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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Ocean River Institute Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Environment, Protection of Endangered Species, Water, Water Resources, Wetlands Conservation & Management

Mission: The Ocean River Institute's mission is to foster greater personal involvement in conservation, environmental monitoring, and protecting ecosystems by facilitating the grassroots efforts of groups working at local and regional levels.

Results: In 2007, ORI engaged, educated and broadened a constituency in Massachusetts supportive of comprehensive ecosystem-based management of coastal ocean waters. This led to the passing of the Massachusetts Ocean Act in 2008. In 2008, ORI assisted the Virgin Island Environmental Council in a successful court battle to stop unregulated development of BVI’s last pristine salt ponds, mangrove shore, and Fisheries Protected Area. In 2009, ORI educated and mobilized 7,500 ecostewards to demand protections for Cook Inlet beluga whale habitat. In 2010, ORI assisted its partner Sunshine Wildlife in Stuart, FL, to reduce nitrogen runoff pollution following the death of more than 40 dolphins every summer in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon since 2001. In 2011, Martin County Commissioners acted unanimously to reduce nitrogen pollution in the Lagoon with a strong nitrogen lawn fertilizer ordinance. In 2012, ORI partnered with commercial fisherman and fishing advocated and successfully sued the National Marine Fisheries Service to include better, ecosystem-based protections for river herring and shad. In 2013, ORI assisted Falmouth MA in reducing nitrogen pollution when striped bass and a horseshoe crab were found dead from harmful algae bloom. In Florida, Indian River County revoked an earlier decision and passed a strong lawn fertilizer ordinance to reduce nitrogen pollution in the Indian River Lagoon. Rob testified before the Senate Committee to save fish and fishing communities.

Target demographics: 50,000 Ecostewards and EnviroGuardians in the US, UK, and BVIGeographic areas served: New England, Florida, Alaska, California and British Virgin Islands

Direct beneficiaries per year: 15 partnering local environmental groups

Geographic areas served: National/International

Programs: Save Fish and Fishing Communities, Ocean Ecosystem Education and Advocacy, Rebuilding River and Sea Herring Populations, Save Dolphins and Stop Nitrogen Pollution, Protect Rivers and Groundwater, Advance Ecosystem-based Regional Ocean Planning, and Recognize Blue Green Heroes

Community Stories

40 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I wrote a letter to the Boston Globe after reading ORI's report about that paper's nod to the plan to pave a section of the Chelsea Creek rather than reclaim it as viable salt marsh. I live on a coastal marsh near New Haven, CT which is able to co-exist with our big port city commerce, but it takes community push-back and vigilance to keep the balance steady. Water resources tie us all together. ORI's outreach via email was what alerted me to the Boston issue and it's grassroots communication like this that can help marshall the voices to oppose powers that would always prefer to "pave paradise".

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

ORI continues to be the leader in attaining and maintaining water quakity in the world's oceans, rivers and estuaries. Their new campaign to help clean up the Indian River Lagoon will benefit the IRL's Bottle-nosed Dolphin as well as other marine species and the avian and terrestrial species that depend on the IRL for their survival. The nutrients and contaminants that are routinely dumped into the lagoon are contributing to the lagoons eutrophication and early demise of the lagoon and it's natural inhabitants. Programs of this nature, sadly, are needed to bring to light the lack of responsibility of manufacturers and the carelessnes of users of products that are injurious to the environment, and ORI is to be commended for their initiative in their actions to promote better water quality worldwide.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Thank you ORI for bringing attention to our ocean and water systems! They are badly neglected and we are destroying them at an alarming rate. More attention must be paid to our most precious resource after air: water.

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

RE: ORI “ You seem to need a lot of reassurance. You should know by now that you are all awesome!!! Thank you for caring so deeply about all these important health, safety and environmental issues!”

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

With the extent of pollution entering the waterways and the oceans of the world through plastics, oil and chemical spills, raw sewage, acid rain and heavy metals from fossil fuel use, the world needs groups that will take the initiative in, not only stopping the pollution, but also in cleaning up the mess that mankind is leaving for future generations. ORI's efforts in this direction have been, are and will be both inspirational and greatly appreciated. The world needs more groups with their dedication and leadership capability. Grant Campbell South Florida Audubon Society Director of Wildlife Policy Conservation Chair conservation@southfloridaaudubon.org 954-812-2613

8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

In a time when we are fighting for our environment, on both the land and the sea, it is good to know that our waters have advocates like you. We have to develope our own "special interest groups" to protect, renew, and help sustain our precious waters. They have sustained us for eons. You are a very special group of people, who stand up with integrity and take on those special interests who have proven themselves souless, and will destroy indescriminantly for profit while many of our leaders look the other way. Please do not allow anything to stop you from carrying on this work. We need you.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ocean River Institute is, by far, one of the most compassionate non-profits that truly focuses on making an impact by helping the environment. I sign petitions all the time with various nonprofits on issues that I care about. Once I sign the petitions, I get the usual "thank you" automated letter (which of course I don't mind and appreciate the letter). When I received Ocean River Institute's thank you, I replied to asking them to watch this video on an issue I care about. I was not expecting a reply. But, I couldn't believe a few hours later I got a response from a real person writing to me! They told me further steps I could take in order to truly make impact. I'm so impressed with Ocean's personable and caring response, that Ocean's is now on my top nonprofit lists! THANK YOU OCEAN RIVER INSTITUTE! :)

10

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ORI has successfully mounted campaigns to protect the rivers, marshes and bays in the locales that I care about. I work seasonally in both the US Virgin Islands and on Cape Cod, where water quality and its affect on the environment are constant concerns. In the 20-something years I've lived on St John I've seen environmental consciousness slowly rising as run-off and pollution accelerates. And in my 40 years of life on Cape Cod, I've seen the ecology learning-curve rise sharply, but perhaps too late. ORI addresses local issues, like mine, and brings my concerns, including the illegal dumping of ocean dredged materials and dumping of demolition debris, to a much larger audience. It helps me to stay at it when our local concerns are shared by people living far away. I am glad to know ORI is there and to be networked with so many other concerned citizens.

Previous Stories
10

Donor

Rating: 5

The Ocean River Institute listens locally and then assists local groups or addresses local environmental/wildlife challenge by networking through the internet. I learned that the British Virgin Islands, which I had visited many years ago, was being threatened by three of the world's largest developers. They were told by BVI government that they could disregard all environmental regulations to expedite building. I was heartened to learn that Islanders had rallied, created the Virgin Island Environmental Council (VIEC) and stood up to the largest developers in the world to protect the last remnants of wildness. The London-based barristers agreed to work probono, but needed their travel expenses paid. For not a whole lot of money I was able enable VIEC to have the legal defense they deserved, and stop developers from buying their way to ecological destruction. Winning in Court has established the VIEC as the environmental conscience that developers would be wise to consult to be sure that natural treasures are not destroyed. ORI let me be a big fish in a small pond and perhaps leave a lasting legacy. Thanks to weekly ORI eAlerts I can keep informed of new challenges and opportunities to make a difference, events and letter writing campaigns. Most often a small donation is all ORI needs, small donations made by many quickly.

9

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Ocean River Institute Inc. is a small but powerful organization that I have come to respect a great deal. Their work extends to a variety of issues, dealing with every size waterway; literally, no watersource is too big or too small for their attention. Their work becomes even more important in the wake of a disaster like the current Gulf oil spill and its impact on the environment and wildlife affected. ORI works directly with communities and small groups, rather than being a huge, impersonal organizational machine, so a relationship between people and nature is always forged. This, in turn, fosters respect for the environment and a working partnership. That is essential to caring responsibly for the planet.

8

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Ocean River has done so many wonderful enviromental things to help out. Their work in protecting Cook Inlet beluga whale habitat was very effective!

6 aminahyaquin

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

ORI is a wonderful, wonderful hands on, grass roots level community organinzing ecological positive action agency. I am so very grateful for the work they have done to help preserve the beauty and health of the Westfield River (which is one that my fmaily and I have lived near or kayaked on many many times). In partcular their work to help the spawining salmon is outstanding. Frankly, their campaigns are all well-chosen adn meritorious, and they keep you posted.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ORI partners with other non-profits to support them both financially and with promotion efforts and I find that refreshing and unique. They really understand that we are all working towards important causes and doing so together can result in a bigger better outcome.I have been volunteering with the Ocean River Institute since October 2009. I first worked with them at a 350 event in Boston, and continue to volunteer with them about once a week. I have edited e-alerts, learned about ocean issues, attended a partnership meeting, made phone calls, learned EMMA (e-mail marketing program), helped with social media tools and had a lot of fun. I support ORI through volunteer work because I love volunteering, care greatly about the environment and water issues effecting the environment, and have a passion for learning. I praise the efforts of this great VERY SMALL non-profit group and always wish them the best of luck!

5

Client Served

Rating: 4

Beiing introduced to Rob Moir from ocean River Institute was nothing short of a miracle. Immediately ORI took the burden off the fund raisers in the British Virgin Islands in our ongoing Court case to protect Beef Island from development. ORI stepped in to get a petition from concerned individuals, they assisted in raising funding and liasing with funders so that donations could be tax deductible. They also raised awareness of the case internationally. ORI continues to be there to give support of environmental issues facing the British Virgins. They are exactly what small NOG's need when they dont have the capacity to write for grant funding or simply the time to write for grant funding.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I work in rural community development and know first hand how crucial an intermediary nonprofit role can be in helping to strengthen grassroots efforts and build the capacity of smaller community-based organizations to effectively achieve their goals. Ocean River Institute is a perfect example of a nonprofit with a national scope and a timely mission that adds value to numerous local nonprofits working on local and regional environmental issues. As a volunteer I have observed and continue to observe a model of service delivery that is well worth supporting.

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

ORI was instrumental at helping to organize fund-raising, international petitions and strategies in raising awarenenss about a crucial development in the BVI which would jeopardize a fisheries protected area. The case eventually went to court and we won. couldn't have done it without the tireless efforts of ORI, who continues to raise awareness in protecting the territory. The staff was sensitive and observant, guiding where needed and let others shine, a rare skill. ORI is approachable, sharp, well-connected and experienced. I will work with them again in a moment's notice.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 4

OCI is a dedicated organization to preserving and protecting our natural wetlands, oceans and other vital resources of earth. It has helped me learn how I too can help in my own way. Even one can make a difference, think of what many are possible of. Thank you OCI

9

Donor

Rating: 5

I am so impressed with how the employees of ORI are committed to the environment! They really love what they do, & it shows!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My experience is in ecological assessments and restoration, especially of endangered species. Most notably, stout iguana, red-legged tortoise, greater flamingo, and white-crowned pigeon. See my 2005 book: Island, Fact and theory in Nature (U. Cal. Berkeley).

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ORI is an institute that I am proud to associate myself with . Their work is tireless, and selfless. TRhay really know how to pinch a penny to get as much good work done as possible.:)