Charity Review

Issued: March 2017 Expires: April 2019

Ecotrust

Standards Not Met
 
(503) 227-6225 721 NW 9th Ave Ste 200, Portland OR 97209-3448 www.ecotrust.org
  1. Conclusions
  2. Purpose
  3. Programs
  4. Governance & Staff
  5. Fund Raising
  6. Tax Status
  7. Financial
Conclusions

Ecotrust does not meet the following 2 Standards for Charity Accountability.

Standard 4: Board Compensation - Not more than one or 10% (whichever is greater) directly or indirectly compensated person(s) serving as voting member(s) of the board. Compensated members shall not serve as the board's chair or treasurer.

Ecotrust does not meet this standard because:

The organization does not meet Standard 04 because it's board chair, Spencer Beebe, is directly compensated by the organization as its Founder and Executive Chair.

In response, the organization stated, "The role of Chair of the Ecotrust Board of Directors is currently structured as an executive role, effectively serving the organization as CEO as well as board chair."

Standard 13: Accurate Expense Reporting - Accurately report the charity's expenses, including any joint cost allocations, in its financial statements. For example, audited or unaudited statements which inaccurately claim zero fund raising expenses or otherwise understate the amount a charity spends on fund raising, and/or overstate the amount it spends on programs will not meet this standard.

Ecotrust does not meet this standard because:

Ecotrust does not meet Standard 13 because its audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015 report special event revenue net of direct costs but have not disclosed the amount of direct costs that were netted from their revenue.

In response, the organization stated, "Because special event revenue plays a minor role in Ecotrust’s fundraising strategy and accounts for less than 1% of our total annual revenue, our auditors have not flagged this as an area of concern or required us to break out direct event costs netted from revenue." 

Purpose

Ecotrust’s mission is to inspire fresh thinking that creates economic opportunity, social equity, and environmental well-being. Their goal is to foster a natural model of development that creates more resilient communities, economies, and ecosystems here and around the world.

Incorporated: 1991 in OR

Programs

Ecotrust is building a world where people and nature thrive together. Since 1991, they have partnered with local communities from California to Alaska to build new ways of living and doing business. In three core program areas – Food and Farms, Forests, and Fisheries – they bring the knowledge, technology, and resources needed to build a natural model of development: one that cares for our lands while providing for our communities. Some recent projects include:

The Redd on Salmon Street is a new Ecotrust development located in the heart of Portland’s historic Central Eastside designed to support local food enterprises; connect chefs, foodservice directors and entrepreneurs to independent farmers, ranchers and fishers in the region; and help scale a robust, regional food economy across the Pacific Northwest. The Redd offers both the infrastructure and amenities essential to a growing enterprise, as well as a vibrant community where urban food producers connect with the rural farmers, ranchers, and fishers that supply them.

The Redd is comprised of a two-block, 80,000-square-foot food production and distribution campus including two buildings: Redd West, a former distribution hub and sales center; and the Redd East, a 1918 ironworks. With more than 20,000 square feet of warehouse space, Redd West serves as a cold storage, aggregation, packaging, and distribution center, and also includes three commercial production kitchens.

Forest Planner: Landowners large and small find it difficult to manage forests for their many benefits, including wildlife habitat, carbon storage, clean water, and timber products. Ecotrust’s Forest Planner tool was built to meet the challenge. Designed as a user-friendly web application, Forest Planner helps landowners manage their forests for ecological and social, as well as financial, returns. Over 600 landowners now use Forest Planner to plan for values such as timber revenue, spotted owl habitat, and fire risk. 

Farm to School: Connecting small and mid-size farmers with large institutions like schools is a major thrust of Ecotrust's food and farms work. Ecotrust partners with a wide range of school districts, focusing on low-income schools and preschools to ensure that all children have access to healthy, local food. 89% of Oregon school lunches now include local food as a result of their education and advocacy work.

Community-Based Fisheries:
Ecotrust works to restore the integrity of wild and resilient marine and freshwater fisheries, while fostering responsible, restorative fisheries management practices that support the livelihoods of our region’s fishing families. They have invested $1.5 million in West Coast fishing communities, supporting a longtime dream of our region’s small-boat sustainable fisheries: locally owned and operated working waterfronts where they can sell direct to their community, making real connections and keeping more of the profit at home. 

Governance & Staff

Board Chair/CEO: Mr. Spencer Beebe, Executive Chair Compensation:* $186,614 Business Affiliation: Ecotrust

Board Size: 15

Staff: 56

* Compensation includes annual salary and, if applicable, benefit plans, expense accounts and other allowances.
Fund Raising
Method(s) used: Direct Mail Appeals Invitations to Fundraising Events Grant Proposals Internet Appeals Appeals via Social Media (Facebook, etc.)

% of Related Contributions on Fundraising: 9.11%

Tax Status

This organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes.

Financial

The following information is based on Ecotrust Consolidated Audited Financial Statements for the fiscal year ending Thursday, December 31, 2015.

Source of Funds
Foundation grants and contributions $2,667,728
Government grants $1,417,108
Individual grants and contributions $512,336
Corporate grants and contributions $101,851
Other grants and contributions $86,289
Special events, net $53,729
Capital contributions $2,080
Contracts and service fees $4,383,043
Investment return $2,033,642
Loss on disposal of property and equipment ($415)
Provision for income taxes ($150,701)
Provision for bad debts and loan losses ($29,040)
Share in gain of Ecotrust Forests, LLC and Ecotrust Forests II, LLC $1,660,931
Investment member interest income ($543,157)
Non-controlling interest in income ($2,124)
Capital distributions ($56)
Member equity deconsolidation ($1,951)
Total Income: $12,191,293
 
Fusion Chart
 
Program Expenses: $8,854,123
Fundraising Expenses: $440,899
Administrative Expenses: $537,993
Other Expenses: $446,062
Total Expenses: $10,279,077
 
Income in Excess of Expenses: $1,912,216
 
Beginning Net Assets: $19,410,432
Ending Net Assets: $21,322,648
Total Liabilities: $10,073,854
Total Assets: $170,061,319


An organization may change its practices at any time without notice. A copy of this report has been shared with the organization prior to publication. It is not intended to recommend or deprecate, and is furnished solely to assist you in exercising your own judgment. If the report is about a charity and states the charity meets or does not meet the Standards for Charity Accountability, it reflects the results of an evaluation of information and materials provided voluntarily by the charity. The name Better Business Bureau is a registered service mark of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.

This report is not to be used for fund raising or promotional purposes.

Standards Legend

  • Meets Standards IconMeets Standards
  • Standards Not Met IconStandards Not Met
  • Did Not Disclose IconDid Not Disclose
  • Review in Progress IconReview in Progress
  • Unable to Verify IconUnable to Verify
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Standard 1: Board Oversight


Description:

Organizations shall have a board of directors that provides adequate oversight of the charity's operations and its staff. Indication of adequate oversight includes, but is not limited to, regularly scheduled appraisals of the CEO's performance, evidence of disbursement controls such as board approval of the budget, fund raising practices, establishment of a conflict of interest policy, and establishment of accounting procedures sufficient to safeguard charity finances.

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Standard 2: Board Size


Description:

Soliciting organizations shall have a board of directors with a minimum of five voting members.

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Standard 3: Board Meetings


Description:

An organization shall have a minimum of three evenly spaced meetings per year of the full governing body with a majority in attendance, with face-to-face participation. A conference call of the full board can substitute for one of the three meetings of the governing body. For all meetings, alternative modes of participation are acceptable for those with physical disabilities.

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Standard 4: Board Compensation


Description:

Not more than one or 10% (whichever is greater) directly or indirectly compensated person(s) serving as voting member(s) of the board. Compensated members shall not serve as the board's chair or treasurer.

Ecotrust does not meet meet this standard because:

The organization does not meet Standard 04 because it's board chair, Spencer Beebe, is directly compensated by the organization as its Founder and Executive Chair.

In response, the organization stated, "The role of Chair of the Ecotrust Board of Directors is currently structured as an executive role, effectively serving the organization as CEO as well as board chair."

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Standard 5: Conflict of Interest


Description:

No transaction(s) in which any board or staff members have material conflicting interests with the charity resulting from any relationship or business affiliation. Factors that will be considered when concluding whether or not a related party transaction constitutes a conflict of interest and if such a conflict is material, include, but are not limited to: any arm's length procedures established by the charity; the size of the transaction relative to like expenses of the charity; whether the interested party participated in the board vote on the transaction; if competitive bids were sought and whether the transaction is one-time, recurring or ongoing.

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Standard 6: Effectiveness Policy


Description:

Have a board policy of assessing, no less than every two years, the organization's performance and effectiveness and of determining future actions required to achieve its mission.

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Standard 7: Effectiveness Report


Description:

Submit to the organization's governing body, for its approval, a written report that outlines the results of the aforementioned performance and effectiveness assessment and recommendations for future actions.

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Standard 8: Program Expenses


Description:

Spend at least 65% of its total expenses on program activities.

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Standard 9: Fund Raising Expenses


Description:

Spending should be no more than 35% of related contributions on fund raising. Related contributions include donations, legacies, and other gifts received as a result of fund raising efforts.

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Standard 10: Accumulating Funds


Description:

Avoid accumulating funds that could be used for current program activities. To meet this standard, the charity's unrestricted net assets available for use should not be more than three times the size of the past year's expenses or three times the size of the current year's budget, whichever is higher.

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Standard 11: Audit Report


Description:

Make available to all, on request, complete annual financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. When total annual gross income exceeds $500,000, these statements should be audited in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $500,000, a review by a certified public accountant is sufficient to meet this standard. For charities whose annual gross income is less than $250,000, an internally produced, complete financial statement is sufficient to meet this standard.

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Standard 12: Detailed Expense Breakdown


Description:

Include in the financial statements a breakdown of expenses (e.g., salaries, travel, postage, etc.) that shows what portion of these expenses was allocated to program, fund raising, and administrative activities. If the charity has more than one major program category, the schedule should provide a breakdown for each category.

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Standard 13: Accurate Expense Reporting


Description:

Accurately report the charity's expenses, including any joint cost allocations, in its financial statements. For example, audited or unaudited statements which inaccurately claim zero fund raising expenses or otherwise understate the amount a charity spends on fund raising, and/or overstate the amount it spends on programs will not meet this standard.

Ecotrust does not meet meet this standard because:

Ecotrust does not meet Standard 13 because its audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015 report special event revenue net of direct costs but have not disclosed the amount of direct costs that were netted from their revenue.

In response, the organization stated, "Because special event revenue plays a minor role in Ecotrust’s fundraising strategy and accounts for less than 1% of our total annual revenue, our auditors have not flagged this as an area of concern or required us to break out direct event costs netted from revenue." 

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Standard 14: Budget Plan


Description:

Have a board-approved annual budget for its current fiscal year, outlining projected expenses for major program activities, fund raising, and administration.

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Standard 15: Truthful Materials


Description:

Have solicitations and informational materials, distributed by any means, that are accurate, truthful and not misleading, both in whole and in part. Appeals that omit a clear description of program(s) for which contributions are sought will not meet this standard. A charity should also be able to substantiate that the timing and nature of its expenditures are in accordance with what is stated, expressed, or implied in the charity's solicitations.

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Standard 16: Annual Report


Description:

Have an annual report available to all, on request, that includes: (a) the organization's mission statement, (b) a summary of the past year's program service accomplishments, (c) a roster of the officers and members of the board of directors, (d) financial information that includes (i) total income in the past fiscal year, (ii) expenses in the same program, fund raising and administrative categories as in the financial statements, and (iii) ending net assets.

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Standard 17: Website Disclosures


Description:

Include on any charity websites that solicit contributions, the same information that is recommended for annual reports, as well as the mailing address of the charity and electronic access to its most recent IRS Form 990.

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Standard 18: Donor Privacy


Description:

Address privacy concerns of donors by (a) providing in written appeals, at least annually, a means (e.g., such as a check off box) for both new and continuing donors to inform the charity if they do not want their name and address shared outside the organization, (b) providing a clear, prominent and easily accessible privacy policy on any of its websites that tells visitors (i) what information, if any, is being collected about them by the charity and how this information will be used, (ii) how to contact the charity to review personal information collected and request corrections, (iii) how to inform the charity (e.g., a check off box) that the visitor does not wish his/her personal information to be shared outside the organization, and (iv) what security measures the charity has in place to protect personal information.

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Standard 19: Cause Marketing Disclosures


Description:

Clearly disclose how the charity benefits from the sale of products or services (i.e., cause-related marketing) that state or imply that a charity will benefit from a consumer sale or transaction. Such promotions should disclose, at the point of solicitation: (a) the actual or anticipated portion of the purchase price that will benefit the charity (e.g., 5 cents will be contributed to abc charity for every xyz company product sold), (b) the duration of the campaign (e.g., the month of October), (c) any maximum or guaranteed minimum contribution amount (e.g., up to a maximum of $200,000).

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Standard 20: Complaints


Description:

Respond promptly to and act on complaints brought to its attention by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and/or local Better Business Bureaus about fund raising practices, privacy policy violations and/or other issues.