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Algalita Marine Research and Education

 148 N Marina Drive
 Long Beach, CA 90803
[P] (562) 5984889
[F] (562) 5980712
[email protected]
Katie Allen
 Printable 1 Page Summary
 Printable Profile
Organization DBA --
Former Names Algalita Marine Research Institute (2013)
Algalita Marine Foundation (2006)
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years Yes
Employer Identification Number 33-0357882 --


Mission StatementMORE »

Algalita Marine Research and Education is dedicated to leading the world to a plastic pollution free future.

Mission Statement

Algalita Marine Research and Education is dedicated to leading the world to a plastic pollution free future.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year 2018
Projected Expenses $517,560.00
Projected Revenue $520,206.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Annual POPS International Youth Summit
  • Plastic Ocean Pollution Solutions (POPS) Education Program
  • POPS Experienceship Program

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Algalita Marine Research and Education is dedicated to leading the world to a plastic pollution free future.

Background Statement

Algalita Marine Research and Education was originally founded in 1994 with a vision to restore the disappearing giant kelp forests and improve water quality through the preservation and re-construction of wetlands along the California coast. However, in 1997, as the result of founder Captain Charles Moore's voyage from Hawaii to California through the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, the focus of the organization changed to confront the issue of plastic marine pollution. The area that Captain Moore called attention to, now commonly referred to as the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch," is an immense section of the northeastern Pacific Ocean, about halfway between Hawaii and California, that’s strewn throughout with buoyant plastic scraps that are often mistaken by marine animals and seabirds for food. This plastic soup is seasoned with plastic flakes, bulked out here and there with “dumplings”: buoys, large abandoned fishing nets (ghost nets), bottle caps, toothbrushes, containers, and crates. Today, Algalita is dedicated to the protection and improvement of the marine environment and its watersheds through education and research on the impact of plastic pollution. Our work has a positive impact on the following areas: we (1) conduct scientific exploration and provide research results to the scientific community and the general public; (2) increase awareness and promote advocacy of the issue and its effects on human health; (3) embrace collaboration with other like-minded organizations; (4) engage our youth in science-based, interactive educational programs; and (5) work to increase environmental stewardship. Algalita teaches and empowers people to understand the devastating impact of plastic pollution on our oceans and human health, and how they can help to solve this crisis.

Impact Statement

Top 3 accomplishments from the past year:

1. Conducted 96 STEM workshops for 63 teachers and their students; Hosted 9 personal development workshops for over 290 educators; Distributed over 250 plastic pollution teaching kits to Southern CA teachers;
2. Finished the final manuscript on our 15-year North Pacific Gyre retrospective study; and
3. Embarked on an expedition to the South Pacific to investigate plastic pollution near Chile as well as off the coast of Easter Island. Our team is working to determine how plastic is threatening the survival of Lantern Fish, a fish that occupies a vital role in the marine food web structure.

Goals moving forward:
1. Continue to provide free educational services to thousands of teachers and students through teaching kits, classroom resources, field research opportunities, and leadership workshops.
2. Open a plastic-free retail shop and community center in Long Beach, CA that gives locals an opportunity to be a part of the solution.
3. Investigate how plastic in the ocean threatens the survival of fish critical to the food chain during our expedition to the South Pacific.


Needs Statement

1. General funding for Operations $150,000
2. Funding for Research program $100,000
3. Funding for Education program (particularly our Youth Summit) $50,000
4. Develop even more partnerships within the communities we work in
5. Part-time marketing intern/volunteer  

CEO Statement

Algalita was at the forefront in learning about and reporting the plastic ocean pollution crisis. Our founder, Captain Charles Moore, continued to ring the bell concerning this issue, even when he was hitting walls and fighting indifference. Because of our organization's work, numerous other nonprofit organizations have developed over the last 10 years.

We still conduct research (in the North Pacific, as well as in local waterways and coastlines in the Southern California region). We are different than the typical research organization, because we are not part of a university and we are small; but, our work is so important to this issue. We partner with various other researchers, to expand our scope. What is so important about our research is we take that information and educate our youth, throughout Orange and Los Angeles Counties, as well as the general public. The more people who understand the devastating effect plastic pollution has on our oceans and our lives, the better armed they will be to stop this problem.

Board Chair Statement

My passion for Algalita started in 2002 when I was hired as Director of Operations.  I was immediately drawn in by the dedication and intrigue for the work that was being done by Algalita to determine just how much plastic was being accumulated in the North Pacific Ocean.  Over 13 years, I went from being educated, to being a spokesperson about the serious problem of single use plastic products that don't have a place in the our environment.  

Algalita became the first leader in the now recognized field of marine pollution, by providing the results of their findings to not only institutions but the general public. To this day, people come to Algalita from all over the world for honest and authentic information and education regarding how they can make a difference.

It is amazing that a small organization has made such an impact on the world, and after 25 years is still recognized as the leader in the education and inspiration of so many. The plastic pollution crises is not solved - it still needs to be a focus of our generation and generations to come.
Your support will make a difference.
Marieta Francis
Board of Directors

Other Ways to Donate/Volunteer


Geographic Area Served

Central Orange County
West Orange County
South Orange County
North Orange County

Organization Categories

  1. Environment - Environmental Education
  2. Environment - Natural Resources Conservation & Protection
  3. Science & Technology - Marine Science and Oceanography



Annual POPS International Youth Summit

Our annual POPS International Youth Summit is a platform that allows students to take center stage and demonstrate how young people have the passion and ideas needed to change the world. Every February, roughly 125 students are selected to participate in the three-day Summit based on the innovative projects they submitted on how best to combat plastic pollution in their own communities. This event offers youth – ranging from 11 to 18 years old – a chance to learn about current scientific research on plastic pollution, share their action projects with their peers, and work directly with mentors to help develop or improve upon their project plans. Participants in the POPS Leadership Program also receive periodic news updates highlighting opportunities for expansion of their ocean conservation work by volunteering for organizations, applying for grants, and advocating for a clean ocean.

An important aspect of the Summit is that it’s designed by young people, for young people. Each year, 15 POPS Summit alumni are selected to become POPS Peer Advisors who will develop and lead the next year’s event. Over a six-month period, these Peer Advisors are immersed in as much of the fine-tuning, outreach, and implementation of the Summit as possible. Their responsibilities include program development, workshop facilitation, public speaking, social media utilization, journalism, fundraising, etc.
Budget  69,850
Category  Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

Inspire students to return home and complete projects, which we will monitor with follow-up communication with students themselves and with team adult advisers. 

Program Long-Term Success  In order to provide more-enriching, hands-on activities, we limited our Summit attendance to 110 students. However, more than 150 people from around the world (including advisors, students, speakers, mentors, and staff) attended the Summit, held at the Ocean Institute. Attendees were from California, Hawaii, Nevada, South Carolina, and Georgia, as well as from the Bahamas, Hungary, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Kenya. Recordings of the speakers and activities will be available on our website, in lieu of a webinar. In addition, 14 Youth Leaders helped to develop, plan, and facilitate Summit activities, and conducted presentations on public speaking, civic engagement, and effective communications.
Program Success Monitored By  Inspire approximately 175 students and 50 teachers to develop and facilitate solution-oriented, student-led action projects that will impact approximately 10,000 individuals globally. Expand the Youth Summit every year, whether though number of invited participants or increased quality of projects.
Examples of Program Success  --

Plastic Ocean Pollution Solutions (POPS) Education Program

1. In-class STEM Education - Algalita educators conduct presentations to 40 teachers and 6,400 students (40 students per class/4 class periods) to provide science-based environmental education, introduce students to STEM explorations and careers, and increase awareness of the issue of plastic marine debris. We also provide 250 free, reusable Debris Science Investigation (DSI) Kits to classroom teachers.
2. Teacher Training – Engage approximately 100 teachers in training workshops that will impact approximately 32,000 students, as measured by workshop attendance forms (assuming 40 students per class; 4 classes per year).
Budget  15,450
Category  Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Adults
Program Short-Term Success  Short term, we strive to educate students about an issue, plastic pollution, they may be unaware of. We also anticipate these students going home and educating the rest of the family concerning the plastic pollution issue and making small changes within their homes that can make a positive impact.
Program Long-Term Success 

Algalita’s POPS Program is an exciting environmental education program designed to promote science-based education and provide opportunities for students to develop and strengthen leadership skills. The goal is to launch a wave of youth-led action and awareness campaigns to reduce plastic marine pollution by educating, motivating, and empowering youth, grades K-12. All activities are provided free of charge and include Classroom Resources, Teacher Training, and Student Action Projects.

The long term goal is to reduce plastic pollution. We believe Education is the key to Prevention.

Program Success Monitored By  We are able to determine the number of students reached fairly easily. In order to determine the impact of our program, we use surveys, teacher and student interviews, monitor student action projects, etc.
Examples of Program Success 

In Class Stem Workshops:
Direct impact: 6,075 students and 74 teachers
Indirect impact: 33,920 students

Teacher Training:
Direct impact: 170 teachers
Indirect impact: 27,200 students
Our numbers have increased every year, since the programs inception. 

POPS Experienceship Program

This is an opportunity for college students to jump-start their careers, no matter where it’s heading. Each year, Algalita recruits 18-20 college students (18 years and over) to participate in group-based projects that supplement Algalita’s current efforts to reduce ocean plastic pollution in Southern California. The students will work with Algalita staff over a four-month period to develop and implement projects related to (1) environmental education, (2) scientific research, and (3) advocacy. Once the four-month session has commenced, students are welcome to reapply for the next rotation. Interns will gain valuable teamwork, leadership and community engagement skills and experience. The program serves as an important recruiting tool for our organization.
Budget  $2,000.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Population Served Adults Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  Directly engage approximately 20 young adults in an intensive learning-though-doing leadership experiences. Interns will develop, test, and report on pilot projects in the city of Long Beach to transform Long Beach and surrounding cities into plastic-conscious communities. 
Program Long-Term Success 

As the result of youth-led outreach and action projects and community outreach, Algalita anticipates that the general public will develop a greater appreciation of the marine environment and a better understanding of how individual actions influence the health of our planet and human health. We’re confident that this knowledge and awareness will alter attitudes and behavior that ultimately results in a world that is free of plastic pollution.

Program Success Monitored By  We anticipate reaching an additional 5,000 individuals indirectly through the interns’ community outreach. Impact will be measured by attendance at events as well as number of individuals that receive direct services from Algalita’s interns.
Examples of Program Success 
- The Fall 2017 group (our first Experienceship group) created a trawl to be used on kayaks to monitor floating plastics is the Alamitos Bay. Because of this program we have developed a relationship with Long Beach Waterbikes and Stand Up Rentals for ongoing free twice monthly cleanups for the community.
- The Spring 2018 group created a Plastic Smart Playbook for PTAs to implement at schools with the goal of decreasing plastic waste. The Playbook has different goal levels for schools that want to slightly decrease waste, to eliminating as much plastic waste as possible. 
- The Fall 2018 group helped us with setting up a program with the city of Long Beach to visit 15 Long Beach classrooms in a local investigation to put the city's pellet problem into perspective. The eight schools sorted through sand samples collected from the Long Beach Peninsula.The Experienceship group helped with presentations and drafting letters to send to Long Beach city councilors and 38 local companies that handle, manufacture, or distribute plastic pellets, detailing what they found and stressing the urgency of immediate compliance with AB-258, a CA Assembly Bill that restricts companies from losing this material into the environment.


CEO/Executive Director Katie Allen
CEO Term Start Jan 2016
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience Katie Allen is an innovator and educator, passionate about inspiring others to discover and pursue their unique contribution to the world.

After completing her music degree, Katie followed her dreams of becoming a touring musician until landing a job managing artist accounts at Warner Bros Records. Four years into her career, her life was changed after watching Captain Charles Moore’s interview on the David Letterman Show. Her desire to join Algalita’s fight against plastic pollution was so strong she left the music industry to pursue a degree in science education and a career in ocean conservation.

Katie spent five years under the mentorship of Captain Moore as Algalita’s Education Director. During that time, she designed and sustained programs that continue to reach thousands of students and teachers every year. By bridging real-world science with real-time solutions, Katie transformed the organization’s reach by igniting an international, youth-led movement fueled by more than 100,000 youth in 19 countries. She has multiple articles published around the world and is a frequent keynote speaker at ocean conservation conferences.

Katie’s strong vision for Algalita’s future led her to the helm of the organization. In January 2016, she took on the role of Executive Director, where she provides leadership and oversight to a team of passionate scientists, educators, and ocean conservationists.

As a Southern California native, Katie loves hiking, music, and spending time in the water with her husband and two sons, Oliver and Anderson.


Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Marieta Francis Jan 2002 Mar 2015

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Katie Allen Executive Director --
Anika Ballent Education Director --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


 Algalita collaborates with numerous partners locally and globally.

Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 4
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 10
Number of Contract Staff 2
Staff Retention Rate % 100%
Staff Professional Development Yes

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 2
Caucasian: 3
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: --
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 3
Male: 1
Not Specified --

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 4
Management Succession Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No

Risk Management Provisions

Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy --

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Government Licenses


CEO Comments


Foundation Comments



Board Chair Marieta Francis
Board Chair Company Affiliation retired
Board Chair Term Jan 2018 - Dec 2019
Board Co-Chair Ron Jagner
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation retired Boeing engineer
Board Co-Chair Term Jan 2015 - Dec 2015

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Terri Buchanan retired CPA Voting
Mallory Burden Ca Recycle Voting
Jeff Carrick -- --
Dr Nikhil Dave retired Physics engineer Voting
Marieta Francis -- --
Ron Jagner retired Boeing engineer Voting
Kevin Poffenbarger EPD Consultants Voting
Greg Shea -- Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Additional Board Members and Affiliations

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 7
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: --
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 3
Male: 5
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Under Development
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 25%
Board Orientation Yes

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments


Standing Committees

  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Executive
  • Finance


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $536,827 $705,397 $450,732
Total Expenses $448,699 $458,157 $465,044

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Revenue By Revenue Source
Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$492,905 $614,913 $430,444
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- $0 --
Individual Contributions -- -- --
Indirect Public Support -- $0 --
Earned Revenue $9,208 $72,099 $920
Investment Income, Net of Losses $15,625 $1,682 $7,901
Membership Dues $3,550 $2,750 $1,825
Special Events $6,512 $6,578 $9,642
Revenue In-Kind $8,373 $49,080 --
Other $654 $7,375 --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Expense By Type
Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $369,817 $343,174 $325,915
Administration Expense $53,413 $81,286 $100,357
Fundraising Expense $25,469 $33,697 $38,772
Payments to Affiliates -- $0 --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.20 1.54 0.97
Program Expense/Total Expenses 82% 75% 70%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 5% 5% 9%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $401,803 $321,141 $387,007
Current Assets $147,419 $98,773 $114,617
Long-Term Liabilities -- $0 --
Current Liabilities $3,723 $11,259 $324,365
Total Net Assets $398,080 $309,882 $62,642

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 39.60 8.77 0.35

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%
Endowment Value $225,000.00
Spending Policy Income Only
Percentage(If selected) --
Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments

Summary financial data is per the Form 990s and consultation with the organization. Foundation/corporate and individual contributions are combined under Foundation and Corporation Contributions.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.