Our Governance

What drives our dedication?  A passion to inspire a deep sense of connection between people, cetaceans, and their healthy, wild habitats.  


The American Cetacean Society is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit public benefit corporation, governed by a national, volunteer board of directors and managed from its headquarters in San Pedro, California.  Because ACS is organized as a single organization rather than as separate local legal entities, ultimate fiduciary and policy oversight for the operations of the American Cetacean Society lies within the purview of its National Board of Directors.  The Board of Directors may not delegate its fiduciary and legal responsibilities; however, it does delegate oversight and responsibility for daily operations to the executive director, who in turn delegates responsibilities to his or her staff and volunteers.

The heart and soul of ACS activity happens at the local chapter level.  Each chapter is managed by a board, which provides oversight for the chapter’s annual programs and budget in support of ACS’s mission, vision, and values.  Local chapter boards are managed through clear and direct pathways of communication and report back to the executive director and, through headquarters, to the National Board of Directors.  The Board of Directors is advised by a Chapter Council, which provides oversight and consultation to chapters on matters of governance, best practices, strategic issues, and legal compliance.

Photo credits: © Ari Friedlaender