BY THE NUMBERS: Since 2001, Oceana’s research and political outreach have helped persuade governments to increase protections for 1.2 million square miles of ocean
WHO'S IN CHARGE: Andrew Sharpless, 56, a Harvard Law and London School of Economics grad who’s held top jobs at RealNetworks, New York City’s Museum of Television and Radio, and Discovery.com
WHAT IT DOES: In 1999, several foundations—including the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund—commissioned a study on ocean advocacy and realized that only a tiny fraction of money spent by environmental nonprofits was aimed at ocean protection. Two years later, Oceana was born with a practical mandate: to conduct studies and research, inform lawmakers, and protect degraded oceans through concrete policy. The approach has gotten results. Chile banned shark finning, announced the creation of the world’s fourth-largest no-take marine reserve, and reformed salmon-industry practices to protect wild fish populations. The U.S. also banned shark finning in its coastal waters, and Morocco and Turkey outlawed drift nets, already prohibited by the European Union and the United Nations.
EXTRA CREDIT: Oceana can point to dozens of policy victories on four continents in the past ten years. And it’s one of only a few charities to receive a four-star rating from Charity Navigator three years in a row.
LOOKING AHEAD: Oceana has devised a practical road map to wean the U.S. from Gulf of Mexico oil through measures like switching oil-heated homes to electric power and electrifying 10 percent of cars by 2020—a plan that received a grant from the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy last year.