Science and Technology Research Institutes

California Academy of Sciences

San Francisco, CA

Mission

To Explore, Explain, and Sustain life.

Notes from the Nonprofit

The California Academy of Sciences is a renowned scientific and educational institution dedicated to exploring and explaining the natural world and addressing the challenge of sustainability. Based in San Francisco, it is home to an aquarium, planetarium and natural history museum as well as innovative scientific research and education programs—all under one living roof. This unique combination allows visitors to explore the depths of a Philippine coral reef, climb into the canopy of a Costa Rican rainforest, and fly to the outer reaches of the Universe in a single day. Along the way, thousands of charismatic live animals and a team of fascinating scientists and presenters bring the Academy’s exhibits and shows to life and make each visit unique. The Academy is also home to nearly 46 million scientific specimens from around the world—essential tools for comparative studies on the history and future of life on Earth.

Ruling Year

1926

Interim Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Mike McGee

Main Address

55 Music Concourse Drive Golden Gate Park

San Francisco, CA 94118 USA

Keywords

San Francisco, Bay Area, California, science, education, sustainability, science literacy, scientific research, museum

EIN

94-1156258

 Number

0381155272

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Science, General (includes Interdisciplinary Scientific Activities) (U20)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

In these turbulent times, the world needs trusted beacons to guide us toward a better future—beacons of knowledge, inspiration, and solutions. The California Academy of Sciences is rising to that need, providing both hope and critical information to an increasingly global audience.

Our programs

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Organizational Summary

Where we work

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of youth served on Academy for All field trips.

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

K-12 (5-19 years)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

In 2018, the Academy hosted 143,471 Bay Area field trip students, which included more than 4,500 individual classes and 575 youth groups.

Number of new specimens added to Academy collections.

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

Every year, some 1.3 million museum guests explore—often hands-on—our specimens and objects in programs and on exhibit.

Number of youth served in Science Action Clubs across 26 states since 2011.

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

K-12 (5-19 years)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of views reached for Science and Environmental resources to date.

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

K-12 (5-19 years)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

Our Science and Environmental Media resources have been accessed by educators in every country around the world.

Number of iNaturalist.org observations reached to date.

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

General/Unspecified

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number collective engagements across more than 200 bioGraphic stories.

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

Since 2016, bioGraphic stories have been collectively read or watched more than 30 million times and were shared on social media more than 4 million times.

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

As a highly trusted scientific, educational, and cultural institution, the Academy touches the hearts and engages the minds of people across the Bay Area, the nation, and the globe. During the next five years, we will leverage our public museum, our scientific discoveries, and our global education and engagement programs to inspire hundreds of millions of people to care for and sustain Earth’s natural wonders, value science and evidence-based thinking, and become champions for practical environmental solutions.

We will carry out our mission through four key strategic areas, including: 1. Explore Life: The Academy’s Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability (IBSS) drives our scientific research—anchored by collections of 46 million specimens, from tiny microbes to massive blue whale skulls. This invaluable “library of life” is helping scientists answer questions about the evolution of species on Earth and threats to their survival—including climate change and habitat destruction. 2. Operate a World Class Living Museum: We inspire our guests experientially with: award-winning Planetarium shows; hands-on learning in the Naturalist Center; interactive Philippine Coral Reef dive shows; and early childhood activities in the Curiosity Grove. Academy for All serves more than 330,000 people each year through free admission days, free and subsidized school field trips, and more. Our onsite STEM education programs engage youth traditionally underrepresented in the sciences with transformative learning experiences. 3. Provide Global Education and Storytelling: With exceptional strengths in media production and science storytelling, the Academy creates and distributes science and environmental media globally, to support widespread science literacy. We also offer Teacher Professional Development training for K–5 teachers to improve science instruction in underserved communities. 4. Be a Sustainability Leader: The Academy’s impact extends well beyond our museum walls to all corners of the globe. Our work is advancing cutting-edge biological science, influencing environmental policy and practice, and broadening the greater public’s understanding of global sustainability issues.

In 2008, the California Academy of Sciences re-opened in a state-of-the-art building in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park—the only natural history museum to house an aquarium, planetarium, and rainforest all under a living roof. With our research revealing more about the wonders of global ecosystems and the threats they face, Academy scientists are helping translate and share their discoveries through world-class exhibits, programs, and collections. Our youth education programs include Academy field trips, Junior Scientist Adventure, Careers in Science, Science Action Club, Teen Advocates for Science Communication, K-12 Science & Education Media Lab. Collectively, the programs’ goal is to foster science and environmental literacy and the next generation of sustainability leaders—with a focus on providing educational opportunities for youth with the greatest need. We also rely on philanthropic partners to sustain our daily work of conducting scientific research and engaging and educating visitors from around the world. Support from donors helps to keep our special initiatives and core operations thriving—and directly supports the visionary scientists, educators, and science communicators who are at the heart of everything we do.

The Academy is committed to excellence and we regularly assess the effectiveness of our programs. Since 2014, the Academy has partnered with Public Profit to conduct in-depth program evaluations focused on youth interest, engagement, and the value of science learning. We also regularly survey Academy guests.

As a leading cultural institution and model citizen of our community, the California Academy of Sciences is committed to lowering the barriers to Academy visits—whether cost, access, language, or culture. Our long-term goal is to ensure that every child in the Bay Area has unencumbered access to science learning experiences at the Academy. We are also building a diverse workforce that includes individuals typically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

External Reviews

Photos

Financials

California Academy of Sciences

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  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

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Operations

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

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

See what's included

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & 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?

No

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

No

ETHICS & 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