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501(c)(3) Compliance


The Surfrider Foundation is a grassroots, non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our ocean, waves and beaches.  As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, donations to the Surfrider Foundation are tax-exempt and the Surfrider Foundation complies with all 501(c)(3) rules and regulations. And as a 501(c)(3) organization, Surfrider Foundation has made a 501(h) election which allows us to participate in lobbying activity that is limited by the financial expenditure on that lobbying (regardless of the overall amount of lobbying that may include volunteer time). The Surfrider Foundation carefully tracks the amount of lobbying expenditures paid each year, as required per these rules.

The Surfrider Foundation has made all appropriate efforts toward assuring that we are in compliance with 501(c)(3) and 501(h) limited lobbying requirements.  Staff carefully tracks and records lobbying time and expenses to ensure that we stay below the federal thresholds for tax-exempt status. Additionally, we continuously analyze lobbying registration requirements at the federal, state and local levels and register any activity that meets threshold requirements for registration. 

The Surfrider Foundation also does not become involved in electoral politics nor do we endorse candidates for public office. Per our bylaws, the Surfrider Foundation is a non-partisan organization that is open to all people who care about the health and safety of our beaches and waterways.

As a grassroots, environmental organization, we not only educate our supporters, activists and members about the threats facing our ocean today, but we also empower them with the tools to take action and protect these resources that we hold dear. Per Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) guidelines, the actions of volunteers are not counted toward any reporting or lobbying thresholds because volunteers are unpaid. However, any hard costs incurred by Surfrider chapters or volunteers are also tracked and recorded alongside staff time and costs. The Surfrider Foundation has not exceeded any federal mandated thresholds for “substantial” lobbying activity that would put our 501(c)(3) status in question. We continue to work toward our goal of coastal protection in a professional and organized manner, always well within charitable guidelines and IRS guidelines, thanks to the generous donations of our supporters.