Non-profit

The Ocean Agency

Website:

theoceanagency.org

Location:

Newport, RI

Tax ID:

84-3398911

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Formation:

2010

Type:

Left-of-center environmental activist agency

CEO:

Richard Vevers

The Ocean Agency is a left-of-center nonprofit that aims to promote awareness and action around issues regarding oceans, especially coral reef preservation. The organization has been involved in several high-profile initiatives, including documenting the world’s reefs through photography in order to make them more accessible and joining the Netflix documentary Chasing Coral. [1]

At its founding, the Ocean Agency was not an independent nonprofit, but was housed under the Windward Fund, an environmentalist fiscal sponsor organization in the network of “dark money” organizations controlled by philanthropic consultancy Arabella Advisors. [2]

Founding and History

What would become the Ocean Agency began in 2010 when Richard Vevers, who had worked in a London advertising agency and later turned to underwater photography, co-founded the Australian nonprofit Underwater Earth. [3] Using a specially developed 360-degree underwater camera known as the SVII, the group began to survey the Great Barrier Reef to create an underwater Google Street View of the region. This project later expanded to include other coral reefs from around the world. Vevers went relocated to the United States to run the Ocean Agency, which is purportedly not affiliated with Underwater Earth. Nonetheless, in many instances, the Ocean Agency has used the exact same website language as Underwater Earth when explaining the history of the organizations. Additionally, Underwater Earth states as of February 2021 that two of its co-founders and current executives are co-founders of the Ocean Agency. [4] [5]

The Ocean Agency states it began in 2010, but according to Underwater Earth, it began in its current institutional form in 2017. At that time, the Ocean Agency was not an independent nonprofit, but was housed under the Windward Fund, an environmentalist fiscal sponsor organization in the network of “dark money” organizations controlled by philanthropic consultancy Arabella Advisors. A web archive from Windward states that it provided the Ocean Agency with hosting services and a variety of functions including contract management, human resources, accounting and tax services, and compliance oversight. [6] The organization became an independent nonprofit on October 15, 2019. [7]

Finances

In 2019, the Ocean Agency filed a 990-N, indicating that the organization had gross receipts not greater than $50,000 that year. This low amount may be the result of only operating as an independent nonprofit for a very short period of time that year, having gained tax exemption with an effective date of October 15, 2019. [8] [9]

Chasing Coral

The Ocean Agency was a partner in the production of the Netflix documentary Chasing Coral, which documented coral bleaching around the world using the work and technology developed by the Ocean Agency. Other left-of-center organizations, including the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, supported the film. The Ocean Agency’s CEO, Richard Vevers, was featured in the documentary. [10] [11]

Focus Areas

The Ocean Agency divides its work into three different program areas: coral reefs, ocean science, and ocean protection. [12]

The Ocean Agency seeks to raise awareness about the status of coral reefs through Projects like Chasing Coral and the 50 Reefs Initiative, through which the Ocean Agency partnered with Bloomberg Philanthropies to provide $86 million in funding for reef conservation efforts. [13] [14] [15]

With funding from Caitlin Insurance and other partners, the Ocean Agency recorded baseline measurements for coral reefs around the world. The Agency estimates that the project generated $200 million worth of media exposure for coral reef decline. [16]

The Ocean Agency states that it is working towards meeting the United Nations’ goal to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030 by utilizing the imagery collected from its Caitlin coral survey on Google Street View to provide access to coral reefs through “virtual diving” opportunities. The project is designed to create public support for left-of-center conservationist proposals. [17]

Leadership

Richard Vevers is the founder and CEO of The Ocean Agency. Vevers originally worked in the London advertising industry before creating the Ocean Agency. Prior to creating the organization, he was very involved in aquatic photography, working as the managing director of Underwater Australia, an underwater art, photography, and design company. Vevers’s LinkedIn profile states that he founded the Ocean Agency in 2010, conflating the date of the Ocean Agency’s 2017 United States founding with the 2010 founding of Underwater Australia. He does not differentiate between the work that was done under the auspices of Underwater Earth from that done by the Ocean Agency. [18] [19] [20]

References

  1. “Story.” TheOceanAgency.com. Accessed February 26, 2021. https://theoceanagency.org/journey. ^
  2. “Project Directory | Windward Fund.” WindwardFund.org. Archived from the original January 5, 2020. Accessed February 26, 2021. https://web.archive.org/web/20200105161250/https://www.windwardfund.org/project-directory/. ^
  3. “The Ocean Agency Team.” TheOceanAgency.com. Accessed February 26, 2021. https://theoceanagency.org/team. ^
  4. Underwater Earth Limited. “Under Water Earth: Our Story.” Accessed February 26, 2021. https://www.underwater.earth/gallery. ^
  5. “Under Water Earth: Our Story.” Underwater.earth. Accessed February 26, 2021. https://www.underwater.earth/gallery. ^
  6. “Project Directory | Windward Fund.” WindwardFund.org. Archived from the original January 5, 2020. Accessed February 26, 2021. https://web.archive.org/web/20200105161250/https://www.windwardfund.org/project-directory/. ^
  7. “Ocean Agency Determination Letter.” IRS, April 5, 2020. Accessed February 26, 2021. https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/detailsPage?ein=843398911&name=Ocean%20Agency&city=Newport&state=RI&countryAbbr=US&dba=&type=CHARITIES,%20DETERMINATIONLETTERS,%20EPOSTCARD&orgTags=CHARITIES&orgTags=DETERMINATIONLETTERS&orgTags=EPOSTCARD. ^
  8. “Details about Ocean Agency.” IRS.gov. Accessed February 26, 2021. https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/detailsPage?ein=843398911&name=Ocean%20Agency&city=Newport&state=RI&countryAbbr=US&dba=&type=CHARITIES,%20DETERMINATIONLETTERS,%20EPOSTCARD&orgTags=CHARITIES&orgTags=DETERMINATIONLETTERS&orgTags=EPOSTCARD. ^
  9. “Ocean Agency Determination Letter.” IRS, April 5, 2020. Accessed February 26, 2021. https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/detailsPage?ein=843398911&name=Ocean%20Agency&city=Newport&state=RI&countryAbbr=US&dba=&type=CHARITIES,%20DETERMINATIONLETTERS,%20EPOSTCARD&orgTags=CHARITIES&orgTags=DETERMINATIONLETTERS&orgTags=EPOSTCARD. ^
  10. “Netflix: CHASING CORAL.” TheOceanAgency.com. Accessed March 1, 2021. https://theoceanagency.org/chasingcoral. ^
  11. Chasing Coral. “Chasing Coral – Credits.” ChasingCoral.com. Accessed March 1, 2021. https://www.chasingcoral.com/credits/. ^
  12. “Programs.” TheOceanAgency.com. Accessed March 1, 2021. https://theoceanagency.org/programs. ^
  13. “Netflix: CHASING CORAL.” TheOceanAgency.com. Accessed March 1, 2021. https://theoceanagency.org/chasingcoral. ^
  14. “50 REEFS.” TheOceanAgency.com. Accessed March 1, 2021. https://theoceanagency.org/50reefs. ^
  15. Summers, Hannah. “World’s Top Fishing Nations to Be given Millions to Protect Oceans.” TheGuardian.org, October 29, 2018. Accessed March 1, 2021. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/29/worlds-top-fishing-nations-to-be-given-millions-to-protect-oceans. ^
  16. “Catlin Seaview Survey.” TheOceanAgency.com. Accessed March 1, 2021. https://theoceanagency.org/catlinseaviewsurvey. ^
  17. “UNDERWATER STREET VIEW.” TheOceanAgency.com. Accessed March 1, 2021. https://theoceanagency.org/underwaterstreetview. ^
  18. “The Ocean Agency Team.” TheOceanAgency.com. Accessed February 26, 2021. https://theoceanagency.org/team. ^
  19. “LinkedIn: Richard Vevers.” LinkedIn.com. Accessed March 1, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/richardvevers/. ^
  20. “Under Water Earth: Our Story.” Underwater.earth. Accessed February 26, 2021. https://www.underwater.earth/gallery. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 2020

  • Available Filings

    No filings available.

    The Ocean Agency

    8 EADIE ST
    Newport, RI 02840-2204