CLEAN OCEAN ACTION INC

Be the Sollution to Ocean Pollution

aka Clean Ocean Action   |   Long Branch, NJ   |  www.cleanoceanaction.org

Mission

Our goal is to improve the degraded water quality of the marine waters off the New Jersey/New York coast. Clean Ocean Action will identify the sources of pollution and mount an attack on each source by using research, public education, and citizen action to enact and enforce measures which will clean up and protect our ocean.

Notes from the nonprofit

Clean Ocean Action’s (COA) goal is to improve and protect the waters off the New Jersey/New York coast from pollution, plastics, industrialization and climate change with research, education and citizen action. COA is the only full time coalition dedicated to improving the marine waters of the New York/New Jersey region. Founded in 1984, COA brings together and empowers over 115 organizations, hundreds of businesses and thousands of citizens to protect nature’s most important resource: the ocean. The professional staff includes PhD’s, an attorney, and several with master’s degrees. The small and effective team applies research, education, and citizen action to reduce sources of pollution and impacts from climate change with fact-based campaigns to implement environmentally-sound solutions. COA also engages meaningful and authentic efforts to ensure environmental justice.

Ruling year info

1989

Executive Director

Ms. Cindy Zipf

Main address

49 Avenel Boulevard

Long Branch, NJ 07740 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

22-2897204

NTEE code info

Pollution Abatement and Control Services (C20)

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

On a cold day in 1984 in Sea Bright, NJ, Clean Ocean Action (COA) set sail on a bold journey to improve and protect the ocean off New Jersey and New York. At the time, the region was the Ocean Dumping Capital of the World, was a threat to public health and marine life, and was on the brink of ecological collapse. The network united to stand up and defend the ocean, and included fishermen, boating, diving, surfing, tourism, community, realty, women’s and gardening groups. COA applied a successful action plan using research, education, and citizen action to stop ocean dumping, garbage wash-ups and pathogen pollution. Thirty-six years later, ocean dumping is history, the region’s marine life is improving with whales, turtles and seals seen frequently offshore, and the Jersey Shore is a premiere coastal destination for millions. It has a robust, clean ocean economy supporting a multi-billion dollar tourism industry that sustains hundreds of thousands of jobs. But the fight isn't over.

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?

Beach Sweeps

Clean Ocean Action's Beach Sweeps is one of the longest running cleanups in the world. The cleanup first started in 1985 at Sandy Hook with 75 volunteers.

In 1995, Clean Ocean Action started to keep records on the groups that participate in the Beach Sweeps. Since then, over 1,450 groups have supported the effort. These groups includes over 550 environmental and civic organizations and governmental agencies, 549 schools, 288 boy and girl scout groups, and 75 business teams.

Since 1985, over 60,000 volunteers have participated in the Beach Sweeps resulting in over 140,000 volunteer hours for the environment. Volunteer efforts have resulted in millions of pieces of debris removed from New Jersey's Beaches. A value for this cleanup effort has been estimated to be almost two billion dollars.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Awards

Frances K. Hutchinson Medal 2002

Garden Club of America

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 free participants on field trips

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

Adults, Children and youth, Family relationships, Multiracial people, Activists

Related Program

Beach Sweeps

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The main Beach Sweep program in the Spring of 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This, the number of volunteers was significantly reduced in 2020.

Number of stakeholders or stakeholder groups who agree to engage

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

Age groups, Family relationships, Multiracial people, Activists

Related Program

Beach Sweeps

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Total pounds of debris collected

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

Age groups, Multiracial people, Family relationships, Activists

Related Program

Beach Sweeps

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This metric reflects number of pieces of debris, not pounds.

Number of clients reporting increased knowledge after educational programs

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

Multiracial people, Adolescents, Preteens, Low-income people, Academics

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of middle and high school students attending Student Summits. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020 and 2021 Student Summits were virtual.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

Clean Ocean Action (COA) works to improve ocean health for the benefit of our communities, marine life, and ecosystems, by identifying pollution sources, educating the public, and inspiring action for change.

Clean Ocean Action employs multi-pronged strategies to combat threats to the ocean. They include:

Finding pollution sources, identifying solutions, and launching campaigns to eliminate the source.

Promoting laws and programs that protect public health at swimming beaches.

Educating citizens and communities about the connection between polluting habits and behaviors, and ocean health.

Ensuring laws are enforced, pollution is reduced, and violators are prosecuted.

Advocating for monitoring and repair of infrastructure.

Identifying sound alternatives for sediment removed from coastal waterways.

Reducing plastics and litter.

Monitoring complex public notices for harmful proposals.

Targeting toxins in waterways to ensure fish and shellfish are safe to eat.

Working with COAlition partners to promote comprehensive legislation to establish the nation’s first Clean Ocean Zone, which will permanently protect the marine waters off New York and New Jersey.

COA is large coalition of businesses, NGOs, similar-minded non-profits, and concerned community groups who work together to collectively harness the power of shared voices from the tip of Montauk, NY down to Cape May, NJ. COAs strengths lies in the ability to mobilize people to effect change, from basic personal actions up to enacting legislative change, all for the good health of the ocean. Over ten thousand volunteers engage in the annual beach sweeps twice a year, thousands of students participate in the Student Summits, and hundreds more are touched by COA through community presentation, student leadership programs and special events.

COA’s bold campaigns have:
• ended ocean dumping at eight dumpsites off the coast of NJ including sewage sludge, acid waste, toxin-laden muck
• blocked ocean industrialization, including seven Liquefied Natural Gas facilities
• passed the first and strongest law in the nation to prohibit offshore oil and gas drilling in state waters
• passed the nation’s strongest fertilizer control law to protect coastal waterways
• reduced sources of raw sewage protecting swimmers from dangerous pathogens
• established the region’s largest environmental litter reduction event, Beach Sweeps, and removed over 6,700,000 pieces of trash
• conducted a statewide assessment of microplastics along the entire NJ coast
• created a model coastal watershed protection program, called Rally for the Waterways
• created a community pollution reduction certification program, called Municipal Blue Star

COA also developed “Watershed Mindfulness” programs to engage people in pollution reduction at the local level, as well as coordinating diverse and engaging educational programs for all ages (youth – seniors), to reduce pollution, climate change and plastics.

COA conducts research on plastics, pathogens, and chemical pollution by engaging citizen science with rigorous oversight by the PhD staff scientist. Research is expertly coordinated with state and federal agencies, as well as with outside scientists to ensure quality and success.
COA acts as a watchdog. COA’s Policy Attorney monitors rules and regulations, legislative proposals, and policies to ensure they are protective of water quality. The Policy Attorney also responds to and investigates calls from citizens about polluting activities.
Together, the staff, a lean green ocean pollution fighting machine, implements action campaigns, including meetings and rallies to inform the public and record testimony. Petitions and letter-writing campaigns are prepared with scientific, technical, and legal expertise to ensure protection of marine water quality from pollution, including from pathogens, chemicals, and marine debris.
The results are clear: the waterways of the Jersey Shore have come a long way from a national joke due to pollution to a premier international tourism destination. It is a powerful story of the little coalition that could and did, and with continued support, will keep making waves for clean water.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Clean Ocean Action (COA) serves all who depend on a clean and healthy ocean which ultimately includes all life on earth - from the diverse and extraordinary life within the ocean and those who enjoy its rich bounty and joyful waters to those who depend upon it for food or livelihood with its billions of dollars in economic value. Thus, COA serves many -- swimmers, boaters, divers, surfers, fishermen and women, and those whose souls are enriched by the sea, as well as commercial fishing, boating industries and tourism. Many also depend on the sea to supplement their diet by fishing, clamming, or crabbing. Finally, the ocean generates between 50-70% of Earth’s oxygen so more than every other breath we take is a gift from the sea.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Suggestion box/email, COA has found production of videos document the value of programs and provide important feedback.,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    COA's Student Summits offer opportunities for thousands of middle school students to understand how the sea is connected to both their health and future. They provide enlightening seaside symposiums in Monmouth, Ocean, and Cape May Counties in NJ and Staten Island, NY. Educating the next generation to restore a healthy environment with STEAM-based programing is essential. Last Fall, COA's Teacher and Student Feedback Forms included information indicating that videos were too long, the pre-program questionnaire was too involved and questions asked of the students were beyond their scope. As a result, this year's Student Summits shifted to shorter and more informative videos, a straight forward pre-program questionnaire and content that was more specifically age-appropriate.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    It is a COA core value to work as a coalition. As such, creating feedback loops is essential. For example, COA recently surveyed a watershed with 12 predominantly low-income communities about a massive, proposed fossil fuel project off their shore. Most were unaware of the project, the risks, dangers or pollution issues. COA then engaged in a process to determine their needs and as a result supplied information, resolutions, and other resources and tools to empower communities to take action. Thus, citizens in all 12 towns became leaders by engaging with their elected officials to pass resolutions which helped lead to the defeat of the project. Requesting feedback is key for COA to determine community needs and how to best engage citizens for improving water quality and quality of life.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

CLEAN OCEAN ACTION INC
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

CLEAN OCEAN ACTION INC

Board of directors
as of 03/03/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Tom Fagan

Communication Workers of America, #1075

Term: 2020 - 2022


Board co-chair

Jeff Martin

Cape May School System

Term: 2021 - 2023

Jim Lovgren

Retired Commercial Fisherman

Jeff Martin

Marine Science Educator

Pat Bennekamper

Concerned Citizen

Valerie Montecalvo

President, Bayshore Family of Companies

Tom Fagan

Community Workers of America

DW Bennett

President and Founder, 1884 - 2009

Joseph Garofalo

Beacon Events

Shari O'Connor

Neuro Immunopharmacologist

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 3/3/2022

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:

Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/03/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.