The Gowanus Dredgers

Reviving the Gowanus Canal through Recreation, Education and Advocacy

aka Red Hook Boaters, Kayak Staten Island, Long Island City Community Boathouse   |   Brooklyn, NY   |
GuideStar Charity Check

The Gowanus Dredgers

EIN: 32-0039318


To assemble and educate a diverse group of individuals, businesses and organizations to improve the Gowanus waterfront in Brooklyn and foster awareness of issues affecting the New York- New Jersey harbor. The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club intends to contribute to transforming a dilapidated, historically significant estuary into a self-sustaining, environmentally friendly and healthy waterfront to be enjoyed and treasured by current and future generations.

By encouraging waterfront activity and stewardship of the waterway, our organization seeks to reconnect the community with their shoreline. Renewing this relationship strengthens the desire and need for remediation of our harbor.

Ruling year info



Mr. Gary Francis

Main address

P.O. Box 24403

Brooklyn, NY 11202 USA

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Subject area info


Community beautification

Population served info

Children and youth



Ethnic and racial groups

Economically disadvantaged people

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NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (C01)

Environmental Education and Outdoor Survival Programs (C60)

Environmental Beautification (C50)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

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

Tax forms


Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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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?

Self-Guided Voyages

By canoeing Gowanus, you become part of a crew that is building awareness of harbor contamination issues.  Most importnat of which is severs overflow during rainstorms so if you are visiting, working or living in New York, PLEASE Do Not Shower When it Rains!

This is the Gowanus Dredgers original and most popular program. The program runs from May 1 through November 1

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Individual canoe voyage tours on the Gowanus Canal where participants learn of the past present and future issues affecting the sustainability of the environment and character of the Gowanus neighborhood

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

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 stakeholders or stakeholder groups who agree to engage

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

Young adults, Preteens, Low-income people, People of African descent, People of Latin American descent

Related Program

Self-Guided Voyages

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Program seeks to motivate participants to become more engaged and inspired to support environmental restoration efforts. Numbers have improved due to investment in facility.

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.

The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club is a volunteer organization dedicated to providing waterfront access and education about our estuary and shoreline neighborhoods. Activities are conducted on the canal and neighboring waterfront communities of Red Hook, Sunset Park and Brooklyn Heights. In addition, our 501(c)3 runs Activity Committees on the Long Island City, Red Hook, Staten Island shorelines and NY Community Kayak programs in the pool of Riverbank State Park.

The Dredgers work to ensure participants of our programs develop an understanding of the NY & NJ harbor as a resource for recreation and education as well as a waterway for commuters, tourists and movement of goods.

We organize and run recreational and educational programs so that more individuals develop awareness of the environmental issues affecting our estuary and many become advocates for change after they understand the issues. In addition, some change their behavior when they understand the connection between street trash and combined sewer overflow and the pollution of New York Harbor.

Volunteers are our most important asset. We are a membership organization but membership is not required to participate in our programs. Hundreds of volunteers help us run our programs and we have no full time staff. Our facilities are meager but we have a large fleet of recreational equipment and safety devices including life jackets and marine radios. Some of the equipment has met their useful life and could be replaced. However, our main issue is to upgrade our facilities as the primary purpose is storage and upgrades are needed to transform the spaces into suitable meeting locations.

The Gowanus Dredgers are credited with transforming the perception of the future of our waterfront neighborhood. When we started programs twenty years ago, properties were neglected and abandoned. The general feeling was the Gowanus neighborhood would never amount to much so why bother working to improve the area? The Gowanus Dredgers recreational programming highlighted the small areas of the shoreline where nature was returning and our philosophy was to focus on the positive changes occurring regardless of how small the improvements were. Now our challenge is how to we retain the character and charm of the neighborhood despite new development initiatives and improvements that are forecast for the next decade. The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club supports the allocation of additional funding for capital projects to improve safe access and use of the Gowanus Canal and to someday completely stop the continued pollution of our estuary. We vow to support and expand maritime and recreational uses while concurrently working to restore this once neglected Canal back to the oyster-supporting waterway the Canarsie Native Americans once enjoyed.

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 shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    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

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

    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 share the feedback we received with the people we serve, 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, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection


The Gowanus Dredgers
Fiscal year: Aug 01 - Jul 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

The Gowanus Dredgers

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Aug 01 - Jul 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

The Gowanus Dredgers

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Aug 01 - Jul 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


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

Letter of Determination is not available for this organization
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization


Mr. Gary Francis

Gary Francis discovered the Gowanus Canal while training for a paddleboard race around Manhattan. After placing second in the 2017 SEA Paddle NYC race, he continued to ply the waters of the canal in the Dredgers canoes, exploring the wildlife, art (he's a wooden spoon carver), and community that it brings together. A longtime sailor and watersports instructor, he has sailed from Maine to the Carribean twice and once from the Carribean to Florida. He has also worked as a paddleboard and surf instructor in New York City and the Virgin Islands and lifeguarded on the Jersey Shore. Francis leads tours, workshops and classes; co-organizes Paddle-In Movie Nights; and advocates for wildlife habitat along the canal. He also brings extensive safety and emergency training to the club's on-water events. When he's on dry land, he's the head fabricator for Art in Construction, based in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He was a 2019 recipient of an AwesomeNYC grant for his creative approach to creating ribbed

The Gowanus Dredgers

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

The Gowanus Dredgers

Board of directors
as of 03/05/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Gary Francis

Gary Francis

Ashley Privett

Josh Prol

Nicole Vergalla

Eymund Diegel

David Berreby

Annette Pierce

Ted Gruber

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 ? Not applicable
  • 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 6/20/2023

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


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/20/2023

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

  • 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 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 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.