Share |

Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center Inc.

 23 Harbor Loop
 Gloucester, MA 01930
[P] (978) 281-0470
[F] (978) 281-0327
Kelly Opris
Facebook Twitter
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-3480870

LAST UPDATED: 03/14/2019
Organization DBA Maritime Gloucester
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years Yes


Mission StatementMORE »

The mission of Maritime Gloucester is to inspire students and visitors to value marine science, maritime heritage and environmental stewardship through hands-on education and experiences.

Mission Statement

The mission of Maritime Gloucester is to inspire students and visitors to value marine science, maritime heritage and environmental stewardship through hands-on education and experiences.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2017 to June 30, 2018
Projected Income $1,172,860.00
Projected Expense $1,006,055.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Gloucester Gig Rowers
  • Ocean Explorers
  • School Vacation Programming

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

The mission of Maritime Gloucester is to inspire students and visitors to value marine science, maritime heritage and environmental stewardship through hands-on education and experiences.

Background Statement

Located in the middle of Gloucester harbor’s busy working waterfront, Maritime Gloucester is a non-profit maritime museum and aquarium that provides education and public programs about maritime heritage, traditional boatbuilding, ocean science, and environmental stewardship. Founded in 1999, our early years focused on using the oldest operational marine railway in the country to restore and repair traditional wooden boats. Over time, we began and gradually expanded our educational programs, and today, our focus is on helping students and the community understand our past, present, and future relationship with the changing ocean and the sustainable exploration and management of its natural resources.

Impact Statement

Recent Accomplishments:
- This past year, over 25,000 visitors came to our exhibits, viewed Gloucester’s working waterfront from the Harriet Webster Pier, and sailed aboard the Schooners Ardelle and Adventure, and more than 5,000 students and educators visited Maritime Gloucester to take part in educational programming and historical maritime activities on our working waterfront, in our Sea Pocket Aquarium, and in our exhibit galleries and classrooms.
- In 2018, we underwent a new Strategic Planning process, and hired a new Executive Director who is providing renewed energy to revitalizing the organization and steering it into the 21st century.
- In 2018, we designed and installed a new exhibit on Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, including stories and interactive tools about the natural history of Stellwagen Bank and the people who work to sustainably study and manage the Sanctuary.
- In 2016, we installed an entirely new Sea Pocket Aquarium full of local marine life.

Needs Statement

- Increasing capacity of program staff and volunteers to serve more students and visitors with impactful programs and interactions
- Increasing development capacity to foster more sustainable financial growth
- Upgrading facilities to increase safety and accessibility of our campus

CEO Statement


Board Chair Statement


Geographic Area Served

Based on Cape Ann, we work with all public schools, and some private schools, in all greater Cape Ann towns and beyond.  Our membership and program participants range from down the street to across the county and around the world.

Organization Categories

  1. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Historical Societies & Historic Preservation
  2. -
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



Gloucester Gig Rowers

Maritime Gloucester sponsors a rowing club that takes the boats out for recreational and conditioning (for a cardiovascular workout) group rows. Club membership, along with training, are required to use the boats. No previous rowing experience/knowledge is necessary. In addition to rows, the club hosts many social events.
Budget  $5,000.00
Category  Recreation & Sports, General/Other Physical Fitness
Population Served Adults Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  We are a diverse group of people with one common interest: to be on the water. Our community is about enthusiasm as well as skill; determination as much as strength; team pursuit rather than individual.
Program Long-Term Success 

The Gloucester Gig Rowers started in 1985. The original group of women remained active until the early 1990s, when other interests and events intervened.

 In the spring of 2001 one of those women organized a rowing program within the newly-formed Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center.

Between 2004-2007, a second boat – Gannet - was built in the tradition of the older English pilot gigs.

Over the winter-spring of 2012, we commissioned a new gig to be built at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. This newest gig has been at our dock since summer 2013.

Program Success Monitored By  The Gloucester Gig Rowers have an active Steering Committee that meets regularly to refine program goals and logistics.  They have several meetings over the course of the year with all members to discuss how the program is working and how needs of the group can be better met.
Gloucester Gig Rowers meet with other rowing clubs to discuss membership formats and logistics in the off-season.
Examples of Program Success 
The return rate of rowers from year to year is consistently high. In addition membership has grown substantially over the years.
After a brief orientation, rowers are encouraged to pursue their interests, ranging from a recreational row around the harbor, to conditioning rows, race training, and competitive racing against other New England clubs. Races are as short as several-hundred-yard, and as long as 20 miles around Cape Ann. We also engage in intra-club recreational scrimmages periodically throughout the season. 

Ocean Explorers

Ocean Explorers is a multi-year environmental/marine science experience for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students in Gloucester Public Schools. Over the course of each school year, each class participates in six hands-on marine and physical science experiences: a field trip to our facility in the fall, four in-school learning sessions over the winter, and another field trip in the spring. In the field trips to Maritime Gloucester, each class rotates through three one-hour learning units in our classroom, digital microscope lab, touch tank aquariums, and boat house. In the spring, students also sail in Gloucester Harbor aboard our research-equipped schooner Ardelle. In the winter, Maritime Gloucester staff visit the schools to lead four one-hour units in each classroom. These lessons further develop and reinforce the subjects explored during the field trips, stitching the program into an engaging, year-long learning experience.
Budget  $78,000.00
Category  Science & Technology, General/Other Biological & Life Sciences
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Program Short-Term Success  At Maritime Gloucester, students benefit from the opportunity to engage in hands on explorations in both life and physical science that would not be possible to replicate in the classroom. Through these explorations, students are introduced to science process skills that are developmentally appropriate for their age level, expand their science vocabulary and explore content areas that are directly linked to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.
Program Long-Term Success  Ocean Explorers is Maritime Gloucester’s core program. It maximizes year-round use our facility for educational programming. It gives us a vehicle for getting out the word in the community about who we are and what we do. It builds our credibility by enabling us to share our resources with children in the community who do not have easy access to boats, to scientific equipment or to settings where they are encouraged to engage in hands-on activities designed to demystify natural phenomena that occur in their immediate environment.
Program Success Monitored By 
Learning units have been developed and refined with input from Science Team Lead Teachers for each grade and complement the work that the students are doing in the classroom. Maritime Gloucester also provides pre- and post- visit materials that teachers incorporate as a part of their classroom lessons.
Students and teachers fill out evaluation forms on individual units and the overall program.
Examples of Program Success  The program is emblematic of the maturation of our organization. It has given us recognition as a provider of high quality science instruction.

School Vacation Programming

We offer fun vacation week programs for children PreK - 5th grade.
Budget  $1,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Program Short-Term Success  At the end of the class students will have grasped the natural or physical science property discussed in the class and be able to answer questions and/or create a craft project that demonstrates that understanding.
Program Long-Term Success  An informed younger generation!
Program Success Monitored By  Returning students.
Examples of Program Success  Students walk away with a finished craft project to bring home.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments



CEO/Executive Director Mr. Michael J De Koster
CEO Term Start June 2018
CEO Email
CEO Experience --
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Ms. Elise (Lee) Cunningham July 2017 May 2018
Mr. Tom Balf Dec 2011 June 2017

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --



CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 1
Number of Part Time Staff 6
Number of Volunteers 10
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 8
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 5
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 2
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy --
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions


Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair Mr. Geoffrey Richon
Board Chair Company Affiliation Geoffrey H. Richon Company
Board Chair Term Nov 2013 - Nov 2018
Board Co-Chair Mr. Paul Cole
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation self-employed
Board Co-Chair Term Nov 2015 - Nov 2018

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Quincy Bent Community Volunteer Exofficio
Mr. Donald Boye AECom Voting
Mr. Jay Bragg Resort Realty Advisors Voting
Ms. Daisy Nell Collinson self-employed Voting
Ms. Debe Holland self-employed Voting
Mr. Jay McLauchlan fine woodworker Voting
Mr. Geno Mondello Lobsterman, Dory Builder Voting
Mr. Geoffrey Richon Founder Voting
Ms. Mary Scofield Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Nancy Sullivan Community Volunteer Voting
Mr. William Taylor Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Holly McGlennon Treat The Bertram Group Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 18
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 8
Male: 10
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 79%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 42%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

  • Board Governance
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Education
  • Executive
  • Facilities
  • Finance
  • Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
  • Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Revenue $786,237 $1,470,977 $834,277
Total Expenses $888,037 $926,313 $862,084

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $28,650 $245,400 $11,000
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $28,650 $245,400 $11,000
Individual Contributions $394,859 $837,212 $529,890
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $271,172 $326,922 $232,192
Investment Income, Net of Losses $17,238 $1,869 $2,099
Membership Dues $47,230 $36,044 $19,420
Special Events $27,088 $23,530 $39,676
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Program Expense $701,289 $742,443 $731,091
Administration Expense $83,579 $82,378 $77,422
Fundraising Expense $103,169 $101,492 $53,571
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.89 1.59 0.97
Program Expense/Total Expenses 79% 80% 85%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 23% 9% 9%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Assets $2,820,018 $2,934,233 $2,420,623
Current Assets $271,299 $409,346 $203,299
Long-Term Liabilities $288,944 $295,716 $284,575
Current Liabilities $43,919 $49,562 $91,757
Total Net Assets $2,487,155 $2,588,955 $2,044,291

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value $147,286.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage(If selected) 3.0%
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 6.18 8.26 2.22

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 10% 10% 12%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.
For the FY12 and FY11 audit, the independent auditors issued a qualification to their opinion regarding the effects of not reflecting remediation costs required to clean the in-water sediments below the Harbor Loop property to meet Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection standards. Please review the Auditors opinion for further information.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

The mission of Maritime Gloucester is to inspire students and visitors to value marine science, our maritime heritage and environmental stewardship through hands-on education and experiences.

To accomplish its mission and pursue its vision, Maritime Gloucester offers programs, services and activities consistent with the following core values:

Inspiring Discovery –providing hands-on experiences and stories to motivate and enhance learning;

Embracing history –using the working waterfront as a platform for discovering the past, and for providing context and perspective for the future;

Exploring Science – opening the door to new possibilities and to the potential for a life-long interest in marine science and related marine science and technology fields;

Living Stewardship – recognizing the responsibility to value, protect, preserve and enhance the marine resources available to us.

For Maritime Gloucester, it is education – connecting generations to the ocean through the lens of Gloucester Harbor – that drives our mission, our programs and our future. Our core goal is to provide knowledge, skills and experiences to students and visitors to ensure a fundamental literacy associated with marine sciences, fisheries and a working waterfront. While our current, primary target audience is elementary students in the Cape Ann area, we effectively serve an intergenerational audience of parents and grandparents and children with a variety of interactive exhibits, programs and experiences. The social change we seek is to support a sustained maritime and fishing culture by creating avenues for the transfer of knowledge and skills through shared experiences that build trust.


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

In 2013, Maritime Gloucester recognized that it must strengthen its organizational readiness and capacity, bolster its financial revenue model and define and execute a well-conceived strategic plan to achieve its long term goals.

The Strategic for 2012 – 2017 was the work product of a Strategic Planning subcommittee co-chaired by Executive Director, Tom Balf, and Board Member Lee Cunningham. It was reviewed and revised based on the comments of the Executive Committee, the Board and key external advisors and friends of Maritime Gloucester.

The Strategic Plan identifies key areas of focus, objectives and strategies for achieving the stated objectives. Core strategies were developed for Educational Programs, Visitor Experience, Program Integration, Community Support, Organizational Leadership, Working Waterfront, Financial Stability and Living Values. These are summarized below in this and the next section.

Educational Programming Goal: Expand Maritime Gloucester’s reach as a leader in hands-on marine science and maritime education throughout Essex County.

Strategy: Use Gloucester Harbor – its ecosystem, activities and history – to offer a range of educational programs that covers marine science, technology engineering and math (STEM) and traditional maritime skills and trades.

Actions: 9 actions identified including develop youth centered programs (e.g., Sea Scouts), provide guided educational and interpretive experiences and create new educational initiatives around green chemistry, marine debris, coastal changes and 21st century ocean skills

Visitor Destination Goal: Establish Maritime Gloucester as a leading visitor destination on the North Shore

Strategy: Provide a welcoming, real and timeless experience of exploration, discovery and fun that encourages return visitation and word-of-mouth marketing, and supports the harbor and downtown Gloucester as a full-day visitor destination

Actions: 11 actions identified including upgrade aquarium experience, expand winter programming and provide consistent, informative and interpretive signage

Program Integration Goal: Integrate the discrete elements of our site into a compelling story and experience that connects the pieces

Strategy: Build community support for our organization among fishermen, shipwrights, mariners, scientists, parents, students, and environmentalists by providing useful services and programs.

Actions: 3 actions identified that include Connect visitors and students to the harbor and ocean as portal to past, present and future; Leverage resources, activities and exhibits; and Provide guided or self-guided tours

Community Support Goal: Establish Maritime Gloucester as a prominent, leading resource for waterfront and harbor activities that serve the varied interests of the community

Strategy: Build community support for our organization among fisherman, shipwrights, mariners, scientists, parents, students, and environmentalist by providing useful services and programs and serving as a place where thoughtful, informed dialogue on ocean issues occurs.

Actions: 7 actions identified including the promotion of the MG campus as linchpin to harbor economic development, build membership through enhanced member benefits and leverage volunteers in the community.

Working Waterfront Goal: Sustain Maritime Gloucester as a vital part of the working waterfront

Strategy: Invest in and support maritime activities on site with focus on the continuing operation of the marine railway

Actions: 7 items identified including support boat building and boat repair projects; support visiting schooners and expand the Ardelle business

3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

Part of our strategic plan included building our organizational capacity. Below, we have identified these areas of focus.

Organizational Leadership Goal: Strengthen the organizational readiness and capacity of the Board of Directors and Senior Management to fiscally and programmatically sustain the organization

Strategy: Attract and support Board members who are committed to the mission and who have the board experience and capacity to contribute programmatically and financially to the success of the organization. Seek and retain extraordinary senior staff to identify, seize and respond to opportunities to expand and enhance educational and visitor programs and services.

Actions: Four action items were identified including leverage community advisors and building a strong volunteer base.

Develop and implement a stable financial plan that funds sustained institutional growth

Strategy: Expand educational and visitor revenues through capital investment, increased programming and expanded marketing and outreach

Actions: 8 actions identified including revise financial reporting, grow endowment and build corporate sponsorships

Financial Stability Goal: Our strongest internal resource is our site, a one-acre campus that includes valuable wharf, pier, buildings and harbor access. Our total assets are valued at $2.5MM Our staff includes a full-time Executive Director and Education Director and part-time office manager, waterfront manager, program manager and development manager. This staff is augmented with summer staff (admissions/reception, store personnel) and per diem educators. Our staff (and Board) includes people with exceptional maritime, fisheries, marine science and environmental backgrounds. Our current FY2015 budget is pegged at $1MM, while last year’s budget revenue was $720,000.

Maritime Gloucester has spent a great deal of time developing meaningful community partnerships and building reputational capital that can be leveraged. Last year, we “partnered” with eight higher education institutions; 21 Maritime, Fishing and Environmental organizations; 20 Local Educational and Cultural Organizations; and hosted or was actively involved with 24 community events. 

4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?


5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?