page 16 of our 2017 Consolidated Financial Statements)

 

So while our calculation of our Working Capital ratio for 2017 was 2.2 years, Charity Navigator’s formula sees it as .82 years. And instead of receiving 10 out of 10 for this metric, we received 7.5 out of 10.

 

Again, we fully support the intent behind this metric; but disagree with the way it’s being calculated. If you look only at the net available assets reserved for operations and operating expenses, you’ll accurately see how long we can sustain our operations spending using net available assets.

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The Second Metric: Liabilities to Assets (Charity Navigator’s Performance Metric 7)

 

Part of Charity Navigator’s purpose in rating the financial performance of charities is to help donors assess the financial capacity and sustainability of a charity. Liabilities to Assets is meant to measure risk and solvency based on what you’re holding and what you owe (similar to a debt ratio). We agree with that intention too!

 

But again, Charity Navigator’s formula aggregates liabilities and assets for both the Water Project funding and Operations sides of our business. So even the money that we’re responsibly holding as financial commitments to our local partners gets unnecessarily labeled as debt.

 

This is an important detail: When charity: water signs a grant to implement a year-long project with a local partner, we commit to make disbursements based on certain milestones. From an accounting perspective, these financial commitments to partners are considered money that we “owe” and get recorded as a liability, which—on paper—looks like debt. But in reality, it’s 100% backed by cash that we have in our bank account (as you can see in our 2017 Consolidated Financial Statements here). There is zero risk that we’d default on our commitments because we already have the cash.

 

As we see it, at the end of 2017, excluding Water Project related assets and liabilities, we had $1 million in Operations Liabilities with over $26 million in Operations assets to cover those liabilities. But because of the way Charity Navigator calculates this metric using our total liabilities and assets, our Liabilities to Assets ratio is 51% instead of 3.7% when only using Operations assets.

(Page 3 of our 2017 Consolidated Financial Statements)

 

Where we could be getting 10 out of 10 on this measure, we score 5 out of 10.

 

As we continue to grow, we’ll contract even more projects that give more people clean water. Which means our “liabilities” will also be growing. And since the Charity Navigator algorithm views liabilities as “debt,” they see our growing commitments to water projects as a bad thing.

 

The reality couldn't be more different.

---

We’re disappointed.

 

We agree with Charity Navigator that the financial health of an organization is important. We’ve been in extended conversations with them about our concerns for the past three years, but we’ve been unable to reach a positive resolution.

 

We also believe that it would be irresponsible to change the way we work for a rating.

 

Today, we’re operating with greater transparency and impact around the world than ever before. We’ll continue to share all of our financial records and audit reports online. We’ll continue to send 100% of public donations to transform lives and futures for people in need. And we’ll continue to prove every project you fund.

 

Questions? Comments? We’re easy to find: info@charitywater.org

 

Charity Contact Info

charity: water
40 Worth Street, STE 330
New York, NY 10013
tel: (646) 688-2323
fax: (646) 883-3456
EIN: 22-3936753

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Board Leadership

Michael Wilkerson
Chairman

CEO

Scott Harrison
Founder, CEO

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