Waitt Foundation


La Jolla, CA

Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2020):

Revenue: $741,922
Expenses: $7,470,700
Assets: $152,186,431






Ted Waitt

Budget (2021):

Revenue: $6,009,824
Expenses: $11,069,116
Assets: $152,186,431

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The Waitt Foundation is a nonprofit that supports marine conservation efforts around the world. The foundation’s staff and board members include people with connections to its founder, Ted Waitt, and his prior companies


The Waitt Foundation, headquartered in La Jolla, California, was established in 1993 by Ted Waitt. The foundation focuses on ocean preservation efforts through global exploratory research and collaborating with organizations committed to the preservation of the marine environment. 1

The foundation is a founding partner of the Blue Prosperity Coalition, a coalition of NGOs, academic institutions, foundations, and other organizations that propose that “30% of the ocean must be strongly protected in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to maximize fisheries yield and safeguard marine resources.” 2

It also partners with the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention (WIVP), a private institute that was founded by Ted Waitt in 2005. WIVP works to break the cycle of gender violence in homes, schools, and communities. 3


Ted Waitt is the founder and chairman of both the Waitt Foundation and its sister organization, the Waitt Institute. Ted founded Avalon Capital Group Inc., a private investment company in 1950, and co-founded Gateway, Inc., an American computer company, in 1985. 4

Cherie Prothro-Shea is managing director of the Waitt Foundation. Cherie began working for Ted Waitt at Gateway nearly 20 years ago. In 2004, when Waitt retired from Gateway to focus full-time on his philanthropic interests at the Waitt Foundation, Prothro-Shea joined the Foundation. 5

Dave Russell is a board member and vice chairman of the Waitt Foundation and Waitt Institute. Dave worked at Gateway in 1988 and joined Gateway’s board of directors in February 2007, leaving when the company was sold. 6

Shane Hartnett is also a member of the Board. He is the President of Avalon Capital Group which he joined in 2007. Prior to joining Avalon Capital Group, Shane was the vice president at Gateway, holding numerous positions in operations and supply chain management during his 20-year tenure. 7

Other board members include Ted Waitt’s siblings, Hailey Waitt and Max Waitt. 8


The foundation administers a grant initiative called the Rapid Ocean Conservation (ROC) grant program, through which it provides funding to support causes related to ocean environmental care. 9 It also collaborates with the National Geographic Mission to offer grants ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 for exploratory and social sciences research on a global scale. 10

Waitt’s financial records reveal that the foundation contributed at least $79,000,000 in donations from 2010 through 2021, with over 97 percent of those funds directed towards rapid ocean conservancy projects. During that period, the nonprofit incurred expenses totaling $92,827,975 exceeding its revenue of $51,148,672. 11


Waitt Foundation projects include securing legal protection for the whale and dolphin sanctuary within Uruguay’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), conducting marine research in the Maldives, embarking on a 10-day expedition to the Selvages Islands, and undertaking scientific assessments in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands. 12


  1. “Ocean Protection Funding: Waitt Foundation: La Jolla, California.” Waitt Foundation. Accessed August 22, 2023.
  2. “What We Do.” Blue Prosperty. Accessed August 22, 2023.
  3. “Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention.” Waitt Foundation. Accessed August 22, 2023.
  4. “Board of Directors.” Waitt Institute. Accessed August 23, 2023.
  5. “Our Team.” Waitt Foundation. Accessed August 16, 2023.
  6. “Board of Directors.” Waitt Foundation. Accessed August 16, 2023.
  7. “Board of Directors.” Waitt Foundation. Accessed August 16, 2023.
  8. “Board of Directors.” Waitt Foundation. Accessed August 16, 2023.
  9. “Roc Grants: Funding & Assistance.” Waitt Foundation. Accessed August 22, 2023.
  10. “NGS/Waitt Grants.” Waitt Foundation. Accessed August 22, 2023.
  11.  Andrea Suozzo, Ken Schwencke. “Waitt Foundation – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica, May 9, 2013.
  12.  “Scientific Expeditions.” Waitt Foundation. Accessed August 22, 2023.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: March 1, 1994

  • 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
    2020 Dec Form PF $741,922 $7,470,700 $152,186,431 $270,160 $0 $0 $0 $0
    2019 Dec Form PF $3,093,823 $10,048,160 $149,625,444 $174,788 $0 $0 $0 $0
    2015 Dec Form PF $8,470,934 $7,876,327 $140,011,593 $196,497 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $4,950,721 $7,271,056 $146,089,616 $123,742 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $3,443,163 $7,613,039 $147,192,953 $124,266 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $2,779,605 $6,549,120 $139,187,620 $92,941 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $4,368,660 $6,129,841 $133,107,453 $766,347 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Waitt Foundation

    PO BOX 1397
    La Jolla, CA 57049-1397