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Top Rated

Public Citizen Foundation

CharityWatch report issued
February 2021

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

Public Citizen Foundation
1600 20th Street NW
Washington , DC 20009

Other Names


Tax Status




Stated Mission

Work for consumer rights.

View similar charities
Data based on Fiscal Year Ended 09/30/2019

Program Percentage: 79%

The percentage of Public Citizen Foundation's cash budget it spends on programs relative to overhead (fundraising, management, and general expenses).


Calculated Total Expenses



Cost to Raise $100: $16

How many dollars Public Citizen Foundation spends on fundraising to raise each $100 of contributions.


Calculated Total Contributions


Joint Costs

Public Citizen Foundation'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
84% $10
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
Public Citizen Foundation IRS Form 990 52-1263996
Public Citizen Foundation Audited Financial Statements 52-1263996
Entity: Public Citizen Foundation
Document Type: IRS Form 990
Tax ID: 52-1263996
Entity: Public Citizen Foundation
Document Type: Audited Financial Statements
Tax ID: 52-1263996

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?
Public Citizen Foundation
meets governance benchmarks.
Public Citizen Foundation
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 Robert Weissman President $240,308
2 Sidney Wolfe Founder & Senior Advisor $172,118
3 Magrete S. Rangnes Executive VP $169,792
Name: Robert Weissman
Title: President
Compensation: $240,308
Name: Sidney Wolfe
Title: Founder & Senior Advisor
Compensation: $172,118
Name: Magrete S. Rangnes
Title: Executive VP
Compensation: $169,792

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 Public Citizen Foundation is for the 501(c)(3) public charity (tax ID #52-1263996). The rating does not include the financial activities of the affiliated 501(c)(4) tax-exempt, social welfare organization, Public Citizen (tax ID #23-7104508), for which CharityWatch issues a separate rating.

CharityWatch separates the ratings for 501(c)(3) & 501(c)(4) organizations, even when they are included together in a combined or consolidated audit, due to their differing treatments under the IRS tax code. 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, read our article "Sorting Out Nonprofit Pairs."

According to the Public Citizen Foundation (PCF) audit of September 30, 2019 (Note 5, Collective Bargaining Agreement):

"The employees of PCF elected to be covered by a collective bargaining agreement and to have the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 500 AFL-CIO as their representative. PCF's management and SEIU ratified a collective bargaining agreement (the Agreement) as of June 17, 2017. The Agreement will remain in effect until September 30, 2020."

Additionally, according to the Public Citizen Foundation audit of September 30, 2019 (Audit Note 10, Concentrations):

"As of September 30, 2019, approximately 75% of PCI's [Public Citizen, Inc.'s] employees are members of SEIU, Local 500 AFL-CIO."