PLATINUM2024

San Diego Coastkeeper

The voice for San Diego's waters.

San Diego, CA   |  http://www.sdcoastkeeper.org

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Mission

San Diego Coastkeeper protects and restores San Diego County's rivers, streams, beaches, bays, coastlines, and the ocean through a strategic combination of education, community engagement, outreach, science, and advocacy.

Ruling year info

1995

Executive Director and Waterkeeper

Mr. Phillip Musegaas

Main address

8305 Vickers St Suite 209

San Diego, CA 92111 USA

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Formerly known as

San Diego Baykeeper

EIN

33-0647946

NTEE code info

Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation and Management (C32)

IRS filing requirement

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

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2022, 2021 and 2020.
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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

San Diego County is one of the most biodiverse counties in North America. As a uniquely water-minded community, our quality of life and economy are indelibly tied to our coastline, beaches, and ocean and all the recreational opportunities, tourism appeal, natural beauty, and ecosystem services they offer. Unfortunately, due to unsustainable urbanization, industrialization, and development, about 90 percent of San Diego’s waterways are pollution-impaired and not meeting federal water quality standards. Stormwater runoff threatens waterways and compounds stressors to water quality and habitat health. Weak and ineffective pollution reduction policies, aging and underfunded stormwater and wastewater infrastructure, disjointed water management, and proposed large-scale projects exacerbate the degradation of our coastal watersheds by creating unchecked opportunities for harmful pollutants to leach into waters year-round.

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?

Water and Climate Science Education

San Diego Coastkeeper believes that environmental education is the basis of environmental stewardship. We provide environmental education programs to K-12 grades across San Diego County at no cost. We deliver standards-aligned science curriculum to teachers and project-based learning experiences to students. Our curriculum aligns with Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards to provide inquiry-based approaches to learning and discovery. Our robust education programs build relationships with students through a series of hands-on engagements and make global water and climate issues relatable by emphasizing how they are present at the local level in their community. Depending on the grade level, students learn about various water and climate science topics, such as watershed dynamics, sustainable water supplies, local habitats and ecosystems, and pollution issues and prevention strategies. Classrooms tackle these issues from an interdisciplinary perspective, using a combination of survey methodologies, data analysis, and community-based solutions. By participating in hands-on learning, students are empowered to develop creative, real-world projects and become agents of change within their communities. These programs create unique and lasting learning opportunities while fostering environmental literacy and place-based stewardship.

Population(s) Served
Children

San Diego’s unique environment is at serious risk of degradation. Harmful and unsightly trash threatens our coastal watersheds, the local marine and aquatic life, and the individuals who recreate in our parks and on or near the water. Bacteria-laden litter fills our neighborhoods, canyons, parks, and waterways. These growing issues threaten our communities and environment.

San Diego Coastkeeper directly addresses plastic pollution and other marine debris challenges by activating community members to play a hands-on role in the stewardship of our coastal environment through beach and neighborhood cleanup events. By providing education designed to empower the general public, we are able to address the plastic pollution problem by stopping litter and trash at its source. Cleanup participants see first-hand the impacts of plastics and other debris on our environment. They are provided with tools and resources for pollution prevention, including behavior change strategies and ideas for reducing single-use plastic and general waste consumption.

Over the past decade, we have engaged more than 60,000 volunteers to remove more than one million individual items of trash from our neighborhoods, beaches, canyons, and coastal areas.

Population(s) Served

San Diego Coastkeeper promotes the Swim Guide, an online website and smartphone app, to help beachgoers, swimmers, surfers, and boaters find healthy stretches of sand and coastal waters along our coastline. We receive daily beach status information from the County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health, which sometimes - but not always - posts warning signs at polluted beaches. We input the county’s data into an interactive map that displays beach status information into easily understandable green, yellow, and red color-coded formats on our website. With the Swim Guide, the public can now access this information anytime on their smartphones.

Population(s) Served

Coastkeeper's expert staff works to make communications more accessible and activism more effective for the people most affected by water challenges.

We listen to and connect with communities through thoughtfully designed events, strategic multimedia campaigns, and meaningful explorations of our region's waterways.

Population(s) Served

San Diego Coastkeeper is committed to ensuring the adoption of climate-smart, holistic water management in the San Diego region. We work to move San Diego County into a more sustainable, equitable, and resilient water future. We advocate for and prioritize clean, safe water and will address climate change issues locally. Our advocacy efforts enhance water security, improve water quality, reduce flood risk, increase climate resilience, create green jobs, beautify neighborhoods, connect communities, and fulfills legal obligations. We also advocate for funding and projects that prioritize and benefit communities that experience environmental racism. This critical work ensures project planning effectively reverses the disproportionate environmental burden and uplifts frontline communities.

Population(s) Served

From the quality of our educational content to the effectiveness of our advocacy work, we know that Coastkeeper’s approach to protecting and restoring clean water in San Diego County is more effective when it is based on sound science. That’s why we ran the state’s largest volunteer based water quality monitoring program for ten years, conduct winter stormwater monitoring each rainy season, and regularly participate in supplemental projects and studies from bioassessments to fish gut analysis to debris studies of the habitats around San Diego Bay. We also provide hands-on training in water quality monitoring sampling for our partner organizations that are interested in acquiring technical skills to assess the health of their watershed.

Population(s) Served

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.

Total pounds of debris collected

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

Adults, Children and youth, Families

Related Program

Marine Debris Prevention and Removal

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of community events or trainings held and attendance

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

Adults, Children and youth

Related Program

Community Engagement and Outreach

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of students educated through field trips

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

Adolescents, Children

Related Program

Water and Climate Science Education

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Refined to include students engagements in classroom visits as well as field trips.

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.

San Diego Coastkeeper's vision is that the organization is a major force in transforming the San Diego region into a leader in sustainable water management, guided by an engaged and informed public and protective of a healthy environment that supports high biodiversity, resilient ecosystems, and thriving communities. Our 2022 - 2024 strategic plan outlines our five main goals:

1. Protect clean water
2. Advance a climate-smart water supply for San Diego
3. Engage and activate the public to protect clean water
4. Be the clean water voice for San Diego
5. Make equity, justice, and inclusion a core part of San Diego Coastkeeper

San Diego Coastkeeper uses a multi-pronged approach to achieve clean water, strategically combining education, community engagement, outreach, science, and advocacy. Our programs and campaigns tackle persistent and emerging threats to water quality, water supply, and ecosystem health and meet the needs of our diverse communities.

San Diego Coastkeeper strategies to achieve our five main goals in our strategic plan include:
1. Strengthen water quality protections against pollution and ecosystem degradation and advance climate resilience and adaptation.
2. Ensure a resilient, multi-benefit, climate-smart water supply that supports a water secure future in San Diego.
3. Educate the community on achieving and protecting a clean, sustainable water supply and use, and increase
environmental and science literacy in San Diego.
4. Maintain and amplify our effective, influential voice for clean water in our region.
5. Build and strengthen equity, justice, and inclusion into our internal and external organizational policies and programs.

San Diego Coastkeeper’s small team of eight staff members represent experts in education, strategic outreach, environmental science, program development, community organizing, and advocacy. Our board of directors is a highly involved and supportive board, whose eleven members bring a great deal to the organization and represent various communities across our region. We have over 27 years of experience protecting our local watersheds and fighting for clean water through our successful education, outreach, community engagement, science, and advocacy programs and campaigns.

Our strategic, multi-faceted approach to our region’s most pressing pollution, degradation, and water scarcity issues has yielded powerful success stories across all our program areas.

Our work with the City of San Diego to improve its sewage infrastructure has resulted in a 90 percent reduction in sewage spills and a 77 percent decrease in beach advisories across the county. These efforts enable San Diegans and visitors to enjoy more days in the water without risking their health or well-being. Our cleanup program has engaged tens of thousands of volunteers at more than 650 beach and neighborhood cleanups, resulting in the removal of hundreds of thousands of pounds of trash from our beaches, canyons, and neighborhoods. From 2008 to 2018, we ran California’s largest volunteer-based water quality monitoring program. We trained more than 1,500 community scientists to monitor the health of the county’s rivers and streams. Through this program, we created a community of informed individuals empowered with knowledge and hands-on experience to advocate for our most overlooked rivers and streams. Working to preserve our coastal habitats and marine life, we successfully advocated to establish state-level protections for 15 percent of Southern California coastal waters in ecologically important marine protected areas, implemented in 2012. Since 2003, we have provided our standards-aligned, hands-on water and climate science education programs to grade K-12. We have educated more than 16,000 students and nearly 600 teachers over the last five years alone. Furthermore, after working with the City of San Diego for 15 years on efforts to develop and implement a wastewater recycling program called Pure Water, in 2014 we were successful in securing a cooperative agreement for the largest such recycling program of its kind in the United States, which will reduce treated sewage discharges to the ocean and generate climate-smart local water supply that meets a third of the current drinking water demand.

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

    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

  • 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 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

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection

Financials

San Diego Coastkeeper
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • 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.

San Diego Coastkeeper

Board of directors
as of 06/10/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Chanté Coleman

Vice President of Equity and Justice at the National Wildlife Federation (NWF)

Term: 2021 - 2024

Diane Castañeda

Social Media and Media Relations Manager for Digital Impact &

Joe Callahan

Co-Founder and VP of Product at Classy

Lee Duran

Certified Public Accountant

Sri Cressy

Director of Engineering at Qualcomm

Laura Marion

Chief Financial Officer at Ace Relocation Systems, Inc.

Lorena Roel

Real Estate Attorney at Carlson Law Group

Katie Pettit

Associate Attorney at Chatten-Brown Law Group

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 6/10/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/10/2024

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 ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
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.