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Ocean River Institute, Inc.

 12 Eliot Street
 Cambridge, MA 02138
[P] (617) 661 6647
[F] (617) 661 6646
Rob Moir
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 20-8273235

LAST UPDATED: 01/30/2015
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No



Mission StatementMORE »

The Ocean River Institute’s mission is to foster greater personal and community involvement in environmental conservation, sustainable stewardship, protecting wildlife and ecosystems.

Mission Statement

The Ocean River Institute’s mission is to foster greater personal and community involvement in environmental conservation, sustainable stewardship, protecting wildlife and ecosystems.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Feb 01, 2013 to Jan 31, 2014
Projected Income $260,000.00
Projected Expense $260,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Ocean Air Project
  • Save British Virgin Islands Fishery Protected Area
  • Save Dying Dolphins in Florida
  • Save River Herring – Advocating for Strong Atlantic & River Herring Fishery Protections
  • Sunshine Wildlife Educational Programs

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

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


Mission Statement

The Ocean River Institute’s mission is to foster greater personal and community involvement in environmental conservation, sustainable stewardship, protecting wildlife and ecosystems.

Background Statement

President and Executive Director Rob Moir, PhD, founding chairman of Ocean Champions, founded the Ocean River Institute in 2007. Dr. Moir founded the Ocean River Institute while traveling to Massachusetts coastal communities to talk about participatory ecosystem-based management. Dr. Moir gathered together 47 local environmental groups and about 20 high school students at the State House in 2007 to table what they were doing for Massachusetts’ coastal waters. 5,000 people statewide spoke out for better managing the state’s ocean waters. The Massachusetts Ocean Act was passed in 2008.


In 2008, ORI acted as fiscal agent for the Virgin Islands Environmental Council. ORI gathered thousands of letters in support of protecting pristine marine fishery ecosystems in the Islands and paid for British barristers from London to fly to and from the Islands. In 2009, victory came when a judge ruled that developers couldn’t build on the pristine ecosystems of Beef Island.


In 2010, ORI rallied with groups across the country for comprehensive, sustainable ocean management of our Nation’s oceans and Great Lakes. ORI gathered thousands of letters in support of a National Ocean Policy. Later that year, President Obama made it so by executive order.


We believe that people taking action in their own communities and regions are best suited to identify and solve environmental problems. We support local environmental groups by connecting them with resources and services to help them maximize their impact, expand their capacity, and weather unanticipated setbacks. We bring national attention from our network of 22,000 people to local and regional environmental issues.

By thinking and acting locally, we will achieve a greener and bluer planet Earth.

Impact Statement


1. ORI’s dolphin campaign worked with Martin County Commissioners to pass the toughest lawn fertilizer ordinance in Florida, which bans lawn fertilizers during the summer rainy months.

2. Organized and mobilized against a Florida state fertilizer bill intended to strip counties of the ability to regulate fertilizer use and sale.  

3. Mobilized a national constituency for a national ocean policy to protect, maintain, and restore our great waters.  


1. Use Martin County success story as a model for other Indian River Lagoon Counties to follow.

2. Build relationships with other local governments to address nutrient pollution of their waterways.
3. To establish a Stellwagen Bank Sanctuary Ecological Research Area.
4. To assist the British Virgin Island Environmental Council in defending Beef Island’s pristine ecosystems from unregulated developers.   

Needs Statement

ORI seeks support for growing and mobilizing a national network of advocates for sustainable, science-based environmental conservation, public outreach and education efforts, collaboration with and support of partner organizations, working with decision makers, and to significantly reduce pollution in waterways, rivers and oceans.

CEO Statement


Board Chair Statement


Geographic Area Served

Massachusetts-All Regions
Cape and Islands Region

We serve environmental groups, scientists, and environmentally concerned locals in Massachusetts, Florida, California, Alaska, National, and the British Virgin Islands

Organization Categories

  1. Environment - Natural Resources Conservation & Protection
  2. Environment - Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation & Management
  3. Environment - Alliances & Advocacy

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

Under Development


Ocean Air Project

Conservation efforts aimed at protecting oceans, coasts, and watersheds on the West Coast have gained tremendous momentum.  An important factor has been the availability of light aircraft for aerial photography missions and air tours for decision makers, stakeholders, journalists, and donors.
Ocean Air is an ORI program that supports flight operations to advance ocean, coastal, and watershed protection efforts on the West Coast. Michael Sutton directs Ocean Air and is the operator of the aircraft. Michael Sutton dedicates his flying and the aircraft to conservation missions on the West Coast. Ocean Air brings the unique perspective of flight to land, water, and ocean conservation issues on the West Coast. Ocean Air assists the State of California in its efforts to implement the Marine Life Protection Act, helps coalitions of stakeholders in Oregon and Washington launch marine protected area initiatives, and brings these efforts to the attention of journalists and decision makers.
Budget  N/A
Category  Environment, General/Other Marine Conservation
Population Served US Adults Families
Program Short-Term Success  --
Program Long-Term Success  Ocean Air’s long-term goals are to achieve specific conservation outcomes, e.g., the establishment of new marine protected area networks, the enactment of new legislation, the protection of specific coastal ecosystems, and the removal of dams to restore river systems.
Program Success Monitored By  Michael Sutton, Ocean Air's pilot
Examples of Program Success  --

Save British Virgin Islands Fishery Protected Area

Unregulated developers, by invitation from the BVI government, are threatening Beef Island’s pristine ecosystems. They want to build a cement-lined mega-yacht marina, golf course, and large hotel. The development would ruin pristine mangroves, corals, salt ponds, and the Hans Creek Fishery Protected Area. In response, BVI locals formed the Virgin Islands Environmental Council and sued the government.

The Ocean River Institute was asked to assist when the expenses of bringing British Barristers to BVI became clear. 10,000 friends of ORI wrote letters, which were presented to ministers. We won the first legal round, but a new court ruling this year found that Hans Creek and other BVI “Marine Protected Fishery Areas” are not legally protected from development. These pristine fish areas are vital to both wildlife and the local fishing and tourist economy. ORI is working with locals to thwart legal attempts to forever destroy this invaluable fishery area and nesting place for birds.

Budget  N/A
Category  Environment, General/Other Natural Resources Conservation & Protection
Population Served International General/Unspecified Families
Program Short-Term Success  In 2009, with the assistance of ORI, the Virgin Island Environmental Council successfully defended Beef Island from unsustainable development. The court ruled that the developers could not build a golf course, hotel, and mega-yacht marina on Beef Island because it’s a marine fishery protected area.
Program Long-Term Success  We hope to see lasting protections for Beef Island, Tortola’s last pristine five salt ponds and coastal ecosystem. ORI is effectively stewarding the Virgin Island Environmental Council, which will be a force for restoration of mangroves, reduction of waste and sedimentation outwash on to seagrass and corals.
Program Success Monitored By  The Virgin Island Environmental Council and the Ocean River Institute.
Examples of Program Success  It is very rare in the Caribbean for Islanders to take a stand against developers and win. VIEC is now recognized as the environmental voice of reason for BVI in regards to developers, the restoration of mangroves, recycling and erosion/sedimentation issues. 

Save Dying Dolphins in Florida

ORI is saving dolphins suffering and dying from nitrogen pollution in Florida's Indian River Lagoon. ORI is collaborating with local groups and taking these concerns to local and regional decision makers to enact ordinances that will address this problem.
Nitrogen is the worst pollutant of oceans in the world. Dolphin deaths are greatest when chlorophyll and nitrogen levels are highest in the water. The EPA estimates that the Lagoon gets 1 million pounds of nitrogen over the ecosystem's sustainable threshold. Excessive nitrogen creates toxic algae blooms, ocean dead zones, fish die-offs, harms wildlife, and results in slimy beaches.
Suburban lawns have been receiving five times the amount of nitrogen necessary from fertilizers, with most of it running off into the Lagoon. An effective lawn fertilizer ordinance is required to reduce nitrogen pollution. We have had success in Martin County, one of the five counties on Indian River Lagoon. Now we must work with the other four counties.
Budget  $100,000.00
Category  Environment, General/Other Marine Conservation
Population Served US Families K-12 (5-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 
In July of 2011, the Martin County Commission passed the strongest fertilizer ordinance in Florida, which has several requirements. It bans the use of fertilizers from June 1 to September 30, requires that at least 50% of the nitrogen be slow release, and clearly defines setback policies from waterways. Martin County is the first of the five Indian River Lagoon counties to pass such a fertilizer ordinance.
After this ordinance passed, the state made two efforts to prevent local governments from regulating fertilizer pollution and practicing good stewardship. The first time, the state tried to pass a bill that would have banned counties from setting their own fertilizing regulations. ORI rallied with locals and delivered many letters to state legislators and the state's effort failed. In late 2011 and early 2012, the State introduced two bills that allow limited-certified landscaping professionals to ignore local lawn fertilizer ordinances. Again we acted with locals and won.
Program Long-Term Success  We will see a healthier Indian River Lagoon dolphin population and less nutrients flowing into the Lagoon, with fewer and smaller harmful algae blooms.
Program Success Monitored By  ORI's first year of saving dolphins and healthy oceans by banning the application of lawn fertilizer during the rainy periods was a success by many indicators. First, the lawn fertilizer ordinance was passed by the unanimous vote of county commissioners. Second, lawn owners and fertilizer merchants were pleased to learn when and what types of lawn fertilizers to use. Third, locals rallied to prevent the state from usurping local governments of their right to regulate fertilizer pollution. ORI's partner organization Sunshine Wildlife monitors success by taking groups out onto Indian River Lagoon. We visit the Lagoon several times a year and communicate regularly with scientists monitoring this coastal ecosystem.
Examples of Program Success  Citizens are seeing a decrease in nutrients washed into and polluting waterways. Lawn owners need not waste time and energy applying fertilizers during the summer. Homeowners are now savvy to how their actions on the land can have immediate negative impacts on waterways. They feel more responsible with greater pride for how their actions are helping the Lagoon ecosystem. Fertilizer merchants have benefitted by knowing when to stock up on fertilizers and to offer choices with at least 50% slow release nitrogen. Lastly, lawn owners and other locals have stood up and spoken out against the state to protect the local right to regulate fertilizer pollution. Different landscapes and coastal ecosystems each have their own requirements for keeping the water clear and free from nutrient pollution.

Save River Herring – Advocating for Strong Atlantic & River Herring Fishery Protections

The National Marine Fisheries Service and the New England Fishery Management Council have failed to stem the decline of sea herring, river herring, and shad populations. The Ocean River Institute, fisherman Michael S. Flaherty, and charter boat Captain Alan A. Hastbacka are suing for effective management of these fisheries. Earthjustice is representing us.

Atlantic herring, river herring and shad are critical to healthy ocean and coastal ecosystems. They provide a significant source of food for a variety of commercially valuable fish, birds and mammals. Since 1985 there has been over a 90 percent decline in river herring populations. Unregulated industrial midwater trawl fishing fleets have hit these fish populations hard. These trawlers can catch an entire run of river herring with a single haul. They are stripping smaller vessels and weir fishermen of their livelihoods. The lawsuit will get government agencies and fishery councils to sustainably manage herring fisheries.

Budget  N/A
Category  Environment, General/Other Marine Conservation
Population Served General/Unspecified Families Other Named Groups
Program Short-Term Success  ORI hopes to win this lawsuit to force NMFS and the New England Fisheries Management Council to adequately protect Atlantic herring and river herring from over-fishing and environmental degradation.
Program Long-Term Success  Effective management of freshwater and coastal herring fisheries by NMFS to ensure these populations will recover to a healthy, sustainable level. Part of this success, requires better monitoring and control (reduction) of by-catch – one of the big problems for herring.
Program Success Monitored By  The Herring Alliance, NMFS, and ORI
Examples of Program Success  --

Sunshine Wildlife Educational Programs

Sunshine Wildlife Education Programs began in 2000 in response to a need for educational awareness of our fragile coastal ecosystems.  In 2008, Sunshine Wildlife Education contacted ORI to be their fiscal agent and partner for educational efforts on the Indian River Lagoon.  ORI supports Sunshine Wildlife with better signage and protection for two island bird rookeries in the Lagoon, promotes the education work of Sunshine Wildlife on our website and social media, and co-hosts their annual fundraiser.


Sunshine Wildlife (SW) provides on-water ecology programs of the Indian River Lagoon to school groups, community members, and tourists.  SW vessels are used by scientists for monitoring and research. SW works with Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute’s Wild Dolphin Project on locating and rescuing injured marine mammals, as well as with research and health assessment program. Since we began conducting programs, we have observed major declines in habitat and wildlife.
Budget  N/A
Category  Environment, General/Other Environmental Education
Population Served Families Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) US& International
Program Short-Term Success  The American wood stork nests on an island in the Indian River Lagoon in southeast Florida. This island is one of the top ten bird rookeries in Florida. Indian River Lagoon is North America’s most diverse estuary.  It is here that ORI’s Sunshine Wildlife director, Nancy Beaver, is working to research and preserve Florida marine wildlife.  Contributors to ORI have enabled Capt Nan to transport and plant Spartina grass along the shoreline of the wood storks' natal island to help stop erosion from wave intensity.  This is the only place in Martin County where American woods storks nest.
Program Long-Term Success  Attaining a healthy and sustainable environment for all coastal and marine wildlife in the Indian River Lagoon through research, education, and preservation.
Program Success Monitored By  Captain Nancy Beaver of Stuart, FL
Examples of Program Success  The Wild Dolphin Project out of the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute is one of Capt Nan’s favorite collaborative projects. The Sunshine Lady carries personnel and equipment, traveling Indian River Lagoon, from Sebastian Inlet to St. Lucie Inlet.  They are now in their eighth year of updating the health assessments of dolphins, helping to monitor sick or injured marine mammals. The dolphins that Capt Nan observes stay in the general area and only travel about 20 to 25 miles a day.  

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

“ORI's efforts to clean-up our coasts and oceans are necessary to the survival of animals and humans alike. Please continue to do all you can for the inhabitants of our planet Earth.” Laurie Harris, Irving, TX

“ORI is a significant leader on vital protections for at-risk oceans, which cover most of the Earth and provide the foundation for life.” Patrick Pierce, Lowell, MA

“Ocean River Institute's work to clean up our coasts and restore our oceans is to me, one of the most important efforts of our century. We need to re-balance the havoc we wreak everyday on these waterways if we want to continue to live on this earth.” Maria Martinez, Brooklyn, NY

“I think ORI's efforts are magnificent. This organization is one of the great stewards of our oceans and rivers, and I hate to think where our world’s oceans and rivers would be without them.” Richard Cogan, Morton Grove, IL

“I think your efforts are outstanding! I've previously donated to ORI and I firmly believe your cause is just. It made me feel good knowing I donated to a group who is actually out to do something about the problems we have in the environment.” Keith Bailey, Evansville, IN

“I think the efforts of ORI to save the beluga whales, salmon, the Chuitna River ecosystem and Cook Inlet are a great service to our region.” Betty Coats, Soldotna, AK

“ORI's efforts to maintain the health of our oceans, estuaries, and coasts is essential to maintaining our quality of life in the twenty-first century.” Louis McCarten, Glendale, CA

“ORI's efforts have been tireless and continue to work for the betterment of life on planet Earth.” Gudrun Dennis, Gainesville, FL

Andrea Roland, Amboy, IL


CEO/Executive Director Dr Rob B Moir, Ph.D.
CEO Term Start Mar 2007
CEO Email
CEO Experience Dr. Moir is an educator, scientist, and activist with a proven history of institutional management and marine policy success. Dr. Moir has been a leader of citizen science and efforts to clean up Salem Sound and Boston Harbor, as founding president of the advocacy organizations Salem Sound Harbor Monitors, Salem Sound 2000 (there were combined and continue today as Salem Sound Coastwatch)and later Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, and through his appointment by the Secretary of Interior to the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership. He was formerly Curator of Natural History at the Peabody Essex Museum, Curator of Education at the New England Aquarium and Executive Director of the Discovery Museums in Acton, Massachusetts. Dr. Moir was awarded a Switzer Environmental Fellowship from the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation, and the James Centorino Award for Distinguished Performance in Marine Education by the National Marine Educators Association, which he also served as president. He was Sea Education Association?s first assistant scientist to work consecutive voyages of the R.V. Westward in 1979 and 1980, a major gifts officer for his alma mater, Hampshire College and serves today on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Cambridge School of Weston. Dr. Moir has a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies and a Masters of Science and Teaching from Antioch New England Graduate School in Keene, New Hampshire and certificate of studies from the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. Dr. Moir is an At Large member of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


Ocean Air, Sunshine Wildlife, Virgin Island Environmental Council, Florida Marine Resources Council, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Stephen McCulloch (dolphin expert in Florida), Greg Bossart, Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE), Becky Harris and Coastal Waterbird Program, Friends of Cooper Island (AK), Stellwagen Alive, Alaska Oceans Fund, Campaign for Environmental Literacy, The Owl Institute, Seabird Ecological Assessment Network, Conservation Law Foundation, The Herring Alliance, The Mass Audubon Society, Ocean Champions, Heal The Bay, and Ocean Conservancy

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 2
Number of Part Time Staff 2
Number of Volunteers 12
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 2
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 0
Male: 2
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

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

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 N/A N/A


Board Chair Dr Rob B Moir Jr
Board Chair Company Affiliation Ocean River Institute
Board Chair Term Feb 2013 - Jan 2014
Board Co-Chair Mr Jay Baldwin
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation WRC Partners
Board Co-Chair Term Feb 2011 - Jan 2012

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
James L. Elder, LL.D. -- --
Jay Baldwin -- --
Rob Moir -- --

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: 3
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 0
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 1
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 100%
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 33%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

ORI's constituency includes 25,000 individuals across the country and international, and local groups (partners) in Florida, Massachusetts, California, and the British Virgin Islands

Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

Fiscal Year Feb 01, 2013 to Jan 31, 2014
Projected Income $260,000.00
Projected Expense $260,000.00
Form 990s

2013 990

2012 990

2011 990

2010 990

2009 990

Audit Documents

2013 Review

2012 Review

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Total Revenue $249,854 $243,123 $233,112
Total Expenses $230,212 $265,853 $313,585

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- $122,000
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $221,543 $219,294 $110,952
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $28,275 $24,085 --
Investment Income, Net of Losses $36 $-256 $160
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Program Expense $190,522 $182,345 $286,814
Administration Expense $17,057 $47,867 $18,669
Fundraising Expense $22,633 $35,641 $8,102
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.09 0.91 0.74
Program Expense/Total Expenses 83% 69% 91%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 10% 16% 3%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Total Assets $34,388 $11,165 $34,437
Current Assets $33,812 $10,080 $32,675
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $4,494 $911 $4,452
Total Net Assets $29,894 $10,254 $29,985

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy Income Only
Percentage(If selected) --
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 2013 2012 2011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 7.52 11.06 7.34

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in charts and graphs are per the organization's IRS 990s.  Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.


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?


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?


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


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


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