Non-profit

Ceres

Ceres organization logo and wordmark (link)
Location:

BOSTON, MA

Tax ID:

22-3053747

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $17,866,681
Expenses: $14,937,631
Assets: $17,190,782

Formation:

1989

Type:

Environmentalist Group

President:

Mindy S. Lubber

Ceres is a left-of-center environmentalist group based in Boston, Massachusetts. Ceres claims to make the ‘business case’ for climate action;[1] in practice, this involves leveraging a network of investors totaling more than $32 trillion in assets to pressure companies into adopting Ceres’ preferred policies under the guise of such initiatives as Climate Action 100+. [2] Despite reporting no direct government aid on its 2017 tax return, Ceres maintains a close proximity to public officials, most notably those associated with the government worker pension funds of strongly Democratic New York and California. [3]

Background

Ceres collaborates with members of the organization’s Investor Network, Company Network, Policy Network, and Nonprofit Network to advance its agenda.

Investor Network

Ceres claims its Investor Network is holds $26 trillion in assets managed by over 160 institutional investors including public pension funds. [4]  The Investor Network’s stated purpose, among other ambiguous climate related outcomes, is to “pressure stock exchanges and capital market regulators to improve climate and sustainability risk disclosure, and opportunities to advocate for stronger climate, clean energy and water policies at all levels of government.” [5]

Company Network

The 50+ companies that sponsor Ceres (including Apple, Bloomberg, and Exelon) receive access to public policy analysts, opportunities for public policy engagement, and the Ceres Investor Network in exchange for an annual membership fee. [6] Ceres asserts membership is contingent on an “executive-level, public-facing commitment to improve environmental and social performance.” [7]

Ceres Company Network and other Ceres network members have battled over their environmental policies. Rainforest Action Network, a member of the Ceres Nonprofit Network, released a report attacking JPMorgan Chase, a member of the Ceres Company Network, for investing $195.66 billion in traditional energy between 2016 and 2018. [8] The report states this is nearly a third higher than another member of the Ceres Company Network, Wells Fargo. [9]

Policy Network

The Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) Network “provides members with the tools and knowledge they need to effectively engage with state and federal policymakers on climate and energy policies.” [10] According to its 2017 tax return, Ceres spent $55,987 on formal lobbying. [11]

Nonprofit Network

The Nonprofit Network is composed of more than 90 organizations that work with Ceres to advance environmentalist policy preferences “through direct engagement with companies, investors or policymakers; or participating in campaigns and events.” [12]

Proximity to Public Funds

Despite reporting no direct government aid on its 2017 tax return, Ceres maintains a close proximity to public officials, most notably the government worker pension funds of strongly Democratic New York and California. [13]

Susan Sayers

Chief Development Officer Susan Sayers has a history of procuring government funding. During her tenure as Senior Foundation Relations Associate[14] at Pathfinder International, annual revenue from government grants grew from $0[15] in 2001 to $41,215,471 in 2004. [16] At Partners in Health, annual revenue from government grants grew from $0[17] in 2005 (Director of Foundation Relations)[18] to $16,317,943[19] in 2011 (Chief Development Officer). [20]

Public Pension Funds

The Board of Directors at Ceres includes New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli (D), the sole Trustee of the $209 billion New York Common Retirement Fund, and Alicia Seiger, who was appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) and Comptroller DiNapoli to the Fund’s Decarbonization Advisory Panel in 2018. [21] As of 2018, the Fund’s custodial bank is JPMorgan Chase. [22] Members of the Ceres Investor Network include the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, New York State Teachers’ Retirement System, New York City Office of the Comptroller, and the New York State Comptroller. [23] The Climate Action 100+ Global Steering Committee includes Anne Simpson, the Director of Board Governance and Strategy at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. [24]

References

  1. “About Us.” Ceres. Accessed April 29, 2019. https://www.ceres.org/about-us. ^
  2. “Climate Action 100.” Ceres. Accessed April 29, 2019. https://www.ceres.org/initiatives/climate-action-100. ^
  3. Ceres, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2016, Part VIII, Line 1e. ^
  4. “Ceres Investor Network.” Ceres. Accessed April 29, 2019. https://www.ceres.org/networks/ceres-investor-network. ^
  5. “Ceres Investor Network.” Ceres. Accessed April 29, 2019. https://www.ceres.org/networks/ceres-investor-network. ^
  6. “Join Ceres Company Network.” Ceres. Accessed April 29, 2019. https://www.ceres.org/networks/ceres-company-network/join-ceres-company-network. ^
  7. “Join Ceres Company Network.” Ceres. Accessed April 29, 2019. https://www.ceres.org/networks/ceres-company-network/join-ceres-company-network. ^
  8. Gürsöz, Ayse. “Banking on Climate Change 2019.” Rainforest Action Network. March 19, 2019. Accessed April 29, 2019. https://www.ran.org/bankingonclimatechange2019/. ^
  9. [1] Banking on Climate Change – Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card 2019. Issue brief. Accessed April 29, 2019. https://www.ran.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Banking_on_Climate_Change_2019_vFINAL1.pdf. ^
  10. “Ceres Policy Network.” Ceres. Accessed April 29, 2019. https://www.ceres.org/networks/ceres-policy-network. ^
  11. Ceres, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2016, Part IX, Line 11d. ^
  12. “Ceres Nonprofit Network.” Ceres. Accessed April 29, 2019. https://www.ceres.org/networks/ceres-nonprofit-network. ^
  13. Ceres, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2016, Part VIII, Line 1e. ^
  14. LinkedIn. Accessed April 29, 2019. https://www.linkedin.com/in/susan-sayers-0a63594/. ^
  15. Pathfinder International, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2000, Part I, Line 1c. ^
  16. Pathfinder International, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2003, Part I, Line 1c. ^
  17. Partners in Health, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2005, Part I, Line 1c. ^
  18. LinkedIn. Accessed April 29, 2019. https://www.linkedin.com/in/susan-sayers-0a63594/. ^
  19. XPartners in Health, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2011, Part VIII, Line 1e. ^
  20. ^
  21. “Alicia Seiger.” Ceres. Accessed April 29, 2019. https://www.ceres.org/index.php/about-us/board-directors/alicia-seiger. ^
  22. 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report – For Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2018. Report. Accessed April 29, 2019. https://osc.state.ny.us/retire/word_and_pdf_documents/publications/cafr/cafr_18.pdf. ^
  23. “Ceres Investor Network.” Ceres. Accessed April 29, 2019. https://www.ceres.org/networks/ceres-investor-network. ^
  24. “CLIMATEACTION100.ORG.” CLIMATEACTION100.ORG (About Us). Accessed April 29, 2019. http://www.climateaction100.org/. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Joseph B. Uehlein
    Former Board Member
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: October - September
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 1990

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Oct Form 990 $17,866,681 $14,937,631 $17,190,782 $3,257,296 N $14,577,589 $3,208,592 $35,259 $1,303,163 PDF
    2016 Oct Form 990 $15,394,637 $12,064,801 $13,173,421 $2,168,985 N $11,744,267 $3,642,789 $34,469 $1,541,793
    2015 Oct Form 990 $10,468,300 $10,166,986 $9,202,834 $1,528,234 N $7,543,046 $2,893,114 $20,643 $1,306,199 PDF
    2014 Oct Form 990 $11,200,281 $9,663,214 $8,788,293 $1,416,154 N $7,956,410 $3,188,032 $9,600 $1,130,357 PDF
    2013 Oct Form 990 $8,757,819 $8,344,604 $7,102,476 $1,267,404 N $5,828,705 $2,783,081 $23,066 $800,019 PDF
    2012 Oct Form 990 $5,906,082 $6,956,852 $6,486,820 $1,064,963 N $3,323,180 $2,523,004 $22,803 $800,019 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $7,464,736 $7,910,240 $7,614,133 $1,141,506 N $4,686,932 $2,567,029 $32,009 $492,764 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Ceres

    99 CHAUNCY STREET 6TH FLR
    BOSTON, MA 02111-1703