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Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

CharityWatch report issued
December 2018

Top-Rated Charity
CharityWatch Grade
Our independent grade based
on a number of factors.
Program Percentage
Amount spent on programs
relative to overhead.
Cost to Raise $100
Amount spent to raise
$100 of contributions.

Contact Information

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
40 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011

Other Names


Tax Status




Stated Mission

To safeguard the Earth: Its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.

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Data based on Fiscal Year Ended 06/30/2017

Program Percentage: 78%

The percentage of Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)'s cash budget it spends on programs relative to overhead (fundraising, management, and general expenses).


Calculated Total Expenses



Cost to Raise $100: $11

How many dollars Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) spends on fundraising to raise each $100 of contributions.


Calculated Total Contributions


Joint Costs

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)'s rating was adjusted for Joint Costs. If you are a donor who considers direct mail, telemarketing, and other Joint Cost solicitations to be true charitable programs, the below efficiency ratios, which were not adjusted for joint costs, may better reflect your goals.

Program % Cost to Raise $100
82% $8
Accounting rules allow charities to report some telemarketing, direct mail, and other solicitation costs as Program expenses. CharityWatch believes that most donors do not consider a charity's solicitation activities to be the Programs they are intending to support with their donations. We therefore adjust such expenses out of a charity's reported Program expense and add it to Fundraising expense prior to calculating its rating.

Government Funding

0% to 24%

Percentage of cash revenue
coming from government sources


Financial Documents

Entity Document Type Tax ID
Natural Resources Defense Council IRS Form 990 13-2654926
Natural Resources Defense Council Audited Consolidated Financial Statements Multiple
Entity: Natural Resources Defense Council
Document Type: IRS Form 990
Tax ID: 13-2654926
Entity: Natural Resources Defense Council
Document Type: Audited Consolidated Financial Statements
Tax ID: Multiple

Governance & Transparency

CharityWatch evaluates certain criteria related to a charity's Governance and Transparency. Donors may want to consider a charity's willingness to be open and transparent with CharityWatch to be a good litmus test for determining its commitment to public accountability.
This charity is Top-Rated
What does it mean to be Top-Rated?
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
meets governance benchmarks.
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
meets transparency benchmarks.
Provides Financial Information
Audit Accessibility
Governance: Policies
Reports regularly & consistently monitoring & enforcing compliance with a written Conflict of Interest Policy
Reports required, annual disclosure by officers, directors, and key staff of interests that could give rise to conflicts
Reports having a written Whistleblower Policy
Reports having a written Document Retention and Destruction Policy
Governance: Financials
Reports providing copy of tax form to all board members prior to filing it with IRS
Reports that financial statements were audited by an independent accountant
Governance: Board of Directors
Reports at least 5 voting board members
51% or more of voting board members reported as independent
Reports documenting minutes of board and board committee meetings
Privacy Policy
Privacy Policy

  Name Title Compensation
1 Rhea Suh President $534,658
2 David Hawkins Senior Attorney $414,107
3 Linda Greer Senior Scientist $408,573
Name: Rhea Suh
Title: President
Compensation: $534,658
Name: David Hawkins
Title: Senior Attorney
Compensation: $414,107
Name: Linda Greer
Title: Senior Scientist
Compensation: $408,573

CharityWatch Analysts perform an in-depth analysis of charities' audited financial statements and IRS tax filings, and often review other documents such as state filings, annual reports, and fundraising contracts during their evaluations. Below are select notes that CharityWatch believes may be of interest to donors.
CharityWatch's rating of Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is for the 501(c)(3) public charity, which has offices in New York City, Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Montana, as well as in Beijing, China, according to Note 1 of the NRDC consolidated audit of June 30, 2017.

CharityWatch's rating of NRDC does not include the financial activities of the NRDC Action Fund, which is a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt, social welfare organization that is an affiliate of NRDC. "The Action Fund works to build the political support we need in the United States to protect the planet and its people," according to Note 1 of the NRDC consolidated audit of June 30, 2017. The Action Fund received approximately $4.9 million in cash contributions in fiscal 2017, according to audit Note 14. The NRDC Action Fund is not rated separately by CharityWatch at this time.

CharityWatch rates 501(c)(3) & 501(c)(4) organizations separately, even if their financial activities are included together in a consolidated audit, due to their differing tax treatments by the IRS. For more information on this topic, please see our sections on Types of Non-Profits, Tax Status, and Treatment of Related Organizations, which can be found on the Our Process page.

For more information about things to consider when donating to organizations that have related public charity and social welfare entities, click on the "Articles & Alerts" tab (above), and read "Sorting Out Non-Profit Pairs."
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) audited Unconsolidated Schedule of Activities for the year ended June 30, 2017, NRDC reports receiving in-kind contributions on which it placed a total value of $4,240,310.

[Note: CharityWatch generally excludes the value of in-kind (non-cash) donations of goods and services from its calculations of Program % and Cost to Raise $100. More information on how grades are calculated and the treatment of in-kind donations can be found on the Our Process page.]
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) tax filing for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017, NRDC reports for Business Transactions Involving Interested Persons:

"Board of Trustees member, Wendy Neu, has an ownership interest in a building in which NRDC leases space. The annual rent under the lease agreement is $462,858 per year. The aforementioned transaction was entered into by both parties at arm's length and the lease terms are determined by utilizing current market rates" (IRS Form 990, Schedule L, Part V).
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) tax filing for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017, NRDC reports re: Compensation, Supplemental Information (IRS Form 990, Schedule J, Part III):

"Mimose Elie received a severance payment in calendary [sic] year 2016; this amount is included in Schedule J, Part II, Column B(iii) ['Other reportable compensation']."

The total amount NRDC reports as "Other reportable compensation" for Mimose Elie is $136,546. She is reported as the Deputy Director, IT Operations, with total compensation of $280,437 in 2016 (IRS Form 990, Schedule J, Part II).

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