Mission Blue




Tax ID:


Budget (2016):

Revenue: $1,838,187
Expenses: $1,237,415
Assets: $1,140,748

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Mission Blue: The Sylvia Earle Alliance is an environmentalist advocacy group that focuses on ocean-related issues. The group works with a variety of nonprofit and for-profit organizations to promote ocean conservation through public policy advocacy. 1 The organization signed on as a sponsor of the Green New Deal in 2019 and has opposed the use of zero carbon nuclear energy. 2


Mission Blue was founded in 2009 after a TED talk given by Sylvia Earle, the organization’s president and chairman. 3 The main activity of Mission Blue is establishing “Hope Spots” across the ocean. Currently, Mission Blue has established numerous spots in seas around the world.  Mission Blue Hope Spots protect areas of economic value from resource exploitation and other human uses. 4

The group permits anyone to petition to establish a new Hope Spot. 5

Climate Change

Mission Blue has encouraged people to vote “for policymakers who believe in solving climate change.” 6

Mission Blue is critical of undersea mining and economic development. 7

Opposition to Nuclear Energy

In May of 2021, Mission Blue was one of 715 groups and businesses listed as a co-signer on a letter to the leadership of the U.S. House and Senate that referred to nuclear energy as a “dirty” form of energy production and a “significant” source of pollution. The letter asked federal lawmakers to reduce carbon emissions by creating a “renewable electricity standard” that promoted production of weather dependent power sources such as wind turbines and solar panels, but did not promote low carbon natural gas and zero carbon nuclear energy. 8

Nuclear power plants produce no carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gas emissions, and as of 2021 accounted for 19 percent of American electricity production—the largest source of zero carbon electricity in the United States. 9 An October 2018 proposal from The Nature Conservancy noted that zero-carbon nuclear plants produced 7.8 percent of total world energy output and recommended reducing carbon emissions by increasing nuclear capacity to 33 percent of total world energy output. 10

Mission Blue was one of more than 600 co-signing organizations on a January 2019 open letter to Congress titled “Legislation to Address the Urgent Threat of Climate Change.” The signatories declared their support for new laws to bring about “100 percent decarbonization” of the transportation sector but denounced nuclear power as an example of “dirty energy” that should not be included in any legislation promoting the use of so-called “renewable energy.” 11

Other Activities

In 2014, Mission Blue released a documentary entitled Mission Blue which followed Sylvia Earle’s efforts conserve the ocean and save it from “pollution, overfishing and climate change.” 12 Netflix and film director James Cameron were involved in its filming and release.

Earle and Mission Blue are active on Twitter. Earle tweeted that “Human beings are sea creatures” on June 3, 2019. 13

According to their website, Mission Blue is partnered with groups that support ocean conservation and environmentalism, such as Rolex, Biotherm, Ted, Google, National Geographic, EarthX, and Sargasso Sea Alliance, among others. 14


The total revenue of Mission Blue in 2017 was $991,313. Its total expenditures in 2017 were $1,261,676.

Its net assets in 2017 were $782,009. 15

The group has received six-figure contributions from the Dalio Foundation. 16


Mission Blue’s founder and chair is Sylvia Earle, a marine biologist and longtime environmentalist.

The Board of Directors includes the following people: Professor Dan Laffoley, PhD, advisor to the British government on marine science; Carl Gustaf Lundin, previously of the World Bank; Shari Sant Plummer; Shannon O’Leary Joy; Linda Glover; Robert Nixon, a film director; Sharon Kwok; Will Travis, “a respected global brand builder”; 17 and John Vermilye.

Laura Cassiani is the executive director, and had a $121,385 salary in 2017. 18 She works “with the Board of Directors to implement the strategic goals and objectives of the organization.” 19 Deb Castellana is the Director of Strategic Partnerships and had a $111,163 salary in 2017. 20 Castellana has sailed her own yacht in Europe, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and Mexico. 21


  1. “About Us.” Mission Blue. Accessed June 28, 2019.
  2. “Group letter to Congress urging Green New Deal passage.” Earthworks. January 10, 2019. Accessed July 27, 2023.
  3. Pulia, Shalayne. “Meet Sylvia Earle, the Jane Goodall of the Sea.” InStyle Magazine. Accessed June 28, 2019.
  4. Shukla, Priya. “Underwater Mountain Range in California Declared a Mission Blue ‘Hope Spot’.”  Forbes. Accessed July 2, 2019
  5. “Hope Spots.” Mission Blue. Accessed July 12, 2019.
  6. “Dive In!” Mission Blue. Accessed July 2, 2019.
  7. Georgian, Samuel. “Gorda and Mendocino Ridges – California’s Test Cases for Deep-Sea Mining.” Mission Blue. Accessed July 2, 2019.
  8. Letter from Center for Biological Diversity et. al. to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Joe Manchin, and Rep. Frank Pallone. “RE: CONGRESS SHOULD ENACT A FEDERAL RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY STANDARD AND REJECT GAS AND FALSE SOLUTIONS.” May 12, 2021. Accessed July 25, 2023.*1c9h3t8*_gcl_au*MTc3NjM3MTM1Mi4xNjg5OTU1MzAz
  9. “Nuclear explained.” U.S. Energy Information Administration. Accessed July 25, 2023.
  10. “The Science of Sustainability.” The Nature Conservancy. October 13, 2018. Accessed July 25, 2023.
  11. “Group letter to Congress urging Green New Deal passage.” Earthworks. January 10, 2019. Accessed July 27, 2023.
  12. “Mission Blue Education Resources.” National Geographic. Accessed July 12, 2019.
  13. Earle, Sylvia. Twitter. Accessed July 17, 2019.
  14. “Our Partners”. Mission Blue. Accessed July 17, 2019.
  15. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Mission Blue. 2017. Schedule A,.Part I, Lines 12, 18, 22.
  16. Dalio Foundation, Return of a Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2016, Part XV
  17. “About Us.”  Mission Blue. Accessed July 12, 2019.
  18. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Mission Blue. 2017. Schedule A, Part VII, Section A, 1a.
  19. “About Us.” Mission Blue. Accessed July 17, 2019.
  20. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Mission Blue. 2017. Schedule A, Part VII, Section A, 1a.
  21. “About Us.” Mission Blue. Accessed July 17, 2019.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: May 1, 2008

  • 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
    2016 Dec Form 990 $1,838,187 $1,237,415 $1,140,748 $15,349 N $1,590,299 $247,832 $56 $163,520
    2015 Dec Form 990 $1,301,934 $1,012,484 $620,994 $96,367 N $651,241 $650,681 $12 $49,820 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $1,386,998 $1,298,487 $348,600 $113,423 N $796,111 $590,873 $14 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $587,515 $514,916 $266,431 $119,765 N $354,366 $233,120 $29 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $386,018 $624,159 $290,066 $195,295 N $302,440 $83,244 $334 $90,000 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $353,109 $428,031 $350,058 $17,146 N $352,533 $0 $576 $94,501 PDF
    2009 Dec Form 990 $0 $0 $0 $0 N $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Mission Blue

    1406 THIRD ST APT 2
    NAPA, CA 94559-2849