As a nonprofit organization, we pride ourselves on having financial management strategies that ensure all donations are used to empower young people to become scientific and environmental leaders. Ocean Discovery Institute maintains the highest level of fiscal responsibility and transparency to ensure your contribution is meaningful today and tomorrow.
As it pertains to our audited financials, we experienced a significant change in 2018 that we wanted to address here. In 2018 Ocean Discovery Institute opened our Living Lab, a world-class science education facility in the heart of the community we serve. Built in partnership with San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), the Living Lab will enable us to reach all 10,000 SDUSD students in City Heights.
In order to build this community resource, Ocean Discovery Institute contributed more than $5 million and SDUSD contributed more than $10 million. For the next 40 years, Ocean Discovery has the exclusive right and obligation to operate the facility and provide program services to SDUSD students in our service area. During that period, the facility itself will be owned by SDSUSD. At the end of the property’s estimated “useful life” (40 years), Ocean Discovery will obtain title to the property.
For accounting purposes, the cost of the building was recognized as an asset by Ocean Discovery, and the value of the services to be rendered reflected as deferred revenue (liability). This “liability” is amortized over the 40 year term, and there is no obligation for a cash settlement.
On paper, the structure of this innovative partnership has negatively impacted our Charity Navigator rating (see “Liabilities to Assets Ratio Ranking”). In fact, the Living Lab greatly strengthens our success and enhances our ability to create the greatest return on investment for our supporters. More than ever we are able to empower young people from urban underserved communities of color to transform their lives through science.