Friends of the Los Angeles River

Los Angeles, CA   |  http://folar.org

Mission

Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) is a non-profit organization founded in 1986 in order to build capacity for communities, students, and future leaders to advocate for nature, climate, and equity on the Los Angeles River. We envision a verdant Los Angeles River that supports vulnerable communities in climate adaptation. The river will be transformed into a dynamic, functioning ecosystem that reduces flood risk, cleans the air, cools temperatures, and supports the biodiversity essential to our collective wellbeing.

Ruling year info

1994

President & CEO

Marissa Christiansen

Main address

570 West Avenue 26 Suite 250

Los Angeles, CA 90065 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

95-4171497

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 2020, 2019 and 2017.
Register now

Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

This profile needs more info.

If it is your nonprofit, add a problem overview.

Login and update

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?

Source to Sea Watershed Education

Our unique and in-demand Source to Sea Watershed Education Program, designed for grades 3 through 12, links indoor learning with outdoor and place-based education through comprehensive, standards-based LA River curriculum that supports California Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Now administered entirely for online distance learning, our education program provides critical thinking through scientific exploration and guides students through the River’s past, present, and possible future with an emphasis on how human behavior impacts our region’s natural and built environments. FoLAR Educators join virtual classrooms to teach students about the LA River Watershed, ecology, engineering, and other exciting science topics. Our new lesson plans consist of virtual, live sessions with our Educators, narrated presentations, education videos, and specialized worksheets that are meant to get students thinking like scientists and become curious about the nature around them. We offer scholarships to Title 1 schools in an effort to ensure that underserved students have an opportunity to experience the LA River.

Population(s) Served
Children
Adolescents
Low-income people
Students

In recognizing the need to stymie the spread of COVID-19 and adhere to social distancing measures, we transitioned our community programs to be online. We first launched our RiverSTREAM programming - live video content broadcast on our social media platforms to bring the LA River to viewers across the watershed and beyond to maintain their connection to the River. Programs range from birding along the LA River and its tributaries, to guided eco-crafts and mindfulness activities, to our own rendition of River trivia and puzzles. We were then pleased to present Return to the River, a month-long online event and video series aimed at furthering our vision for the River and fostering a meaningful connection between our supporters and the River. We enrolled a cast of characters from our staff and local partners to explore what precisely makes for a healthy urban ecosystem, we took a close look at the efforts underway to rewild the River in the verdant Glendale Narrows, and we highlighted the vital connection between the Lower River and the Pacific Ocean, all the while uplifting Indigenous voices from the Fernandeño Tataviam, Tongva, and Chumash tribes who long ago recognized the power and vitality of our River as a life-giving force. Our RiverSTREAM and Return to the River programs are available for viewing on our YouTube page (https://www.youtube.com/user/FoLARvideos).

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Adults
Families

Our Crack the Concrete signature advocacy campaign mobilizes historically underrepresented stakeholders around shaping current and future urban rewilding projects. Perhaps our most important initiative this year has been our continued fight for over 100 continuous acres of open space along the east bank of the River in the Glendale Narrows, a vision we started calling for in 2018 which has since been adopted by the City of Los Angeles, California State Parks, and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority in the formation of the 100 Acre Partnership. After decades of public planning and investment in River restoration, we have an unprecedented opportunity to transform the River into a recreational resource in neighborhoods that are otherwise lacking sufficient access to parks and open space. There are a number of restoration plans and projects currently underway - Bowtie State Park, Taylor Yard G2 River Park, the update to LA County’s River Master Plan - and FoLAR is working hard to make sure that agencies at the local, regional, and state level prioritize ecological restoration, equitable public access, and holistic planning, while mobilizing River stewards and advocates to make their voices heard and stand up for access and ecology as public engagement opportunities arise.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Families
People of Latin American descent
Economically disadvantaged people

Every year, FoLAR hosts our annual Great LA River CleanUp. What began in 1989 with a dozen people at one site has since grown into one of the most impactful environmental stewardship events in the region, not to mention one of the largest urban river cleanups in the country. In organizing our CleanUp, FoLAR not only facilitates the removal of several tons of trash each year, but it provides an opportunity for the local community to connect with the River in a special and meaningful way. In a concrete jungle like Los Angeles, it is easy to forget that nature exists. By coming out for a day of service, Angelenos are exposed to the River first-hand - they hear the trickle of the water, walk through willow and cottonwood trees, and marvel at a Great Blue Heron resting on a boulder or spot a family of swimming mallards. Working together with family, friends, and strangers to untangle grocery bags from tree limbs or haul whole shopping carts up the River’s banks, volunteers interact with this beautiful natural resource that flows right through the heart of their city, and in doing so, they learn to love and care about their urban River. FoLAR’s CleanUp ultimately seeks to engage the community around River revitalization, educate them about their local environment, and create a culture of River stewardship among Angelenos of all ages and backgrounds throughout Los Angeles.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth
Families

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

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?

    Vulnerable communities whose health, wellbeing, and stability are most impacted by climate change and/or river restoration Indigenous tribes Gabrielino Kizh, Chumash, Tongva, Fernandeno-Tataviam Intersectional organizations who work with river communities Artists River-adjacent Neighborhood Councils and their constituents Underrepresented/Title I Students (K-12) + Parents

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

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls,

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

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, 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,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our community partners,

  • 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 act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

Friends of the Los Angeles River
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our 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.

Operations

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

lock

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.

lock

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.

Friends of the Los Angeles River

Board of directors
as of 6/14/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

M-K O’Connell

M2O, Inc.

Term: 2016 -

M-K O'Connell

M2O, Inc.

Jaime Carlson

Lunya

Ruth Coleman

Relationship Coffee Institute

Brenda Eddy

Eddy Inc.

Natasha Keefer

Clean Power Alliance

Ed Othmer

Stantec

Steve Veres

Board of Trustees, Los Angeles Community College District / District Director, CA Senator María Elena Durazo

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? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 6/14/2022

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:

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

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

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

Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/14/2022

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 ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • 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 have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • 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.