Ohio Citizen Action Education Fund

Cleveland, OH   |
GuideStar Charity Check

Ohio Citizen Action Education Fund

EIN: 34-1208940


Ohio Citizen Action Education Fund informs, organizes and mobilizes people to advocate for public interests. In person, by phone, and online, we engage people in actions that protect public health, improve environmental quality, and benefit consumers. Our campaigns connect Ohioans and build a movement to protect democracy and create a sustainable future.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Melissa English

Program Director

Rachael Belz

Main address

1511 Brookpard Rd.

Cleveland, OH 44109 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Citizens Policy Center



Subject area info


Natural resources

Public affairs

Civic participation

Community organizing

Population served info


NTEE code info

Public, Society Benefit - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (W99)

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Citizen Participation (W24)

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Ohioans care about the issues on which we work- environmental quality, consumer rights, government and corporate accountability- and yet there are so many things competing for their time, they rarely research those issues or strategize about how and where their own limited resources might make the greatest impact. We fill this public education and grassroots organizing gap and make it simple for people to actively engage in our public interest campaigns.

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?

Make Ohio a clean energy leader

As part of the Ohio Climate & Clean Energy coalition, we work to promote comprehensive, equitable energy policy to expedite the transition from fossil fuel use, ensure the lowest-possible bills for consumers, stimulate the green energy sector of our economy, reduce threats to public health and environmental quality. We also fight utility rate hikes related to proposed bailouts of coal and nuclear plants and promote and support new, utility-scale renewable energy projects. Since 2020 we've done grassroots outreach for the Power a Clean Future Ohio campaign, which prioritizes local community action to reduce carbon emissions, stop energy waste and save customers money on electric bills.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

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.

Our goals are to break down complex issues, effectively communicate them to Ohioans and provide people with training and opportunity to exercise their rights as citizens and advocate for themselves.

Our strategies include; conducting our own research and compiling others' research; releasing reports and other publications; training people to do everything from researching polluters in their community to writing and delivering testimony at public hearings to organizing their neighbors; campaign strategizing; grassroots and online organizing; media work and coalition building.

We've been blessed with massive human capital. Our top leaders not only have decades of non-profit administration and organizing experience, but have all come from field or phone canvass backgrounds. We understand the power of canvassing to make change, because we've all done it. That long history of organizing in Ohio has also led to development of relationships with other consumer and environmental leaders, both statewide and nationally. These relationships form the basis of our successful coalition work that has allowed us to claim victory on 75% of campaigns undertaken in the last 10 years.

Though we've worked on dozens of different issues since 1975, our recent work has been about energy, partly because it encompasses both our environmental and consumer focuses. In 1999, when the Ohio legislature voted to de-regulate the electricity market, we saw a threat to consumers and worked to insert language into the deregulation bill that would allow consumers to choose their provider in the new, competitive market. Since then, we've leveraged customer choice to not only save consumers millions of dollars, but also to guide aggregated communities to request 100% renewable energy from their providers. In the last two decades as well, we've:
* won a lawsuit against American Electric Power, requiring them to spend $4 billion on pollution reduction at its coal-fired power plants, blocked a 1,000 MW coal fired power plant from being built in Meigs county, the fifth such plant in a 12 mile radius; * worked with state and national allies to close 22 of Ohio's oldest, dirtiest coal boilers; * defeated coal plant bailout proposals at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and Federa Energy Regulatory Commission; * and stopping fixed rate increases proposed by AEP and Duke that would have charged customers $120 and $192 more per year respectively, regardless of usage.


Ohio Citizen Action Education Fund
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 2021 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 0.21 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2021 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 0.3 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2021 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 18% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

Source: IRS Form 990 info

Ohio Citizen Action Education Fund

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Ohio Citizen Action Education Fund

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

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

Ohio Citizen Action Education Fund

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

This snapshot of Ohio Citizen Action Education Fund’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 $36,019 -$2,206 $48,389 -$61,588 $98,376
As % of expenses 17.2% -0.8% 12.0% -10.0% 19.4%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $36,019 -$5,133 $42,070 -$70,590 $89,004
As % of expenses 17.2% -1.8% 10.3% -11.3% 17.3%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $201,490 $308,125 $438,722 $644,095 $491,455
Total revenue, % change over prior year -48.4% 52.9% 42.4% 46.8% -23.7%
Program services revenue 2.0% 25.3% 0.0% 3.6% 1.0%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 4.1%
All other grants and contributions 98.0% 74.7% 100.0% 96.4% 94.8%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $209,271 $281,248 $401,639 $614,063 $506,476
Total expenses, % change over prior year -40.9% 34.4% 42.8% 52.9% -17.5%
Personnel 39.7% 22.5% 28.5% 31.4% 35.3%
Professional fees 47.7% 67.5% 52.3% 50.4% 51.7%
Occupancy 4.5% 5.1% 4.1% 4.2% 5.2%
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 8.0% 4.9% 15.1% 14.0% 7.8%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Total expenses (after depreciation) $209,271 $284,175 $407,958 $623,065 $515,848
One month of savings $17,439 $23,437 $33,470 $51,172 $42,206
Debt principal payment $1,000 $9,000 $10,000 $0 $25,300
Fixed asset additions $13,016 $0 $21,066 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $240,726 $316,612 $472,494 $674,237 $583,354

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Months of cash 0.6 0.6 0.2 0.8 0.4
Months of cash and investments 0.6 0.6 0.2 0.8 0.4
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets -1.5 -1.3 -0.1 -1.1 0.6
Balance sheet composition info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Cash $9,650 $14,287 $5,963 $43,458 $14,992
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $39,583 $39,697 $57,342 $74,025 $44,688
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $13,016 $43,257 $64,323 $73,143 $46,226
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 0.0% 70.9% 57.5% 62.9% 61.5%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 115.3% 78.4% 50.2% 54.2% 46.0%
Unrestricted net assets -$13,547 -$18,680 $23,390 -$47,200 $41,804
Temporarily restricted net assets $4,000 $33,083 N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 $0 N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $4,000 $33,083 $21,777 $113,397 $0
Total net assets -$9,547 $14,403 $45,167 $66,197 $41,804

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.

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

Executive Director

Melissa English

Melissa English has worked for non-profit groups from PBS to Greenpeace since 1989. She has done many jobs within the organization since joining the staff in 1995, including serving on the board for a time. She's served in as many capacities as possible, because she understands that active and engaged citizens are the best possible hedge against abuses of government and corporate power. Over the years, she has helped the organization to secure organic produce in major grocery stores, negotiate pollution prevention agreements between industrial and residential neighbors and fight against mountaintop removal coal mining. Ms. English became OCAEF Executive Director in 2011.

Program Director

Rachael Belz

Rachael Belz has been a leader in working with communities who are affected by toxic chemical pollution, since moving from Denver to join the staff in 1996. She pioneered successful “good neighbor campaigns" at Cincinnati Specialties, Rohm and Haas, AK Steel, and Sunoco. As coal program organizer, Rachael traveled to communities across Ohio in the successful campaign to prevent American Municipal Power from building a new coal plant in Southeast Ohio, and played a key role in calling on Ohio utilities to close their highly-polluting coal plants. Throughout her years in the organization, Rachael has also played key roles in statewide coordination, including training and supervising new organizers, fundraising, working closely with the field and phone canvass.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Ohio Citizen Action Education Fund

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.

Ohio Citizen Action Education Fund

Board of directors
as of 02/23/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Heather Zoller

Heather Zoller

Brooke Smith

Phil Leppla

Beth Havens

Rhonda Barnes-Kloth

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? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/23/2023

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 (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


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

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/02/2021

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

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.