Greg Friedman of Sausalito’s Marine Mammal Center wins a North Bay Business Journal Nonprofit Leadership Award
Professional background: CEO and Founder of Private Ocean Wealth Management
Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in economics, emphasis on taxation, University of California, San Diego; Master of Science degree in financial planning, emphasis on Taxation, Golden Gate University
Number of staff: TMMC Staff total 105 as of 08.20.2020 (87 FT / 18 PT)
Describe your organization: The center is a global leader in marine mammal health, science, and conservation, and is the largest marine mammal hospital in the world. We advance global ocean conservation through three core areas: animal care, scientific research, and education. Annually, we respond to 10,000+ calls from the public reporting marine mammals in distress, publish approximately 20 peer-reviewed papers, educate 100,000 visitors and youth, and train 100+ marine science professionals from around the world.
We bring decades of marine mammal experience to the conservation of endangered and threatened species and advocate for effective policies that protect marine mammals and our ocean environment.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: As a California native, I grew up living on the beach enjoying the oceans and the state’s abundant natural resources. Over the years, I’ve watched as our marine life and our environment have suffered – and I have always believed that we each have a responsibility to do what we can to protect our world for future generations.
After many years launching and running two companies – wealth management and a software company – all with a focus on helping people, I very much wanted to increase my activities to help with the environmental issues that we face. This led me to The Marine Mammal Center, and I was incredibly impressed and humbled at the impact they were making to care for marine life and our oceans.
My primary role is as CEO and founder of Private Ocean Wealth Management, headquartered in Marin County with locations in San Francisco and Seattle. Ours is a service industry, and our goal is singular – to help people achieve their life goals and take care of their loved ones. Serving on the board for the Marine Mammal Center was a natural fit for me, as it involved the care of a much larger population.
What is your role in the organization?
I am an active member of the board of directors, and serve as vice-chair of the finance committee.
How has your organization been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
As a veterinary hospital, the center is classified as an essential service and is continuing its commitment to rescuing stranded marine mammals along California’s coast and in Hawaii and continuing treatment of animals currently at our hospital facilities in a way that optimizes safety for humans and animals during this global health crisis.
As a critical animal welfare provider, we continue to mobilize our mission every day, whether we are rescuing whales entangled in fishing gear off the California coast, conducting new research to strengthen marine conservation, training first responders, or engaging future ocean stewards with now virtual science-based education programs that bring science to life.
Before the economic impact of the global pandemic became evident, the center was anticipating meeting and even exceeding its revenue goals.
As the economic and philanthropic impact of the pandemic became clear, the center projected closing the fiscal year 2020 with a $1.5M reduction in earned and contributed revenue. To keep the budget balanced, the center judiciously eliminated items, such as travel, professional fees, and non-essential training, that do not negatively impact our core mission or our people.
The center also secured a $1.3M Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan through the CARES ACT. We are anticipating that earned and contributed revenue will be lower than expected again in the new fiscal year and are budgeting conservatively, while also determined to maintain our core capacity and readiness for when the economy recovers.
What are the ways your organization responded to increased demands for services, and fiscally, in what has your organization been forced to adjust?
Throughout the pandemic, the center has remained operational for animal rescue, response, and rehabilitation while pivoting to distance learning to continue our education mission.
As a hospital, the center is already well-versed in keeping people and animals safe from contagious diseases and other health risks. In addition to our normal daily safety regimens and protocols, to protect the health of our staff and volunteers, we heightened our sanitization routines even more and ensured staff and volunteers have adequate personal protective gear.