Disable all preview features

Research and Public Policy : Non-Medical Science & Technology Research

Lowell Observatory

Pursuing the study of astronomy

three stars

85.30

1400 West Mars Hill Road Flagstaff, AZ 86001
tel: (928) 774-3358   Web Site
EIN: 86-0098918

Board Leadership
W. Lowell Putnam
President

CEO
Jeffrey Hall
Director

  Score
(out of 100)
Rating
Overall Score & Rating 85.30 three stars
  Financial 85.61 three stars
  Accountability & Transparency 85.00 three stars
This rating was published 05/01/2017 and includes data from FY2015, the most recent 990 received at that time.

Learn more about how we calculate the overall score and rating.

Financial

three stars

85.61

Accountability & Transparency

three stars

85.00

This rating was published 05/01/2017 and includes data from FY2015, 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)
78.4%
  Administrative Expenses 15.2%
  Fundraising Expenses 6.2%
  Fundraising Efficiency $0.13
  Working Capital Ratio (years) 1.64
  Program Expenses Growth 14.8%
  Liabilities to Assets 61.1%
All data for Financial Performance Metrics calculations was provided by Lowell Observatory on recent 990s filed with the IRS.
All data for Financial Performance Metrics calculations was provided by Lowell Observatory on recent 990s filed with the IRS.

Highly Rated

Charity Name & State Overall Score Overall Rating
Lowell Observatory (AZ) 85.30 three stars
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (NY) 93.70 four stars
XPRIZE Foundation (CA) 86.89 three stars
American Association for the Advancement of Science (DC) 89.17 three stars
Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences (ME) 95.80 four stars

Compare These Charities (Highly Rated)

The mission of Lowell Observatory is to pursue the study of astronomy, especially the study of our solar system and its evolution; to conduct pure research in astronomical phenomena; and to maintain quality public education and outreach programs to bring the results of astronomical research to the public. Founded in 1894, the Observatory has been the site of many important findings including the discovery of the large recessional velocities (redshift) of galaxies by Vesto Slipper in 1912-1914, and the discovery of Pluto by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930. Today, Lowell's 20 astronomers use ground-based telescopes around the world, telescopes in space, and NASA planetary spacecraft to conduct research in diverse areas of astronomy and planetary science. The Observatory welcomes more than 75,000 visitors each year for tours, telescope viewing, and special programs.

REVENUE  
Contributions  
   Contributions, Gifts & Grants $786,949
   Federated Campaigns $0
   Membership Dues $437,838
   Fundraising Events $44,639
   Related Organizations $0
   Government Grants $2,428,084
Total Contributions $3,697,510
   Program Service Revenue $3,106,288
Total Primary Revenue $6,803,798
   Other Revenue $775,258
TOTAL REVENUE $7,579,056
   
EXPENSES  
   Program Expenses $10,739,899
   Administrative Expenses $1,715,520
   Fundraising Expenses $702,157
TOTAL FUNCTIONAL EXPENSES $13,157,576
   
Payments to Affiliates $0
Excess (or Deficit) for the year $-5,578,520
   
Net Assets $18,862,839

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
Research $9,798,010 91.2%
Outreach $941,889 8.8%

Ratings History

Form 990 FYE Date Published Overall Score Overall Rating
CN 2.1
2015-12 05/01/2017 85.30 three stars
2014-12 07/01/2016 84.88 three stars
2014-12 06/01/2016 82.78 three stars
 
CN 2.0
2014-12 12/01/2015 83.38 three stars
2013-12 07/01/2015 85.56 three stars
2012-12 05/01/2014 83.80 three stars
2011-12 08/01/2013 87.27 three stars
2011-12 04/01/2013 79.65 two stars
2011-12 03/01/2013 74.95 two stars
2010-12 03/01/2012 71.24 two stars
2009-12 09/20/2011 72.58 two stars
 
CN 1.0
2009-12 02/01/2011 91.18 four stars
2008-12 04/01/2010 88.03 three stars
2007-12 07/01/2009 86.67 three stars
2006-12 06/01/2008 84.54 three stars
2005-12 12/15/2007 79.64 two stars
2004-12 02/01/2006 87.45 three stars
2003-12 07/01/2005 82.51 three 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 86-0098918
Name in IRS Master File LOWELL OBSERVATORY
NTEE Code U31
NTEE Classification Astronomy
NTEE Type Science and Technology Research Institutes, Services
Classification Scientific Organization
Subsection 501(c)(3)  (View the list of codes)
Activities (161) Scientific research (diseases)
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 May, 1947
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, 2015
  • December, 2014
  • December, 2013
  • December, 2012
  • December, 2011

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

We invite you to share your opinions, thoughts, experiences, and stories about this charity here to help inform the decisions of other donors.  
Need more help getting started? Check out our FAQs.
 
This tool is not for questions about Charity Navigator, such as how we derived this charity’s rating. We will happily answer those questions if you contact us directly. Likewise, if you have questions for this charity, then we encourage you to contact the charity directly (we include the charity’s contact information in the upper left-hand corner of this page) since few charities regularly monitor this commenting tool.

Compensation % of Expenses Paid to Title
$147,996 1.12% Jeffrey C. Hall Chief Executive Officer

The mission of Lowell Observatory is to pursue the study of astronomy, especially the study of our solar system and its evolution; to conduct pure research in astronomical phenomena; and to maintain quality public education and outreach programs to bring the results of astronomical research to the public. Founded in 1894, the Observatory has been the site of many important findings including the discovery of the large recessional velocities (redshift) of galaxies by Vesto Slipper in 1912-1914, and the discovery of Pluto by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930. Today, Lowell's 20 astronomers use ground-based telescopes around the world, telescopes in space, and NASA planetary spacecraft to conduct research in diverse areas of astronomy and planetary science. The Observatory welcomes more than 75,000 visitors each year for tours, telescope viewing, and special programs.

Highly Rated

Charity Name & State Overall Score Overall Rating
Lowell Observatory (AZ) 85.30 three stars
Santa Fe Institute (NM) 91.71 four stars
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (DC) 86.83 three stars
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (NY) 93.70 four stars
Carnegie Institution for Science (DC) 95.34 four stars

Compare These Charities (Highly Rated)

Are you the representative for this organization? If so, click here to access the application form. As an official representative you will have the ability to update some of the information on this page.

Charity Contact Info

Lowell Observatory
1400 West Mars Hill Road
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
tel: (928) 774-3358
EIN: 86-0098918

Visit Web Site

Board Leadership

W. Lowell Putnam
President

CEO

Jeffrey Hall
Director

[ X ]

Did You Know We Are a Charity, Too?

If even a third of the 7 million people who visited our site last year had donated a dollar to Charity Navigator, we would comfortably meet our annual budget and be able to do what so many of you ask us to do every day--rate more charities!

With the support of users like you, we are currently investing in staff and technology. This will allow us to improve the search and organizational features of our site, making it easier to find the information that matters most to you. We will also continue to enhance our evaluation system and metrics.

So, whether you're a first time visitor or a long time user, we ask for your help in achieving our goal. Your gift of any size is most deeply appreciated! Thank You!

With the support of users like you, we are making it easier to find the info that matters most. Thank you!

Join Our Mailing List

Join over 400,000 other informed givers and get updates on charity ratings, new features, hot topics, and tips for donating.

Help Center