aka The Ruth Bancroft Garden   |   Walnut Creek, CA   |
GuideStar Charity Check


EIN: 68-0310041


The mission of the Ruth Bancroft Garden, Inc. is to preserve this exceptional example of garden design and to continue to develop its collection of water-conserving plants for the education and enjoyment of the public.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

Ms. Gretchen Bartzen

Main address

1552 Bancroft Road

Walnut Creek, CA 94598 USA

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Subject area info

Bilingual education

STEM education

Out-of-school learning

Early childhood education

Water conservation

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Population served info

Children and youth

Low-income people

Working poor


NTEE code info

Botanical Gardens, Arboreta and Botanical Organizations (C41)

Botanical, Horticultural, and Landscape Services (C40)

Garden Club, Horticultural Programs (C42)

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?

Children's Education Program

The program is a two-hour, interactive exploration of The Ruth Bancroft Garden. The curriculum is designed to meet the California science and history content standards for third grade. Students take a guided walk through the garden to learn about succulent plants and adaptation, propagation, flowers and pollinators, and local history. They will see many wonderful examples of drought-tolerant plants from around the world that are appropriate for Bay Area gardens.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

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?

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Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31
Financial documents
2021 990 2021
done  Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant. info

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 26.96 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2021 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 6.7 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2021 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 11% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


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


Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of RUTH BANCROFT GARDEN 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 $858,845 $2,365,690 $1,138,973 $328,705 $196,730
As % of expenses 104.4% 282.1% 117.7% 26.3% 10.8%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $858,845 $2,319,773 $1,000,229 $176,442 $38,333
As % of expenses 104.4% 262.3% 90.4% 12.6% 1.9%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $1,681,117 $3,204,214 $1,537,991 $1,561,783 $2,150,535
Total revenue, % change over prior year 11.2% 90.6% -52.0% 1.5% 37.7%
Program services revenue 5.0% 3.0% 16.2% 21.1% 54.2%
Membership dues 5.8% 3.3% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.2% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 8.6% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 74.4% 92.6% 75.9% 57.2% 31.1%
Other revenue 14.7% 1.0% 7.9% 13.1% 14.7%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $822,272 $838,531 $967,690 $1,248,636 $1,828,772
Total expenses, % change over prior year 20.0% 2.0% 15.4% 29.0% 46.5%
Personnel 62.1% 66.9% 67.0% 67.6% 71.2%
Professional fees 3.8% 3.2% 5.4% 2.2% 3.2%
Occupancy 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Interest 0.1% 0.2% 0.3% 0.1% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 34.1% 29.6% 27.3% 30.0% 25.6%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Total expenses (after depreciation) $822,272 $884,448 $1,106,434 $1,400,899 $1,987,169
One month of savings $68,523 $69,878 $80,641 $104,053 $152,398
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $4,953 $0 $7,154
Fixed asset additions $988,287 $2,366,175 $1,211,089 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $1,879,082 $3,320,501 $2,403,117 $1,504,952 $2,146,721

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Months of cash 16.4 3.1 1.6 2.4 2.0
Months of cash and investments 16.4 3.1 1.6 2.4 2.0
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 16.7 -0.6 -1.4 0.7 1.1
Balance sheet composition info 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Cash $1,121,633 $215,157 $130,820 $249,216 $311,832
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $0 $492,000 $251,120 $168,027 $112,250
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $2,066,985 $4,402,785 $5,613,874 $5,751,851 $5,959,781
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 18.6% 9.1% 9.6% 12.0% 15.8%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 0.8% 3.6% 8.7% 6.8% 5.2%
Unrestricted net assets $2,828,097 $3,959,672 $4,959,901 $5,136,343 $5,174,676
Temporarily restricted net assets $0 $622,283 N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 $0 N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $0 $622,283 $53,611 $38,053 $70,344
Total net assets $2,828,097 $4,581,955 $5,013,512 $5,174,396 $5,245,020

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

Principal Officer

Ms. Gretchen Bartzen

Gretchen joined the Garden board in 2006 and became the volunteer co-executive director of the Garden with fellow board member and long-time Garden volunteer, Billie Hopper, in 2012. Prior to her service at the Garden, Gretchen served as Director of Development and Parent Relations at The Seven Hills School from 1995 to 2012. At Seven Hills she directed two successful $5 million dollar capital campaigns for building projects, from 2000-2002, and then from 2008-2011. Through her 17 year tenure at Seven Hills she also steadily increased volunteer involvement, annual giving, and the school’s endowment. Gretchen also brings 19 years of experience as a secondary public and private school level educator to her current role as President of the Board of Directors of the Garden.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990


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.


Board of directors
as of 08/23/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Ms. Gretchen Bartzen

The Ruth Bancroft Garden Inc.

Term: 2021 - 2023

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 7/14/2022

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

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data


No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data