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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Marine Science Institute

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Education, Educational Services, Environment, Environmental Education, Marine Science & Oceanography, Technology, Wildlife Preservation & Protection

Mission: MSI's mission is to cultivate a responsibility for the natural environment and our human communities through interdisciplinary science education.

Results: MSI has been conducting watershed education programs on and around the San Francisco Bay and Coast for almost 50 years. We estimate that a total of 1 million students have enriched their understanding of science and the environment through our programs, and as a result are living their lives with a greater sense of responsibility for the environment. MSI currently works with 50,000 students of all ages each year. At least 75% of teachers rebook our services year after year. Most our growth can be attributed to word of mouth promotion by satisfied teachers and other educators. More than 3,000 teacher surveys collected in the last 3 program years reveal an extremely high satisfaction rate. Teachers rated MSI with a nearly perfect score of 3.9+ on a scale of 1-4. On those same surveys, teachers also scored our programs an average of 3.3 on a scale of 1 - 4 when asked “How likely is this program to increase your students’ understanding of science?” The most common remark by teachers is about how impressed they are at MSI’s ability to engage students in active learning of science, and capture the attention of even the toughest cases of wandering minds or disinterested students. Students we taught in our early years are now in their 50’s. They have passed on their love and appreciation of the environment to their children and grandchildren. Teachers who went through our program when they were students come back to us to provide the MSI experience for their students. Science teachers using the Institute programs have been awarded Presidential Science Teaching recognition, and then commented, “It all began on that ship on the Bay”.  Many MSI “alumni” students and staff play active roles in environmental conservation or in other sciences. Some are even captains of industry.

Target demographics: Students of all ages and schools throughout Northern California

Direct beneficiaries per year: 55,000

Geographic areas served: Northern California

Programs: MSI serves 55,000 students each year by making them marine scientists for the day by putting them in touch with their local habitat and using scientific equipment on our 90-foot research vessel and hands-on programs on our San Francisco Bayside beach.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

My six year old went to Marine Camp this year and had an absolute blast. He ended up sponsoring a little shark that we end up going to visit a couple times a year. I've been on the board for about two years now and really enjoy helping MSI.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Marine Science Institute was founded to provide high quality, hands-on education for children and adults interested in San Francisco Bay. They have land programs, Bay-front programs, and a ship for on-the-Bay programs. MSI runs multiple programs a day throughout the school year, plus runs a top-notch summer camp series. Family memberships add opportunities for lectures, films, fun days, service days, and more. The ED and her staff see quality and safety as top priorities. MSI draws highly qualified scientists to work as instructors and staff because people want to see success in what they do - and MSI provides success not only for employees, but most certainly for child, adult, and family participants. I am proud to serve on the Board at MSI, and also to have participated for many years as a teacher in classes, and with my students on field trips. MSI is an outstanding educational non-profit.