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Top Rated

Drug Policy Alliance

CharityWatch report issued
May 2018

Top-Rated Charity
CharityWatch Grade
Our independent grade based
on a number of factors.
Program Percentage
Amount spent on programs
relative to overhead.
Cost to Raise $100
Amount spent to raise
$100 of contributions.

Contact Information

Drug Policy Alliance
131 W. 33rd Street
15th Floor
New York, NY 10001

Other Names


Tax Status


Stated Mission

To advance those policies and attitudes that best reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition, and to promote the sovereignty of individuals over their minds and bodies.

View similar charities
Data based on Fiscal Year Ended 05/31/2017

Program Percentage: 68%

The percentage of Drug Policy Alliance's cash budget it spends on programs relative to overhead (fundraising, management, and general expenses).


Calculated Total Expenses



Cost to Raise $100: $14

How many dollars Drug Policy Alliance spends on fundraising to raise each $100 of contributions.


Calculated Total Contributions


Joint Costs

Drug Policy Alliance's rating was adjusted for Joint Costs. If you are a donor who considers direct mail, telemarketing, and other Joint Cost solicitations to be true charitable programs, the below efficiency ratios, which were not adjusted for joint costs, may better reflect your goals.

Program % Cost to Raise $100
69% $13
Accounting rules allow charities to report some telemarketing, direct mail, and other solicitation costs as Program expenses. CharityWatch believes that most donors do not consider a charity's solicitation activities to be the Programs they are intending to support with their donations. We therefore adjust such expenses out of a charity's reported Program expense and add it to Fundraising expense prior to calculating its rating.

Government Funding

0% to 24%

Percentage of cash revenue
coming from government sources


Financial Documents

Entity Document Type Tax ID
Drug Policy Alliance IRS Form 990 52-1516692
Drug Policy Alliance Audited Financial Statements 52-1516692
Entity: Drug Policy Alliance
Document Type: IRS Form 990
Tax ID: 52-1516692
Entity: Drug Policy Alliance
Document Type: Audited Financial Statements
Tax ID: 52-1516692

Governance & Transparency

CharityWatch evaluates certain criteria related to a charity's Governance and Transparency. Donors may want to consider a charity's willingness to be open and transparent with CharityWatch to be a good litmus test for determining its commitment to public accountability.
This charity is Top-Rated
What does it mean to be Top-Rated?
Drug Policy Alliance
meets governance benchmarks.
Drug Policy Alliance
meets transparency benchmarks.
Provides Financial Information
Audit Accessibility
Governance: Policies
Reports regularly & consistently monitoring & enforcing compliance with a written Conflict of Interest Policy
Reports required, annual disclosure by officers, directors, and key staff of interests that could give rise to conflicts
Reports having a written Whistleblower Policy
Reports having a written Document Retention and Destruction Policy
Governance: Financials
Reports providing copy of tax form to all board members prior to filing it with IRS
Reports that financial statements were audited by an independent accountant
Governance: Board of Directors
Reports at least 5 voting board members
51% or more of voting board members reported as independent
Reports documenting minutes of board and board committee meetings
Privacy Policy
Privacy Policy

  Name Title Compensation
1 Ethan Nadelmann Past Executive Director $347,131
2 Stephen Gutwillig Past Deputy Executive Director of Programs $206,784
3 Ryan Chavez Director of Finance and Administration $176,731
Name: Ethan Nadelmann
Title: Past Executive Director
Compensation: $347,131
Name: Stephen Gutwillig
Title: Past Deputy Executive Director of Programs
Compensation: $206,784
Name: Ryan Chavez
Title: Director of Finance and Administration
Compensation: $176,731

CharityWatch Analysts perform an in-depth analysis of charities' audited financial statements and IRS tax filings, and often review other documents such as state filings, annual reports, and fundraising contracts during their evaluations. Below are select notes that CharityWatch believes may be of interest to donors.
CharityWatch's rating of Drug Policy Alliance (tax ID# 52-1516692) is for the 501(c)(3) public charity.

CharityWatch issues a separate rating for Drug Policy Action (tax ID# 52-1951197), which is Drug Policy Alliance's related 501(c)(4) tax-exempt, social welfare organization.

For more information on why CharityWatch issues separate ratings of related 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations, please see our sections on Types of Non-Profits, Tax Status, and Treatment of Related Organizations, which can be found on the Our Process page.

For more information about things to consider when donating to organizations that have related public charity and social welfare entities, click on the "Articles & Alerts" tab (above), and read "Sorting Out Non-Profit Pairs."
According to the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) audit of May 31, 2017 (Note 8, Note Payable-Related Party):

"During 2015, DPA entered into a revolving note payable with Drug Policy Action to borrow up to $5,000,000. During 2016, the amount DPA can borrow was increased to $10,000,000. During 2017, the amount DPA can borrow was increased to $15,000,000. Interest on outstanding borrowings under the agreement is fixed at 2% per annum. As of May 31, 2017 and 2016, the outstanding balance is $7,000,000. The note has no maturity and is payable on demand. Interest expense in the [sic] amounted to $160,000 [and] $118,333 for the years ended May 31, 2017 and 2016."

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