Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification

Waterkeeper Alliance

We hold polluters accountable.

New York, NY   |  http://www.waterkeeper.org/

Mission

Waterkeeper Alliance strengthens and grows a global network of grassroots leaders protecting everyone's right to clean water.

Ruling year info

2000

Executive Director

Marc Yaggi

Main address

180 Maiden Lane Suite 603

New York, NY 10038 USA

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EIN

13-4071318

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (C01)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Every day around the world, polluters are poisoning our waterways, and people everywhere are suffering the consequences. When a coal company discharges millions of gallons of toxic coal ash into a river, families who depend on that waterway as a drinking-water source are the innocent victims. When a developer demolishes a forest of mangroves, it destroys fisheries and devastates the local economy. When hog farms dump untreated waste into a waterway, people and marine life get sick. These are just a few examples of the battles that Waterkeeper Alliance fights every day around the world on behalf of the common good and to protect everyone's right to clean water.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Clean Water Defense

Our Clean Water Defense campaign is designed to defend and support a robust set of laws, standards and permits, ensure that these legal protections are enforced, and to guard against major threats to providing clean and safe water for everyone.

Governments around the world have enacted laws to protect water quality and the communities that depend on clean water. In the United States, there are local, state and national laws designed control pollution sources and restore our streams, rivers, lakes, and estuaries to swimmable, fishable and drinkable conditions.

Waterkeeper Alliance focuses on three overarching problems facing communities:

(1) protecting and restoring the ecosystem;
(2) improving public access to waterways; and
(3) defending and promoting environmental legal protections

Waterkeeper Alliance believes that strong alliances with key partners and strategic uses of broad-based coalitions greatly expand our capacity to achieve our goals. Waterkeepers combine a unique set of strengths that make such alliances attractive to other groups: a professional reputation, a grassroots base of public support, a powerhouse of attorneys, and partnerships with key organizations and experts in law, engineering, biology, hydrology, policy, and economics.

Watershed Protection: Waterkeepers serve as tireless advocates for the health of their watersheds and communities. On behalf of a grassroots constituency, we employ a variety of tools and strategies to identify problems, respond to citizen complaints, devise appropriate solutions and enforce environmental laws. Waterkeepers are the public’s investigator, scientist, lawyer, lobbyist, and public relations agent for that waterbody, patrolling more than 2 million square miles of rivers, streams and coastlines in the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa.

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified

The Pure Farms, Pure Waters Campaign addresses the failure to regulate pollution from industrialized swine, poultry and dairy facilities that is devastating rivers, lakes and estuaries, while educating the public and decision makers about the impacts of and alternatives to industrialized livestock operations, supporting communities and local farmers, and advocating for sustainable food systems.

The meat production industry, led by multinational corporations, has nearly destroyed the independent family farm. By contracting with formerly independent farmers, the controlling corporations have attempted to shift liability for the pollution caused by their unsustainable, industrial scale production methods to these farmers. Animals are now raised in enormous, confined facilities — referred to as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) — and can confine tens of thousands of animals indoors throughout their short life cycle.

The increase of industrial meat production facilities across the country, especially in high-production states like Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, North Carolina and Washington, has led to a simultaneous decrease in our quality of life, threatening public health, the environment, and the economy. These operations can produce as much waste as a small city, but without the most basic waste treatment system to process it. As a result, the facilities frequently dispose of untreated animal sewage on adjacent lands far in excess of the amounts needed for crop production and allow that waste to flow into local waterways, contaminating water resources and damaging the health of downstream communities. The most recent EPA report shows that only 36% of the largest industrialized livestock facilities have permits as required by the CWA to control this pollution and many of the states with the highest density of facilities have the lowest level of CWA compliance.

The Pure Farms, Pure Waters campaign combines litigation, legal policy, regulatory solutions, and education and outreach to impacted communities. We are taking action against the most egregious violations, demanding state and federal authorities strengthen and enforce existing prohibitions on the discharge of animal waste into our waterways, seeking to hold corporations that dictate facility operations accountable for waste management practices, and promoting sound policies that protect our waterways and support a new generation of independent farmers.

Population(s) Served
Minorities

Energy production and use profoundly affects virtually every water body in the world. Whether it’s dirty coal, oil, or fracked gas, our dependence on fossil fuels is driving changes to the earth’s climate that are already affecting our water and our communities. The challenges to our waterways are growing. Massive coal mines bury pristine headwater streams, pollute rivers with acid drainage and displace entire populations as the mines expand. Coal ash waste contains an alphabet soup of heavy metals like arsenic, thallium and vanadium, making it one of the biggest sources of toxic water pollution in the world. Oil extraction in increasingly remote corners of the globe chokes delicate ecosystems. Transportation of highly explosive crude oil along thousands of miles of poorly-maintained and over-stressed rail lines risks human lives. The recent natural gas fracking bonanza threatens drinking water supplies.

The Clean and Safe Energy campaign focuses on protecting waterways and communities by stopping the polluting effects of fossil fuel extraction, consumption, transport, and disposal. People and waterways all over the world are threatened by newly emerging proposals to significantly increase fossil fuel development. In order to protect our planet and all living things that depend on clean water for life, 80% of known carbon reserves must stay in the ground, especially:

(1) Coal;
(2) Extreme Oil; and
(3) Natural gas, especially fracked gas and exported gas (LNG).

While Waterkeeper Alliance fights to keep coal, oil and natural gas in the ground we also support a global economic transition to a no-carbon future that utilizes clean and safe energy

Population(s) Served
General/Unspecified

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of new advocates recruited

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

General/Unspecified

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

New Waterkeeper organizations and affiliates added per year.

Number of unique website visitors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

General/Unspecified

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Total dollar amount of grants awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

General/Unspecified

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Funds passed through to Waterkeeper organizations to engage in campaigns and other mission-related activities.

Facebook engagement

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Facebook growth

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of followers at end of each fiscal year.

Twitter engagement

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Twitter growth

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of followers at end of each fiscal year.

Instagram engagement

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Instagram growth

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of followers at end of each fiscal year.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

The Waterkeeper movement was started by a band of blue-collar fishermen on New York's Hudson River in 1966. Their tough, grassroots brand of environmental activism sparked the river's miraculous recovery and inspired others to launch local Waterkeeper groups around the world.<br/><br/>Today, Waterkeeper Alliance unites more than 300 Waterkeeper Organizations and Affiliates that are on the frontlines of the global water crisis, patrolling and protecting more than 2.5 million square miles of rivers, lakes and coastal waterways on 6 continents.<br/><br/>Waterkeeper Organizations and Affiliates defend the fundamental human right to drinkable, fishable and swimmable waters from the Great Lakes to the Himalayas, and combine firsthand knowledge of their waterways with an unwavering commitment to the rights of their communities. <br/><br/>Whether they're on the water tracking down polluters, in courtrooms enforcing environmental laws, advocating in town meetings or teaching in classrooms, the Waterkeeper movement speaks for the waters it defends with the backing of local communities. Waterkeeper Alliance ensures that the world's Waterkeeper Organizations and Affiliates are as connected to each other as they are to their local waters, organizing the fight for clean water into a coordinated global movement.

Every three years, we bring together stakeholders to develop a three-year strategic plan to help us work toward our long-term mission and vision. The goals from our current strategic plan, which are each supported by clear metrics, are as follows (by department):<br/><br/>Support<br/>Create and implement best in class support services regionally for Waterkeepers (WKOs)/Affiliates and Regional Entities.<br/>Connect and amplify the movement using communications to elevate issues to national/international stage and foster partnerships.<br/>Develop and expand Waterkeeper University.<br/>Grow the Movement strategically, utilizing global hotspot analysis, recruiting and activating new WKOs and Affiliates, and increase diversity in the movement.<br/><br/>Governance & Operations<br/>Design and implement diversity initiative across all levels of Waterkeeper Alliance (WKA) and the Waterkeeper Movement.<br/>Improve office infrastructure to provide optimal workplace effectiveness and efficiency.<br/>Provide human resources and business best practices and services for WKOs.<br/>Improve third party rankings (GuideStar, Charity Navigator, etc.).<br/><br/>Issues & Advocacy<br/>Clean and Safe Energy: Combat water pollution and health hazards around the world caused by energy production through investigation, legal action, advocacy, training, disaster response and promotion of sustainable energy. <br/>Pure Farms, Pure Water: Combat water pollution and health hazards around the world caused by food production through investigation, legal action, advocacy, training, disaster response and promotion of sustainable alternatives.<br/>Clean Water Defense: Aggressively fight attempts at all levels to weaken environmental laws and regulations that protect the world's water resources, promote stronger legal safeguards, and increase public funding for these efforts.<br/>Climate Change Initiative: Empower WKOs to prepare for the challenges of a shifting climate, while positioning Waterkeeper Alliance as a leading voice on the climate-water nexus.<br/><br/>Development<br/>Increase brand recognition.<br/>Establish endowment/trust and increase percent of unrestricted funds.<br/>Increase funding for regional collaboration.<br/>Increase development team capacity.<br/><br/>Communications<br/>Messaging: Develop and implement a strategy to ensure compelling storytelling across all media platforms, and consistent messaging to more deeply engage our audiences and strengthen our brand.<br/>Branding: Strengthen brand recognition to establish Waterkeeper Alliance as the most effective organization for protecting local waterways around the world.<br/>Infrastructure: Increase investment in tools and technologies to expand our reach and strengthen our connection to our audiences.<br/>Process: Strengthen and integrate Waterkeeper Alliance and WKO communications networks to build synergy and amplify our message.

We have a variety of internal and external resources that enable us to meet our organizational goals. Internally, we have a staff of nearly 30 people to support, promote and advocate our Waterkeepers. The Waterkeepers themselves are an incredibly important resource, as they are the local grassroots advocates fighting for clean water in their communities. Additionally, we have a Board of Directors, composed of members of our Trustee Council and Waterkeeper Council, and a Leadership Circle of supporters. <br/><br/>Externally, we have various revenue sources, such as foundations, major donors, and corporate sponsorships. We also have leveraged many strategic partnerships with likeminded organizations to further our work around the globe.

To measure our progress, we implement an annual work plan, which we review regularly, including a monthly organization-wide review, to assess compliance. In the work plan, there are “key steps" identified that inform whether we are on a path to meet our metrics; the status further is reflected with green, yellow, or red indicators of progress. Last year we had 97% compliance on our work plan. <br/><br/>Additionally, we use department impact measures and overall organization impact measures to determine our progress against historical averages for meeting goals. We survey our member Waterkeeper organizations annually to better understand how we can serve them better. Finally, our Board of Directors passed an effectiveness assessment policy to help ensure the organized has defined, measurable goals and objectives in place to evaluate the success and impact of our programs in fulfilling these goals and objectives.

We measure our success through the presence of strong Waterkeeper organizations; by the direct improvements achieved through Waterkeeper Alliance and Waterkeeper organization joint campaigns; and through the individual and collective successes of Waterkeeper organizations. The actions we pursue are essential not only to the localities where the Waterkeepers work, but also to raising overall consciousness for clean water on a global basis. We believe that our growing network of advocates must have the best training available, utilizing a vast array of resources, tools, and experience, in order to be most effective at protecting their local waterways. Our unmet funding needs at this time are generally capacity needs - for regional strategic meetings, mentoring new Waterkeepers, and further training for our Waterkeepers to:<br/>Maintain and enhance the knowledge and skills needed to galvanize a community; <br/>Be at the leading edge of trends and directions in technology and society, as the pace of change is faster than it has ever been before; <br/>Learn innovative techniques to protect their waterway and community; <br/>Deliver a deeper understanding of the implications and impacts of their work; and<br/>Integrate best practices into their work.

Financials

Waterkeeper Alliance
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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This organization has no recorded board members.

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 06/15/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Keywords

Water, Clean Water, Advocacy, Environment, Watershed, Waterway, Local, International, Worldwide