Fiscal Sponsorship

Do you have a great idea for saving our oceans, but are struggling to turn your vision into reality? As a fiscal sponsor, The Ocean Foundation can help reduce the complexity of operating a successful project or organization by providing the critical infrastructure, proficiency, and expertise of a large NGO so you can focus on program development, fundraising, and outreach. We create a space for innovation and unique approaches to marine conservation where people with big ideas—social entrepreneurs, grassroots advocates, and cutting-edge researchers—can take risks, experiment with new methods, and think outside of the box.

By eliminating the burden of maneuvering the lengthy process of establishing and maintaining an independent nonprofit corporation, we enable small groups and individuals—those most often marginalized in the nonprofit sector due to a lack of capital, administrative expertise, or regulatory knowledge—to have a voice and to conduct work in an effective and results-oriented way that makes an impact. And, if the goal is to one day become an independent NGO, The Ocean Foundation can serve as an incubator, fostering the growth and operational maturity of the organization until it is ready to fledge.

Even large, established organizations can benefit from working with a fiscal sponsor to improve their administrative efficiency and reduce overhead costs so more funds can be directed to accomplishing the organization’s mission.

What is Fiscal Sponsorship?

“Fiscal Sponsorship” refers to the practice of nonprofit institutions offering their legal and tax-exempt status, together with all applicable administrative services, to individuals or groups engaged in research, projects, and activities relating to and furthering the mission of the sponsoring nonprofit organization. At The Ocean Foundation, in addition to providing the legal infrastructure of a 501(c)(3) entity, with appropriate legal incorporation, IRS exemption, and charitable registration, we offer our fiscally sponsored projects and organizations the following services:

  • Financial oversight
  • Business administration
  • Human resources
  • Grant management
  • Capacity building
  • Legal compliance
  • Risk management

We offer two different types of fiscal sponsorship at The Ocean Foundation, direct programmatic sponsorship and pre-approved grant relationships.

Direct Programmatic Sponsorship (Hosted Projects)

What we refer to as our Fiscally Sponsored Funds, direct programmatic sponsorship, or comprehensive sponsorship, is ideal for individuals or groups, which lack a separate legal identity and desire support for all administrative aspects of their work. Once they become a Project of The Ocean Foundation, they become a legal part of our organization, and we offer a full spectrum of services so that they can effectively manage their finances, receive tax-deductible donations, enroll contractors and/or employees, and apply for grants, among other benefits. 

For this type of sponsorship, we charge 10% on all incoming revenue.*

Pre-Approved Grant Relationship (Supported Organizations)

What we refer to as our Friends of Funds, a pre-approved grant relationship is best suited for organizations that are already legally incorporated. This can include foreign charities seeking tax-deductible support from U.S. funders, but also U.S. charities during the long wait for their non-profit status approval from the IRS. Through this type of sponsorship, we do not provide the administrative services related to running the project, but we do provide grant management and the administrative and legal infrastructure to collect tax-deductible donations. 

For this type of sponsorship, we charge 9% on all incoming revenue.*

To learn more about our fiscal sponsorship services, and to submit an application, please contact Ben Scheelk, Program Manager.

* With the exception of public/government funding and event income, which are charged an additional 5% to cover the additional administrative and special government audit costs.

The Ocean Foundation is part of the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors (NNFS).