BiodiversityWorks Inc

aka BiodiversityWorks   |   Vineyard Haven, MA   |
GuideStar Charity Check

BiodiversityWorks Inc

EIN: 43-1331825


BiodiversityWorks' mission is to promote conservation of biodiversity through wildlife research and monitoring while providing opportunities for people to engage in hands-on nature study.

Ruling year info


Director/Wildlife Biologist

Luanne Johnson PhD

Asst. Director/Wildlife Biologist

Liz Olson M.S.

Main address

455 State Rd. PMB 179

Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 USA

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Subject area info

Natural resources

Wildlife biodiversity

Youth organizing

Population served info

Children and youth


NTEE code info

Wildlife Preservation/Protection (D30)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Martha's Vineyard is a 100 square mile island off the coast of Cape Cod. While a little over 1/3 of the island is set aside as open space or conservation land, these properties do not provide enough habitat to preserve the island's biodiversity. As development continues, we need a stewardship ethic in our community and a community of residents able to assist in habitat preservation on private land.

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?

Beach-Nesting Bird Conservation Program

Monitoring and Protecting state and federally listed piping plovers and least terns as well as American oystercatchers nesting on beaches.  We place symbolic fencing and signs to prevent human disturbance or trampling of nests, use predator exclosures to protect piping plover nests and low predator fencing to protect tern and oystercatcher nests.  We monitor all pairs to determine success or failure.
We also create signage to increase awareness and understanding of these birds that informs people on how to share the shore. Several of our sign designs are used by other organizations.

Population(s) Served

Mapping, and monitoring river otter activity describing the diet of coastal river otters (Lontra canadensis) in our region.

Population(s) Served

With sea levels rising, shorelines with sandy banks and cliffs are changing annually. While Belted Kingfishers and Swallows (bank and northern rough-winged) are not rare species, we currently have very little baseline information on their numbers and productivity on Martha's Vineyard. An Island-wide survey will provide a baseline for the future by which we can assess declining or increasing populations of these species of birds. We invited citizens to assist us in surveying the entire shoreline of the Island, including shorelines of our Great Ponds and lagoon for suitable habitat.

Population(s) Served

Northern Long-eared bats (NLEB) have declined by over 90% in New England due to White Nose Syndrome (WNS). Martha's Vineyard had abundant populations of NLEB in the late 1990's. We are collaborating with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and our partners on Long Island and Nantucket to determine the factors allowing this bat species and little brown bats to persist in coastal environments despite infection with the fungus that causes WNS.
We recently determined that the NLEB are hibernating locally using crawl spaces or underground areas under homes that mimic cave environments. As the current development boom is resulting in the tear down of many homes with suitable crawl spaces our current federal grant is supporting our work to build hibernation sites on conservation land and attract the bats to use these.

Population(s) Served

A collaborative project with another non-profit, Village & Wilderness Project, Natural Neighbors works with property owners and neighborhood associations to learn about their interests in nature and identify current and potential biodiversity contributions on their land. Then, we’ll offer customized management recommendations to benefit plants, pollinators, and wildlife. We’ll help you develop a stewardship plan compatible with your time and resources that includes adding features such as cover/shelter and water in the appropriate locations.

Population(s) Served

Launched in February 2021, The Martha’s Vineyard Atlas of Life is a joint project of BiodiversityWorks and the Betsy and Jesse Fink Family Foundation. A community-driven project to document the unique biodiversity of Martha’s Vineyard, the MVAL seeks to inspire and support nature enthusiasts of all sorts. Our goal is an active, informed, and enthusiastic community working to understand and protect the biodiversity that today’s Vineyarders are stewarding for future generations.
To accomplish this goal we have a website where observations, past and present, are compiled into species lists along with related educational resources. We also have an active iNaturalist project with the same name gathering species observations by community scientists each day.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

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.

BiodiversityWorks engages the Martha’s Vineyard community in wildlife conservation and habitat stewardship across the entire island. Our priority is to grow understanding of the habitat needs of rare and common wildlife and the current issues that threaten wildlife populations or cause population imbalances.

Our model is conservation through participation; participation from private landowners, land trusts, and volunteers who learn from our wildlife projects and often work alongside our staff. They apply what they learn from our wildlife monitoring and research projects to habitat stewardship and wildlife protection.

We work to inspire and support budding wildlife conservation biologists via mentorship programs; and engaged citizens through volunteer opportunities and education about wildlife in their backyards.

Our staff are trained wildlife biologists able to study and monitor a variety of terrestrial and aquatic wildlife species. We have lived in our community for two decades and have built excellent relationships with private landowners across the island who welcome us onto their property to study wildlife. Our board is actively engaged as volunteers in the field as well as assisting with bookkeeping, strategic planning, communications, and public outreach. We have a part-time communications person, who assists with newsletters and Annual Reports.

We have grown from a new non-profit in 2011, with income of $30K to a stable and effective organization with the income we need to meet an annual budget of $240,000.

We are the only organization focusing on the crisis facing bats on our island (white-nose syndrome), collaborating with Long Island and Nantucket to locate previously unknown hibernation sites for rare bats and protecting them.

We monitor and protect beach-nesting birds at 14 - 17 sites around the island. These birds would be unprotected without our efforts to protect their nests and chicks as well as educate beach goers on how to 'share the shore' with them.

Our mentoring program for young adults is a unique internship as we spend dedicated time teaching, rather than just putting interns to work. We also make a commitment to our interns for life; offering mentoring as they decide on colleges, areas of focus, and search for jobs. We have hosted 24 teens and young adults in our program since 2011.

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 2021 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 782.04 over 9 years

Months of cash in 2021 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 5.3 over 9 years

Fringe rate in 2021 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 8% over 9 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

BiodiversityWorks Inc

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

BiodiversityWorks Inc

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

BiodiversityWorks Inc

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of BiodiversityWorks Inc’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 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$19,804 $26,567 $41,604 $254,621 $178,659
As % of expenses -9.7% 12.8% 18.2% 93.1% 41.1%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$23,628 $24,273 $40,034 $245,920 $168,927
As % of expenses -11.3% 11.6% 17.3% 87.1% 38.0%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $185,792 $232,617 $638,188 $344,130 $455,990
Total revenue, % change over prior year -38.8% 25.2% 174.4% -46.1% 32.5%
Program services revenue 5.1% 6.9% 5.6% 14.5% 8.6%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 0.0%
Government grants 3.4% 4.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 91.5% 89.0% 94.3% 83.0% 88.7%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 2.4% 2.7%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $204,780 $207,335 $229,197 $273,605 $434,310
Total expenses, % change over prior year -11.4% 1.2% 10.5% 19.4% 58.7%
Personnel 83.3% 78.8% 75.1% 80.8% 73.5%
Professional fees 1.6% 3.1% 6.2% 1.4% 5.4%
Occupancy 3.7% 3.0% 3.4% 6.4% 4.9%
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 11.5% 15.1% 15.3% 11.4% 16.1%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Total expenses (after depreciation) $208,604 $209,629 $230,767 $282,306 $444,042
One month of savings $17,065 $17,278 $19,100 $22,800 $36,193
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $4,731 $380,488 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $225,669 $226,907 $254,598 $685,594 $480,235

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Months of cash 4.3 5.7 20.4 6.4 5.8
Months of cash and investments 4.3 5.7 20.4 6.4 5.8
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 3.2 4.7 6.2 -0.3 4.7
Balance sheet composition info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Cash $74,126 $98,169 $389,237 $144,872 $211,678
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $4,033 $6,645 $114,526 $48,630 $6,580
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $11,950 $11,950 $15,950 $396,438 $396,438
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 52.0% 71.2% 58.6% 4.6% 7.0%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 0.6% 2.9% 0.6% 0.6% 0.0%
Unrestricted net assets $60,608 $84,881 $124,915 $370,835 $539,762
Temporarily restricted net assets $22,757 $21,472 N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 $0 N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $22,757 $21,472 $388,859 $204,781 $47,802
Total net assets $83,365 $106,353 $513,774 $575,616 $587,564

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Material data errors No No No No No


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

Director/Wildlife Biologist

Luanne Johnson PhD

B.S. in Zoology, Butler University,1988 PhD in Environmental Studies/Conservation Biology, Antioch University New England 2016 Conservation Biologist for 27 years, working to recover shorebird and songbird populations and conducting research to understand limiting factors for species in decline. Supervising 2 - 10 staff.

Asst. Director/Wildlife Biologist

Liz Olson

B.S. Wildlife Management, University of New Hampshire '03 M.S. Conservation Biology, Antioch University New England '13 15 years of experience as a field biologist, planning field research, and communicating findings, mentoring high school and college students.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

BiodiversityWorks Inc

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.

BiodiversityWorks Inc

Board of directors
as of 11/28/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

David Faber

Retired, 7th&8th Grade Science Teacher at The Edgartown School

Term: 2021 - 2024

Christopher Neill, PhD

Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Research Center

David Faber

7th/8th grade Science Teacher, Edgartown School

Elizabeth Olson, M.S.

Asst. Director/Biologist/BiodiversityWorks

Luanne Johnson, PhD


Margaret Curtin

Margaret Curtin Designs

Walt Looney

Retired general counsel of Horizon Asset LLP

Oscar Thompson

University of Georgia, Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant

Christine Homer

MV Mediation/ retired attorney

Sally Ann Shreeves


David Padulo

Guardian Life Financial Services

Jeffrey Peters

Spades SBC

Connie Rogers Roosevelt

Retired editor from William Morrow

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 11/28/2023

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:

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The organization's co-leader identifies as:

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Heterosexual or straight
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Race & ethnicity

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Sexual orientation

No data


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