O'Neill Sea Odyssey

love, protect, conserve

aka OSO   |   Santa Cruz, CA   |
GuideStar Charity Check

O'Neill Sea Odyssey

EIN: 77-0464784


O'Neill Sea Odyssey provides a hands-on educational experience to encourage the protection and preservation of our living sea and communities.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Ms. Tracey Weiss

Main address

2222 East Cliff Drive Suite #222

Santa Cruz, CA 95062 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info

Children's museums

Natural history museums

Natural resources

Environmental education

Population served info

Children and youth

NTEE code info

Environmental Education and Outdoor Survival Programs (C60)

Children's Museums (A52)

Natural History, Natural Science Museums (A56)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

California's Ocean Protection Council's Strategic Plan has identified a priority that individuals be encouraged to become advocates for the protection and preservation of its ocean and coast. The State Water Quality Control Board, under the federal Clean Water Act, requires communities to reduce runoff pollution -- the source of 80% of ocean pollution - through tools including education for school children. O'Neill Sea Odyssey provides stewardship education to prevent pollution from entering runoff that flows through storm drains, watersheds, and the ocean.

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?

Ocean-going science and environmental education

O’Neill Sea Odyssey (OSO) engages 4th - 6th grade youth with a hands-on science education field trip on a 65-foot catamaran on Monterey Bay and in a shore-side education center, in addition to science curriculum for the classroom. It is free, and each class completes a community service project. OSO also funds bus transportation to and from our site. Our mission is to provide a hands-on educational experience to encourage the protection and preservation of our living sea and communities.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work


Economic and Environmental Leadership 2004

California Governor's award

Conservation Champion 2005

US Senator Barbara Boxer’s award

Community Spinners 2009

Special Parents Information Network

Community Impact Award 2013

Silicon Valley Business Journal

Education and Outreach Sea Star 2022

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

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

Children and youth, People of Latin American descent, Multiracial people, People of European descent, People of African descent

Related Program

Ocean-going science and environmental education

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Due to Covid, 2022 In-person numbers are lower than average. Numbers based on fiscal years. 2019 = 07/01/2019-06/30/2020. 2020 = 07/01/2020 - 06/30/2021. 2021 = 07/01/2021 - 06/30/2022.

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.

By providing a free, hands-on, marine science and outdoor education program, O'Neill Sea Odyssey will:
1. Help schools reach National Science and Mathematics Education Standards through outdoor education curricula aligned with NOAA's (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's) Ocean Literacy Essential Principals and Fundamental Concepts.
2. Students learned more about life that depends on the ocean and watersheds,
3. Students resolved to do more to protect the ocean and local watersheds.
4. Students will advocate to protect and conserve the ocean and local watersheds to their family, friends and others.

The curriculum is taught in a stimulating and intimate learning environment, which provides a learning experience that lasts a lifetime. The program's curriculum is designed to support the educational goals of the schools that participate, and each of the subjects taught align with both California state and federal education standards.

Hands-on activities, teaching to the different intelligences, and scaffolding new language for meaning are widely accepted teaching methods currently encouraged within education. OSO utilizes the hands-on teaching method, and activities to educate and inspire youth towards a life of stewardship. Hands-on learning in smaller group settings scaffolds vocabulary, increases participation by English learners, demonstrates academic subject matter in an engaging manner, and integrates academic subjects in an exciting learning environment. Verbal, visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learners are all educated through this hands-on approach to science. OSO introduces new vocabulary to both native English speakers and English learners. The use of scientific terminology builds vocabulary and helps to further youth's educational goals in the area of literacy.

O'Neill Sea Odyssey has been providing this service for 27 years, conducting lessons on board the catamaran with follow-up lessons at the shore-side Education Center at the Santa Cruz Harbor. It is free of charge, but students earn their way into the program by designing and performing a project to benefit their community. O'Neill Sea Odyssey also raises funds for bus transportation for lower-income schools, and our in-class curriculum is being distributed nationally as of 2016.

OSO was founded in 1996. In 1999, Tom and Judy Webster established the Adam Webster Memorial Fund for special needs youth. Jack O'Neill and Harry Hind donated the O'Neill Building to OSO in 2000, to provide a shore-side education center and some revenue for the program. In 2003 OSO published a curriculum handbook including a chart with alignment to California State and Federal content standards, and distributed it nationally in collaboration with the national marine sanctuary program. OSO received the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in 2004, the same year that $1.3 million in donor funds re-build upstairs of the O'Neill building with OSO education center, elevator, disabled access, and Surfrider Foundation water quality lab, while the downstairs reverted to the Santa Cruz Harbor. In 2006 OSO began paying for bus transportation for lower income schools, received Senator Barbara Boxer's Environmental Champion award and installed its weather station and integrated it into its curriculum. In 2008 OSO installed its solar system for its education center and the Surfrider Foundation.
In 2009 the Adam Webster Memorial Fund received the Community Spinners award, and in 2012 OSO's curriculum was aligned to Ocean Literacy principles and distributed throughout California. The Silicon Valley Business Journal's Community Impact Award was received in 2013 and the study of our program's long term impact on students was completed. In 2014 OSO's curriculum was aligned to Common Core & Next Generation Science Standards.

O'Neill Sea Odyssey's Board of Directors approved a new, five-year strategic for 2019-2023. In 2022, the organization welcomed a new Executive Director. At this time, the organization is participating in a National Leadership cohort to update the organization's Theory of Change, Mission Statement, and Vision. Once these documents have been updated the organization will focus on creating a new strategic plan.

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 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

  • 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?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback


O'Neill Sea Odyssey
Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

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.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 25.54 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 26.4 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 0% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

O'Neill Sea Odyssey

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

O'Neill Sea Odyssey

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

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

O'Neill Sea Odyssey

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of O'Neill Sea Odyssey’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $108,302 $203,063 $488,073 $251,092 -$427,374
As % of expenses 16.0% 30.7% 90.6% 65.0% -71.5%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $106,138 $137,432 $486,505 $229,308 -$447,954
As % of expenses 15.7% 18.9% 90.1% 56.2% -72.5%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $1,465,694 $928,335 $791,816 $885,550 -$47,055
Total revenue, % change over prior year 10.7% -36.7% -14.7% 11.8% -105.3%
Program services revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.2% 0.5% 0.5% 0.1% -1.4%
Government grants 11.6% 18.1% 19.1% 10.2% -84.5%
All other grants and contributions 70.5% 70.5% 77.6% 36.7% -1214.0%
Other revenue 17.8% 10.9% 2.8% 53.0% 1399.9%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $675,946 $662,282 $538,571 $386,344 $597,656
Total expenses, % change over prior year 3.0% -2.0% -18.7% -28.3% 54.7%
Personnel 40.3% 48.7% 46.5% 68.3% 41.8%
Professional fees 0.8% 3.2% 1.2% 10.0% 7.6%
Occupancy 6.6% 9.2% 0.0% 5.8% 8.9%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 52.3% 38.9% 52.3% 15.9% 41.8%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $678,110 $727,913 $540,139 $408,128 $618,236
One month of savings $56,329 $55,190 $44,881 $32,195 $49,805
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $734,439 $783,103 $585,020 $440,323 $668,041

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 17.7 22.5 33.2 58.3 36.4
Months of cash and investments 17.7 22.5 33.2 58.3 36.4
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 21.3 25.3 43.4 69.7 46.1
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $994,304 $1,243,440 $1,488,982 $1,878,277 $1,811,589
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $78,091 $103,770 $239,353 $31,223 $102,190
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $1,701,288 $1,703,871 $1,702,111 $1,702,111 $144,143
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 58.0% 61.7% 65.5% 69.3% 86.1%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 1.4% 1.5% 1.0% 1.7% 2.0%
Unrestricted net assets $1,912,967 $2,050,399 $2,536,904 $2,766,212 $2,318,258
Temporarily restricted net assets $491,525 $539,160 N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $1,156,135 $1,156,135 N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $1,647,660 $1,695,295 $1,445,097 $1,677,840 $1,324,754
Total net assets $3,560,627 $3,745,694 $3,982,001 $4,444,052 $3,643,012

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


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

Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Executive Director

Ms. Tracey Weiss

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

O'Neill Sea Odyssey

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.

O'Neill Sea Odyssey

Board of directors
as of 11/30/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board co-chair

Bridget O'Neill

O'Neill Wetsuits, LLC

Board co-chair

Tim O'Neill

O'Neill Wetsuits, LLC

Tim O'Neill

Community Volunteer

Jim Thoits

Thoits Brothers. Inc.

Mike McCabe

McCabe & Totah

Robert Bremner

Essential Surf Company LLC

Bridget O'Neill

Community Volunteer

Nick Petredis

Private Practice Attorney

Dr. Daisy Morales

Superintendent of Live Oak School District

Dr. Megan Goddard


Brad Boardman

Morgan Autism Center

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 11/30/2023

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
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


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

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/30/2023

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 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 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.
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.
  • 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.