Backbone Campaign

When the people lead, the leaders follow.

aka Backbone Campaign   |   Vashon, WA   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Backbone Campaign

EIN: 93-1271427


The Backbone Campaign is working across the country to build a broad social movement that honors life, community, nature, and our obligations to future generations as sacred.

Ruling year info


Co-Founder and Executive Director

Bill Moyer

Deputy Director

Amy Morrison

Main address

PO Box 278

Vashon, WA 98070 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info

Arts services

Environmental justice

Civic participation

Community organizing

Human rights

Population served info


NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (R01)

Other Art, Culture, Humanities Organizations/Services N.E.C. (A99)

Energy Resources Conservation and Development (C35)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

By defending what is sacred - the water, air, right to vote, the commons, a liveable planet and cool climate, our children's future - Backbone Campaign challenges the paradigm that everything is for sale. We challenge corporate power and put power in the hands of "we the people."

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?

Solutionary Rail

a strategy to electrify U.S. railroads with renewable energy and to decelerate our trajectory toward rapid climate change.

Population(s) Served

Using artful activism, change agents using tools like light projection, giant overpass banners, digital projection, inflatable props, LEDs and more - to protect the people, places and species that are important in their community.

Population(s) Served
Artists and performers

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 individuals applying skills learned through the organization's training

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Solidarity Brigades

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


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.

Backbone Campaign is working to remove the dams on the Lower Snake River, so the orca of the Salish Sea can have the food we need, and our rivers will once again be teaming with wild salmon.
We help community based activists deploy artistic props and tools that will amplify the voices of their community.
Our Solutionary Rail project seeks to decarbonize transportation and energy in the US by electrifying trains, running them on clean renewable energy, and using the railroad right of way to transmit electrons from solar and wind farms to the urban metropolises where markets exist.

We are growing Solidarity Brigades around the country and our goal for 2020 is to have 50 Solidarity Brigades. A Solidarity Brigade is a squad of activists trained in Backbone Campaign tools like light projection, bannering, prop deployment - so change agents in their communities can stand up and protect the places and species they love. Backbone Campaign strives to be activists' resource for creative interventions that keep the news cameras captivated and that get more people activated. When the People Lead, the Leaders Follow!
We are also providing artistic resources to the campaign to save the orca of Puget Sound, organizing human orca murals across the Salish Sea bioregion, banner actions, light projections, inflatables.

Backbone Campaign was started by artists in an artist-rich community. We harness the resources of our community, using our warehouse where we hold art builds, engaging our active volunteer artist network, and connecting change agents with artful activists. We are part of the Moving Forward Network, an alliance of community based activists working to fight the negative implications of global trade.

We have held 10 years of Localize This! Action Camps, a week long training for activists on how to deploy actions that demand change.
In 2018 we gifted over $25,000 in equipment and tools to squads of change agents across the country, so they could deploy artful activism tools.
In 2018 we increased our number of Solidarity Brigades from 15 to 28.
In 2019 we increased that to 35 squads across the US.
We have organized several coordinated light projection actions on Ending Fossil Fuel Use and Protecting the Climate, Ending Gun Violence and NRA influence on elected officials; Keeping Immigrants Safe and building welcoming communities; and more.

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 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?

  • 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


Backbone Campaign
Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 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.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 38.77 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 3.4 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 15% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Backbone Campaign

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Backbone Campaign

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 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

Backbone Campaign

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Backbone Campaign’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.

Created in partnership with

Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$1,828 -$11,143 $85,250 $222,927 -$36,534
As % of expenses -0.5% -3.6% 32.0% 77.0% -12.3%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$6,654 -$11,143 $84,890 $222,207 -$39,683
As % of expenses -1.8% -3.6% 31.8% 76.6% -13.2%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $366,305 $283,749 $369,795 $457,893 $306,121
Total revenue, % change over prior year -43.2% -22.5% 30.3% 23.8% -33.1%
Program services revenue 9.3% 12.4% 15.1% 10.0% 30.4%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.1% 0.0% 0.1% 0.2% 1.3%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 10.5% 0.0% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 90.3% 86.9% 56.7% 89.5% 66.6%
Other revenue 0.3% 0.8% 17.6% 0.3% 1.7%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $368,289 $312,162 $266,307 $289,404 $297,646
Total expenses, % change over prior year -36.1% -15.2% -14.7% 8.7% 2.8%
Personnel 46.5% 50.4% 57.2% 57.4% 59.2%
Professional fees 11.3% 19.4% 20.6% 9.6% 10.1%
Occupancy 4.2% 3.9% 3.4% 3.2% 1.5%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 11.4% 2.5% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 26.7% 23.8% 18.8% 29.8% 29.1%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $373,115 $312,162 $266,667 $290,124 $300,795
One month of savings $30,691 $26,014 $22,192 $24,117 $24,804
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $5,753 $0 $206,150
Total full costs (estimated) $403,806 $338,176 $294,612 $314,241 $531,749

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 2.4 0.9 3.7 10.7 2.3
Months of cash and investments 4.0 4.3 8.6 17.2 6.8
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 3.9 4.1 8.4 17.0 6.8
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $72,916 $24,488 $81,969 $258,484 $57,156
Investments $48,816 $87,058 $109,329 $155,439 $111,903
Receivables $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $24,761 $24,761 $24,641 $24,641 $223,416
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 100.0% 100.0% 78.1% 81.0% 7.0%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 2.4% 3.7% 2.2% 0.9% 1.5%
Unrestricted net assets $118,954 $107,811 $192,701 $414,908 $375,225
Temporarily restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total net assets $118,954 $107,811 $192,701 $414,908 $375,225

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

Co-Founder and Executive Director

Bill Moyer

BILL MOYER is a fourth generation Washingtonian who lives with his wife and daughter in the woods of Vashon Island in the Salish Sea near Seattle. He co-founded the Backbone Campaign and has served as Executive Director since 2004. Bill presents on the application of grand strategy, creative tactics and campaign design in workshops around the country. His moral and strategic commitment to always balance critique with proposal resulted in the Solutionary Rail project. Bill convened and directs the Solutionary Rail team to plot a path for America to transform a broken and dangerous railroad business model into a catalyst for social and environmental solutions that can act as an integral component of a just transition to sustainable society.

Deputy Director

Amy Morrison

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Backbone Campaign

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.

Backbone Campaign

Board of directors
as of 06/15/2023
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

Dr. Mary Lou Finley

Antioch University

Term: 2016 - 2023

Board co-chair

Yvette Arellano

FenceLine Watch

Term: 2018 - 2023

Mary Lou Finley

Jeff Snyder

Anthony Rogers Wright

Blake Kremer

Yvette Arellano

Daniel Lee

Margaret Flowers

Rivera Sun

David McLanahan

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 1/20/2022

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
Heterosexual or Straight

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data