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Arts, Culture, Humanities : Museums

CN Advisory: Moderate Concern

Independence Seaport Museum

Deepening the appreciation, understanding and experience of the Philadelphia region's waterways

three stars

87.27

211 South Columbus Boulevard Philadelphia, PA 19106
tel: (215) 413-8655   Web Site
EIN: 23-1584971

Board Leadership
Peter H. Havens
Chair

CEO
John Brady
President, CEO

CN CN CN LOW

CN CN CN HIGH

On October 5, 2018, The Philly Mag Daily reported on the charges of improper conduct allegedly taking place at Independence Seaport Museum, in an article titled, "Is Another Financial Scandal Brewing at the Seaport Museum?." For this reason, we have issued a Moderate Concern CN Advisory as the allegations have yet to be confirmed. For more information regarding this matter, please see The Philly Mag Daily article.

Charity Response

A Statement from Independance Seaport Museum: 

Independence Seaport Museum strongly denies the allegations in the complaint referenced in the Philly Mag Daily article, which was filed by a former employee who was terminated for cause. 
 
The allegations in the complaint are rife with inaccuracies.  For example, the allegation that the Seaport Museum’s endowment “comes from, among other sources, taxpayer money obtained from the state, as well as grants…,” is completely false.  Not a single penny of our endowments come from the state or either of the foundations mentioned in the article. 
 
Moreover, there has been no waste or misuse of donors’ contributions, or any funds, whatsoever.  The Seaport Museum’s management team works under the oversight of a sophisticated Board of Directors, whose Chair and Finance Committee are extremely knowledgeable about financial management.
 
Grants and gifts are used only for charitable purposes and for the purposes intended by funders.  The Museum takes great care when reporting on projects, providing ample justification for use of funds and proof of proper expenditures to the extent each funder requires, often beyond, providing verified financial records, narrative descriptions, and visual images. 
 
Thanks to significant investment from dedicated private philanthropic sources and the region’s most prominent funders, the Seaport Museum is in a strong financial position and able to serve a vastly larger audience than a decade ago.  It is with this support, and the strategic vision of the Museum’s leadership, that we are breathing new life into our mission to deepen the appreciation, understanding, and experience of the Philadelphia region’s waterways. 
 
The Seaport Museum finds it remarkable that CN would post an advisory based upon nothing more than unsworn, unsubstantiated allegations and would point donors to CN’s disclaimer that it makes no effort to verify the accuracy of the information it is presenting.
 
We cannot disclose more at this juncture due to the pending litigation.  Simply stated, there has been no wrongdoing and the Seaport Museum will vigorously defend itself against these baseless allegations.

This charity has received a Moderate Concern Advisory due to an open or pending investigation regarding allegations of possible illegal activity, improper conduct, organizational mismanagement, or other matters of concern. Please note that this investigation has not concluded and that the allegations being investigated have not been confirmed by the U.S. legal system. Charity Navigator aims to provide donors and users with as much information as possible in order to make an informed giving decision. This advisory will be updated once we become aware that the investigation is completed. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors of sources used for the reported information, and not those of Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator is not responsible for the nature or content of the information presented through such external sources and websites. For more information on how or when we decide to publish a CN Advisory, please review our methodology.

  Score
(out of 100)
Rating
Overall Score & Rating 87.27 three stars
  Financial 90.06 four stars
  Accountability & Transparency 85.00 three stars
This rating was published 11/01/2019 and includes data from FY2018, the most recent 990 received at that time.

Founded in 1960 as the Philadelphia Maritime Museum, Independence Seaport Museum is the region's primary repository of art, artifacts and archival materials documenting the diverse maritime history of the Greater Delaware Valley, and the history of the Port of Philadelphia and the other major urban ports of the Delaware River. Today, the Independence Seaport Museum is an anchor attraction on Penn's Landing, attracting visitors to experience both Philadelphia's heritage and current waterfront. The Museum educates area youth groups through interactive programs in its boat shop, presents changing exhibits in its galleries and hosts visiting ships and events year-round.

Founded in 1960 as the Philadelphia Maritime Museum, Independence Seaport Museum is the region's primary repository of art, artifacts and archival materials documenting the diverse maritime history of the Greater Delaware Valley, and the history of the Port of Philadelphia and the other major urban ports of the Delaware River. Today, the Independence Seaport Museum is an anchor attraction on Penn's Landing, attracting visitors to experience both Philadelphia's heritage and current waterfront. The Museum educates area youth groups through interactive programs in its boat shop, presents changing exhibits in its galleries and hosts visiting ships and events year-round.

Impact Information

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Financial

four stars

90.06

Accountability & Transparency

three stars

85.00

This rating was published 11/01/2019 and includes data from FY2018, 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)
66.7%
  Administrative Expenses 24.9%
  Fundraising Expenses 8.3%
  Fundraising Efficiency $0.05
  Working Capital Ratio (years) 5.47
  Program Expenses Growth 22.7%
  Liabilities to Assets 9.3%
All data for Financial Performance Metrics calculations was provided by Independence Seaport Museum on recent 990s filed with the IRS.
All data for Financial Performance Metrics calculations was provided by Independence Seaport Museum on recent 990s filed with the IRS.

Highly Rated

Charity Name & State Overall Score Overall Rating
Independence Seaport Museum (PA) 87.27 three stars
Northern Clay Center (MN) 89.54 three stars
Muhammad Ali Center (KY) 90.34 four stars
AACA Museum (PA) 91.07 four stars
Racine Art Museum (WI) 85.37 three stars

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REVENUE  
Contributions  
   Contributions, Gifts & Grants $4,254,268
   Federated Campaigns $0
   Membership Dues $54,515
   Fundraising Events $2,175
   Related Organizations $0
   Government Grants $153,625
Total Contributions $4,464,583
   Program Service Revenue $969,860
Total Primary Revenue $5,434,443
   Other Revenue $1,208,337
TOTAL REVENUE $6,642,780
   
EXPENSES  
   Program Expenses $4,905,839
   Administrative Expenses $716,574
   Fundraising Expenses $376,950
TOTAL FUNCTIONAL EXPENSES $5,999,363
   
Payments to Affiliates $0
Excess (or Deficit) for the year $643,417
   
Net Assets $27,907,185

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.

Due to an error on this organization's Form 990, we are unable to display program information.

Ratings History

Form 990 FYE Date Published Overall Score Overall Rating
CN 2.1
2018-06 11/01/2019 87.27 three stars
-- 10/31/2018 --Moderate Concern Advisory

On October 5, 2018, The Philly Mag Daily reported on the charges of improper conduct allegedly taking place at Independence Seaport Museum, in an article titled, "Is Another Financial Scandal Brewing at the Seaport Museum?." For this reason, we have issued a Moderate Concern CN Advisory as the allegations have yet to be confirmed. For more information regarding this matter, please see The Philly Mag Daily article.

Charity Response

A Statement from Independance Seaport Museum: 

Independence Seaport Museum strongly denies the allegations in the complaint referenced in the Philly Mag Daily article, which was filed by a former employee who was terminated for cause. 
 
The allegations in the complaint are rife with inaccuracies.  For example, the allegation that the Seaport Museum’s endowment “comes from, among other sources, taxpayer money obtained from the state, as well as grants…,” is completely false.  Not a single penny of our endowments come from the state or either of the foundations mentioned in the article. 
 
Moreover, there has been no waste or misuse of donors’ contributions, or any funds, whatsoever.  The Seaport Museum’s management team works under the oversight of a sophisticated Board of Directors, whose Chair and Finance Committee are extremely knowledgeable about financial management.
 
Grants and gifts are used only for charitable purposes and for the purposes intended by funders.  The Museum takes great care when reporting on projects, providing ample justification for use of funds and proof of proper expenditures to the extent each funder requires, often beyond, providing verified financial records, narrative descriptions, and visual images. 
 
Thanks to significant investment from dedicated private philanthropic sources and the region’s most prominent funders, the Seaport Museum is in a strong financial position and able to serve a vastly larger audience than a decade ago.  It is with this support, and the strategic vision of the Museum’s leadership, that we are breathing new life into our mission to deepen the appreciation, understanding, and experience of the Philadelphia region’s waterways. 
 
The Seaport Museum finds it remarkable that CN would post an advisory based upon nothing more than unsworn, unsubstantiated allegations and would point donors to CN’s disclaimer that it makes no effort to verify the accuracy of the information it is presenting.
 
We cannot disclose more at this juncture due to the pending litigation.  Simply stated, there has been no wrongdoing and the Seaport Museum will vigorously defend itself against these baseless allegations.
2016-12 06/01/2018 81.35 three stars
2015-12 08/01/2017 77.38 two 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 23-1584971
Name in IRS Master File INDEPENDENCE SEAPORT MUSEUM
NTEE Code A50
NTEE Classification Museum, Museum Activities
NTEE Type Arts, Culture and Humanities
Classification Charitable Organization
Subsection 501(c)(3)  (View the list of codes)
Activities (59) Other school related activities
(60) Museum, zoo, planetarium, etc.
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 April, 1961
Filing Requirement 990 (all other) or 990EZ return
Fiscal Year End June
IRS Forms 990
(provided courtesy of Foundation Center)
(Log In or Register Now to View Forms 990!)
  • June, 2017
  • December, 2016
  • December, 2015
  • December, 2014
  • December, 2013
Compensation % of Expenses Paid to Title
$150,000 2.50% John Brady President & CEO

Highly Rated

Charity Name & State Overall Score Overall Rating
Independence Seaport Museum (PA) 87.27 three stars
Museum of Flight (WA) 92.15 four stars
Naval Aviation Museum Foundation (FL) 96.46 four stars
AACA Museum (PA) 91.07 four stars
Muhammad Ali Center (KY) 90.34 four stars

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This charity has an official representative registered with Charity Navigator.

Charity Contact Info

Independence Seaport Museum
211 South Columbus Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19106
tel: (215) 413-8655
EIN: 23-1584971

Visit Web Site

Board Leadership

Peter H. Havens
Chair

CEO

John Brady
President, CEO

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