Non-profit

Surfrider Foundation

Website:

www.surfrider.org

Location:

SAN CLEMENTE, CA

Tax ID:

95-3941826

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $6,270,599
Expenses: $6,138,316
Assets: $4,323,308

Formation:

1984 in San Clemente, California

Founders:

Glenn Hening

Lance Carson

Tom Pratte [14]

The Surfrider Foundation is a 501(c)(3) environmentalist group headquartered in San Clemente, California.The Foundation was founded in 1984 in Malibu, California and has since grown to be the largest activist network focused on oceans and beaches with 90 chapters and 50,000 members nationwide.[1]

Surfrider Foundation is notable for its support of environmentalist policies and regulations in regards to climate change and has drawn controversy in recent years for allegedly misreporting its lobbying expenses[2] and using  its activist network to generate support for issue campaigns.[3]

Founding

The Surfrider Foundation was founded in 1984 by Glenn Hening, Lance Carson and Tom Pratte, a group of surfers from Malibu, California. According to the Foundation’s website, the three men founded the group because they “were concerned about the environmental threats posed by escalating coastal development at their favorite surf break, Surfrider Beach in Malibu, California.”[4]  Hening became the first president of the organization upon its founding and began establishing local chapters in California and across the United States in 1985.[5] Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the foundation became more and more political in nature, focusing on specific legislation such as the 1991 reauthorization of the Clean Water Act.[6]

Organizational Overview and Controversy

The Surfrider Foundation has over 90 chapters across the United States and in foreign countries.[7] The foundation leverages its activist network to oppose certain political and legislative measures that it feel would harm the oceans and beaches and to support measures against climate change and pollution.[8]

Tax-Exempt Status Controversy

In recent years there have been complaints filed with the Internal Revenue Service challenging the Surfrider Foundation’s use of its tax-exempt status to support political issue campaigns.[9] Complaints have also been filed alleging that the foundation under-reports the amount of money it spends on lobbying  activity.[10] The foundation boasts about trips by activists to lobby members of Congress in Washington, D.C., but reports a very low amount of lobbying expenses on its tax returns.[11]

Campaigns

Recent Surfrider campaigns mostly consist of efforts to influence action by state local and federal government concerning climate change, pollution of the oceans and beaches, and beach access on privately owned property[12]

Funding

According to the 2015 Annual Report[13] of the Surfrider Foundation, individuals, corporations, government agencies and private foundations that fund the Surfrider Foundation include:

References

  1. Virginia Beach Surfrider Foundation. “Home Page.” Virginia Beach Surfrider Foundation. Accessed July 05, 2017.https://vb.surfrider.org/
  2. Allen, Dr. Steven J. “Surfrider Foundation conceals lobbying expenses.” Capital Research Center. April 7, 2017. Accessed July 05, 2017. http://www.ocregister.com/2017/04/07/surfrider-foundation-conceals-lobbying-expenses/ .
  3. Foundation Watch. “Surfrider: Riding the waves of tax exempt status to finance political campaigns.” Capital Research Center. February 8, 2017. Accessed July 24, 2017. https://capitalresearch.org/article/surfrider-riding-the-waves-of-tax-exempt-status-to-finance-political-campaigns/ .
  4. “Surfrider Foundation 30th Anniversary.” Surfrider Foundation: 30 Years of Coastal Protection. Accessed July 24, 2017. http://www.30.surfrider.org/#partone.
  5. “Surfrider Foundation 30th Anniversary.” Surfrider Foundation: 30 Years of Coastal Protection. Accessed July 24, 2017. http://www.30.surfrider.org/#partone.
  6. Paddock, Richard C. “Surfers Force Pulp Mills to Halt Ocean Pollution : Environment: Suit brings about precedent-setting accord. Firms to spend $56 million in fines, improvements.” Los Angeles Times. September 10, 1991. Accessed July 24, 2017. http://articles.latimes.com/1991-09-10/news/mn-2439_1_pulp-mill-operators.
  7. “Virginia Beach Chapter Surfrider Foundation.” Surfrider Foundation Virginia Beach. Accessed July 24, 2017. https://vb.surfrider.org/..
  8. Allen, Dr. Steven J. “Surfrider Foundation conceals lobbying expenses.” Capital Research Center. April 10, 2017. Accessed July 05, 2017. https://capitalresearch.org/article/surfrider-foundation-conceals-lobbying-expenses/.
  9. Foundation Watch. “Surfrider: Riding the waves of tax exempt status to finance political campaigns.” Capital Research Center. February 8, 2017. Accessed July 24, 2017. https://capitalresearch.org/article/surfrider-riding-the-waves-of-tax-exempt-status-to-finance-political-campaigns/.
  10. Allen, Dr. Steven J. “Surfrider Foundation conceals lobbying expenses.” Capital Research Center. April 10, 2017. Accessed July 05, 2017. https://capitalresearch.org/article/surfrider-foundation-conceals-lobbying-expenses/.
  11. Staff, CRC. “As Surfrider Foundation Heads to Capitol Hill, CRC Calls on IRS to Investigate Group’s Tax-Exempt Status.” Capital Research Center. May 8, 2017. Accessed July 24, 2017. https://capitalresearch.org/article/as-surfrider-foundation-heads-to-capitol-hill-crc-calls-on-irs-to-investigate-groups-tax-exempt-status/.
  12. Surfrider Foundation. “Campaigns.” Surfrider Foundation. Accessed July 05, 2017. http://www.surfrider.org/campaigns .
  13. Surfrider Foundation. “2015 Annual Report.” Surfrider Foundation. Accessed July 05, 2017. http://publicfiles.surfrider.org/SF-Annual-Report-2015.pdf
  14. “Surfrider Foundation 30th Anniversary.” Surfrider Foundation: 30 Years of Coastal Protection. Accessed July 24, 2017. http://www.30.surfrider.org/#partone.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 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
    2015 Dec Form 990 $6,270,599 $6,138,316 $4,323,308 $1,118,600 Y $5,315,921 $0 $6,969 $313,322 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $5,714,958 $6,141,980 $3,923,952 $724,950 Y $5,031,606 $0 $7,569 $343,504
    2013 Dec Form 990 $6,077,987 $6,415,268 $4,584,721 $912,996 Y $5,169,387 $0 $6,607 $352,171 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $6,712,936 $6,451,294 $4,682,534 $682,218 N $5,923,558 $1,000 $6,828 $342,472 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $6,160,511 $6,402,495 $4,236,010 $487,261 N $4,798,611 $0 $5,808 $337,854 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Surfrider Foundation

    PO BOX 6010
    SAN CLEMENTE, CA 92674-6010