PLATINUM2023

Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper

Protect, preserve, and improve the water of the Ogeechee River basin

aka Ogeechee Riverkeeper   |   Savannah, GA   |  www.ogeecheeriverkeeper.org
GuideStar Charity Check

Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper

EIN: 58-2636669


Mission

To protect, preserve, and improve the water quality of the Ogeechee River basin

Ruling year info

2002

Riverkeeper & Executive Director

Damon Mullis

Main address

PO Box 16206

Savannah, GA 31416 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Canoochee Riverkeeper

Friends of the Ogeechee River

EIN

58-2636669

Subject area info

Water resources

Rivers and lakes

Land resources

Aquatic wildlife protection

Population served info

Adults

NTEE code info

Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation and Management (C32)

Land Resources Conservation (C34)

Fisheries (D33)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Georgia's Ogeechee watershed encompasses 5,500 square miles of coastal swamps, salt marsh, wetlands, rivers, creeks, and forested uplands along the coastal plain. The watershed is experiencing increased development pressure from population growth, water withdrawals, wastewater discharges, and climactic changes leading to sea level rise and increased frequency and severity of storms. These pressures are causing dramatic changes in water quality and quantity, threatening serious ecological decline and collapse of wildlife and fisheries populations, and leading to social and economic disruptions among local communities. Ogeechee Riverkeeper was founded to reverse these threats and to preserve and improve the watershed's ecological condition and unique cultural heritage, and to protect the quality of life for the people who call the watershed home.

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?

Community-Based Learning

Our Community-Based Learning program is designed to bridge people with one another and their local waterways through story-telling and outdoor experiences, citizen science training, K-12 curriculum development and after school activities, and higher education collaborations and fellowships.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Watershed Watch collects and monitors information on the health of our waters, identifies sources of pollution, and holds polluters accountable.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Our Water Advocacy and Communication program seeks to promote clean and abundant water throughout the Ogeechee watershed today and in the future by translating and communicating science into education, policy, and community action.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Awards

River Conservationist of the Year -- Chandra Brown 2005

Georgia River Network

Affiliations & memberships

Waterkeeper Alliance 2012

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of new organization members

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Families, Work status and occupations

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Consistently adding new members as well as retaining donors.

Number of demonstration project or pilot sites

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Goal: Begin/complete at least one new demonstration or pilot project on stormwater green infrastructure/LID per year. (Community-Based Learning)

Number of acres of land protected

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Goal: Protect more marshlands, wetlands, and forested lands throughout the watershed. (Watershed Watch)

Number of public events held to further mission

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Water Advocacy and Communication

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Increase our number of events that educate and inform our members about specifics issues/initiatives.

Total number of volunteer hours contributed to the organization

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

1170 Total Volunteer Hours; 150 of those hours for Protect the Vernon project; 115 of those for Don't Litter Lotts

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.

Ogeechee Riverkeeper's mission is to protect, preserve, and improve the water quality of the Ogeechee River watershed.

We see ourselves as stewards for both the watershed and the local communities who call the watershed home. We seek to be bridge builders first by empowering local voices to become stewards of the watershed and instilling a deep sense of interconnectedness between the past, present, and future of life along and within the Ogeechee's local waterways.

We aim to accomplish this mission through specific goals and activities within three distinct program areas:

1. Watershed Watch
-Provide citizens with annual Georgia Adopt-A-Stream training workshops on chemical, biological, and bacteriological monitoring.
-Identify and monitor point and non-point sources of water pollution in partnership with public and private scientific institutions.
-Respond to and track Pollution Hotline calls and citizen complaints with follow-up to appropriate agencies.
-Review and comment on proposed permits for water use, land disturbance, discharge, and other regulatory issues that impact the Ogeechee watershed.
-Hold polluters accountable through legal and legislative actions.

2. Community-Based Learning
-Recruit and train local volunteer monitors through the Watershed Watch Program's Adopt-A-Stream workshops.
-Build and maintain partnerships with watershed K-12 schools to develop lesson plans, curriculum, and service learning opportunities.
-Organize paddle trips and hikes with naturalists, scientists, and historians.
-Partner with watershed communities to organize local clean-ups of stream banks, public landings, road ways, etc.
-Organize advocacy training programs for local communities.
-Collaborate with creative artists on educational and outreach programs.

3. Water Advocacy and Communication
-Mobilize communities in the Ogeechee watershed to advocate for protection of drinkable, swimmable, and fishable waters.
-Translate and disseminate science-based information on regional and local threats to the Ogeechee's natural and cultural heritage.
-Partner with river and coastal communities across southeast Georgia and the South Atlantic region to promote and protect clean water.
-Build and maintain relationships with federal, state, and local elected officials representing the watershed's 22 counties.

We are guided in our work at Ogeechee Riverkeeper by 4 core principles:

1. Informed Advocacy : listen and learn before action
2. Inclusive Communities : cultural connections to place matter
3. Interconnected Landscapes : ecological connectivity matters
4. Interpersonal Empowerment : our differences are what make us all stronger together

In summary, Ogeechee Riverkeeper's strategy is that in order to be effective advocates we must listen and learn before we act; to be effective monitors and educators we must ensure that cultural connections to place and ecological connectivity are accounted for; and to be effective long-term stewards of our watershed we must emphasize that while we may have differences in opinions and interests that those differences are also what make us stronger together.

With over a decade of experience working to protect our waterways and local communities we have built a strong network of individuals and organizations. Ogeechee Riverkeeper is also a Member of the Waterkeeper Alliance and a leadership member of the Georgia Water Coalition.

Our board of directors and staff of accomplished professionals are dedicated to ensuring that the organization meets our goals and is responsive to the needs of our membership.

Our members and a corps of dedicated volunteers monitor our waterways, assist us in clean-ups, and help us stay on top of potential pollution throughout the watershed. Our two-person full-time staff is located in Savannah, Georgia with partners throughout the watershed from Wadley to Sunbury to Claxton, and we have a part-time staffer located in Statesboro, Georgia. We have a 24-hour pollution hotline and motorized boat for on-water investigations and monitoring.

Damon Mullis, the Riverkeeper and Executive Director, grew up in rural south Georgia where he spent his free time outdoors fishing and exploring local rivers and streams. His time in the great outdoors led to an appreciation of the natural world and a passion for understanding how it works, a quest that led him to Georgia Southern University where he earned bachelor’s and master’s of science degrees in biology.

His research has focused on how physical and chemical changes in freshwater ecosystems affect their biological communities with projects, including studies on the connectivity between rivers and floodplains, the effects of beaver dams on freshwater invertebrate communities, secondary production of macroinvertebrates, nutrient monitoring, and water quality monitoring in rivers and streams.

In response to one of the largest fish kills in Georgia's history, Ogeechee Riverkeeper actively addressed illegal pollution discharged into the river as well as the lack of environmental law enforcement by EPD. Concerned citizens lost trust in EPD, and looked to us for help. In July 2012, with the expertise of GreenLaw and Stack & Associates we filed a citizens' lawsuit under the U.S. Clean Water Act against King America Finishing for over six years of clean water law violations. In 2014, Ogeechee Riverkeeper and King America Finishing reached a settlement which includes a stricter discharge permit for wastewater (which is now treated to a cleaner standard than ever before), extensive monitoring of both the wastewater and the river itself, and funds set aside for river-specific projects.

We partner with the Georgia Water Coalition, a group of water advocates from across the State to push Georgia's legislators towards greater clean water protections. We are working to prevent HB545, a bill that would attract factory farming and pushing to deny a permit for a landfill in Screven County that would affect the watershed. Additionally, we are active in the fight to reduce coal ash in our state.

Building on our legacy fighting for clean water in Georgia, Ogeechee Riverkeeper continues to stand alongside local communities in this fight to ensure that our children have clean waterways, abundant wildlife and fisheries, and healthy communities for at least seven more generations.

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.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    We bring together the voices of citizens so that it will be heard in a unified manner. This is achieved by acting as an organizing force for advocacy and legislation, as well as a repository and responder to concerns.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • 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,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Increase in online and physical surveys. Streamlining of e-newsletter and notice program. Expansion of social media efforts.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our community partners,

  • 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 people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), 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?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper
Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
NET GAIN/LOSS:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2020 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

39.50

Average of 42.99 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2020 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

64.6

Average of 55.7 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2020 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

8%

Average of 8% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

Source: IRS Form 990 info

Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper

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

Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

This snapshot of Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper’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 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $35,588 $35,748 -$152,681 $80,955 $72,926
As % of expenses 12.4% 15.8% -74.7% 39.0% 28.5%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $34,299 $34,403 -$154,026 $79,610 $71,581
As % of expenses 11.9% 15.1% -74.8% 38.1% 27.8%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $165,584 $164,603 $128,863 $248,336 $192,887
Total revenue, % change over prior year 12.5% -0.6% -21.7% 92.7% -22.3%
Program services revenue 0.0% 0.5% 0.1% 3.4% 20.4%
Membership dues 6.5% 6.7% 9.5% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 20.1% 20.9% 21.7% 13.5% 15.7%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 70.6% 56.8% 37.2% 71.4% 51.8%
Other revenue 2.8% 15.2% 31.5% 11.7% 12.1%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $287,765 $225,898 $204,466 $207,617 $255,805
Total expenses, % change over prior year 9.3% -21.5% -9.5% 1.5% 23.2%
Personnel 31.8% 23.9% 53.0% 46.1% 42.2%
Professional fees 15.3% 16.3% 6.1% 5.6% 20.3%
Occupancy 0.0% 0.0% 0.9% 0.8% 2.4%
Interest 0.7% 1.0% 1.0% 0.9% 0.9%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 52.2% 58.8% 38.9% 46.6% 34.2%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Total expenses (after depreciation) $289,054 $227,243 $205,811 $208,962 $257,150
One month of savings $23,980 $18,825 $17,039 $17,301 $21,317
Debt principal payment $0 $2,312 $2,432 $2,564 $2,326
Fixed asset additions $52,457 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $365,491 $248,380 $225,282 $228,827 $280,793

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Months of cash 61.6 78.9 76.0 78.9 64.6
Months of cash and investments 61.6 78.9 76.0 78.9 64.6
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 53.5 69.9 68.1 71.6 61.4
Balance sheet composition info 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Cash $1,477,721 $1,484,416 $1,294,922 $1,364,637 $1,377,744
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $0 $0 $0 $0 $1,900
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $52,457 $52,457 $52,457 $52,457 $52,457
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 2.5% 5.0% 7.6% 10.1% 12.7%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 2.9% 2.8% 3.0% 2.6% 2.5%
Unrestricted net assets $1,288,449 $1,322,852 $1,168,826 $1,248,436 $1,320,017
Temporarily restricted net assets $195,875 $169,134 $134,753 N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 $0 $0 N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $195,875 $169,134 $134,753 $126,402 $70,484
Total net assets $1,484,324 $1,491,986 $1,303,579 $1,374,838 $1,390,501

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Material data errors No No No No No

Operations

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

Documents
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Riverkeeper & Executive Director

Damon Mullis

Damon grew up in rural south Georgia where he spent his free time outdoors fishing and exploring local rivers and streams. His time in the great outdoors led to an appreciation of the natural world and a passion for understanding how it works, a quest that led him to Georgia Southern University where he earned Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Biology. His research has focused on how physical and chemical changes in freshwater ecosystems affect their biological communities with projects, including studies on the connectivity between rivers and floodplains, the effects of beaver dams on freshwater invertebrate communities, secondary production of macroinvertebrates, nutrient monitoring, and water quality monitoring in rivers and streams. When time permits, the Mullis clan, which also includes his wife, daughter, and a rambunctious canine, enjoys fishing, hiking, birding, and camping.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Compensation
Other
Related
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.

Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper

Board of directors
as of 01/23/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Clay Mobley

Clay Mobley

Optimum Water Solutions

Lind Hollingsworth

Studio School, Savannah

Ann Hartzell

community activist

Checo Colón-Gaud

Georgia Southern University

Carolyn Altman

Georgia Southern University

Jody Slater

Retired

Michael Dayoub

Alpha Financial Management

Sue Ebanks

Savannah State University

Katherine Cummings

Community Activist

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 1/20/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/28/2022

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

Data
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • 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.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • 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.