Top climate nonprofits & the state of climate philanthrophy!
There are SO many important causes to support (e.g. human rights, human health, ending poverty, education, racial/social/economic justice, ending world hunger, animal welfare, and many more). They’re all 100% worth supporting.
But we are at risk of losing all of the gains we’ve made over the decades in these areas if we don’t address the overarching planetary emergency.
Because the planetary emergency is not only undermining all of these issues simultaneously – it’s threatening to take out the very building blocks of our society and economy.
Society relies on a healthy, stable biosphere for food, water, clean air, shelter, livelihoods, and much more…and our biosphere – this place we call home – is under attack.
What I’m trying to say is this: To have a chance at continuing to make progress on all of these important causes, society needs to tackle the climate crisis before it’s too late. Because unfortunately, there is a shot clock on this issue. And if we don’t start dedicating enough of our time, money, and skills to solving the climate crisis, it’s going to take all the other issues down with it.
(Keep in mind that, on the flip side, acting on climate helps improve nearly every other issue at the same time.)
Now, given this reality, you’d hope that a significant amount of charitable donations would be flowing into nonprofits working to mitigate climate change (in part, to help make our corporations and governments go from being part of the problem to part of the solution as quickly as possible).
But climate nonprofits around the world received just $6 to $10 billion out of the $750 billion that was donated in 2020.
That means only 0.8% to 1.3% of charitable donations went to solving what is likely the biggest threat facing humanity today.
The US was even worse at a measly 0.4%.
We need to change this.
Today I’m sharing what I believe are some of the most effective climate nonprofits so folks who want to financially support climate action have a menu of ideas to explore based on their own theories of change or passions.
As always, this list is incomplete. There are thousands of amazing climate organizations not included. So if you don’t see your favorite on here, please share it in this google doc so I and others can check it out.
Y’all have helped shape all of these lists and I am updating them over time!
23 Fantastic climate nonprofits to consider supporting
Climate Solutions & Research
Project Drawdown is the world’s leading resource for climate solutions.
Their research and analysis includes the work of a broad coalition of researchers, scientists, graduate students, PhDs, post-docs, policy makers, business leaders and activists to assemble and present the best available information on existing climate solutions in order to describe their beneficial financial, social and environmental impact.
Via the “Keeling Curve Prize”, the Global Warming Mitigation Project identifies and gives grants to projects across the globe that have significant potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or increase carbon uptake.
The Sunrise Movement is a youth movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. We’re building an army of young people to make climate change an urgent priority across America, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on our politics, and elect leaders who stand up for the health and wellbeing of all people.
We’re an international movement of ordinary people working to end the age of fossil fuels and build a world of community-led renewable energy for all.
Our online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions are led from the bottom up by thousands of volunteer organizers in over 188 countries.
Extinction Rebellion is a decentralised, international and politically non-partisan movement using non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.
We uplift truth, courage, and solutions for the climate crisis.
We resource leaders to build community and spark climate action.
We nurture emergent climate feminists — of all ages and genders.
We invest in women leading on climate to support their transformational work.
Third Act is people over the age of 60 — “experienced Americans” — determined to change the world for the better. We muster political and economic power to move Washington and Wall Street in the name of a fairer, more sustainable society and planet. We back up the great work of younger people, and we make good trouble of our own.
We support the activists who are transforming climate politics.
We fund young, ultra-ambitious organizations that tell the truth about the climate emergency, disrupt normalcy, organize mass protests, and demand transformative change.
Environmental Justice & Frontline Communities
We empower and organize low-income, people of color to build healthy communities for all.
The Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP) is a non-profit, public interest law firm and justice center with a mission to advance structural shifts toward climate justice and ecological equity in communities of color on the frontline of climate change. GCCLP envisions social, economic and political systems throughout the Gulf South that promote equity and justice for all people.
Through human rights-based legal services, community training, local leadership development and grassroots advocacy, GCCLP works to create structural balances in alliance with marginalized communities of the Gulf South. GCCLP’s programmatic work and community campaigns emerge from coastal communities on the frontlines of climate change.
Rainforest Foundation US is tackling the world’s most urgent challenges: biodiversity loss, climate change, and human rights.
They’ve been protecting rainforests in partnership with indigenous peoples since 1989.
IEN was formed by grassroots Indigenous peoples and individuals to address environmental and economic justice issues (EJ). IEN’s activities include building the capacity of Indigenous communities and tribal governments to develop mechanisms to protect our sacred sites, land, water, air, natural resources, health of both our people and all living things, and to build economically sustainable communities. IEN accomplishes this by maintaining an informational clearinghouse, organizing campaigns, direct actions and public awareness, building the capacity of community and tribes to address EJ issues, development of initiatives to impact policy, and building alliances among Indigenous communities, tribes, inter-tribal and Indigenous organizations, people-of-color/ethnic organizations, faith-based and women groups, youth, labor, environmental organizations and others. IEN convenes local, regional and national meetings on environmental and economic justice issues, and provides support, resources and referral to Indigenous communities and youth throughout primarily North America – and in recent years – globally.
Our mission is to create awareness and support for Native environmental issues and to develop needed financial and political resources for the survival of sustainable Native communities. Honor the Earth develops these resources by using music, the arts, the media, and Indigenous wisdom to ask people to recognize our joint dependency on the Earth and be a voice for those not heard.
As a unique national Native initiative, Honor the Earth works to a) raise public awareness and b) raise and direct funds to grassroots Native environmental groups. We are the only Native organization that provides both financial support and organizing support to Native environmental initiatives. This model is based on strategic analysis of what is needed to forge change in Indian country, and it is based deep in our communities, histories, and long-term struggles to protect the earth.
The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice is dedicated to improving the lives of children and families harmed by pollution and vulnerable to climate change in the Gulf Coast Region through research, education, community and student engagement for policy change, as well as health and safety training for environmental careers.
Getting environmentalists to vote in US Elections
We identify inactive environmentalists and transform them into consistent voters to build the power of the environmental movement.
With behavioral science-informed messaging, we text, call, canvass, mail, and send digital ads to millions of low-propensity environmental voters each year with just one goal: turning them into better voters. Since 2015, we have contacted 7.4 million non-voting and seldom-voting environmentalists and helped convert 730,000 of them into “super voters” who now consistently vote their values in every federal, state, and local election.
Public Policy & Research
Rewiring America is a growing nonprofit, working to launch a movement that electrifies everything, starting with our 121 million households.
Through accurate, accessible, and actionable data and storytelling tools that power smart, inclusive advocacy and market-transforming partnerships, Rewiring America aims to achieve national emissions goals, improve our health, lower monthly bills, and create millions of clean energy jobs.
Evergreen is leading the fight to put bold climate action at the top of America’s agenda, implement an all-out mobilization to defeat climate change and create millions of jobs in a clean energy economy. We empower climate and community leaders, and advocate for policymakers to adopt the urgent climate policies that science demands.
Based on a long tradition of system dynamics modeling, our simulations and insights help people see connections, play out scenarios, and see what works to address climate change, inequity, and related issues like energy, health, and food.
Grist is a nonprofit, independent media organization dedicated to telling stories of climate solutions and a just future. Our goal is to use the power of storytelling to illuminate the way toward a better world, inspire millions of people to walk that path with us, and show that the time for action is now.
Founded in 2007, Inside Climate News is a Pulitzer Prize-winning, nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that provides essential reporting and analysis on climate change, energy and the environment, for the public and for decision makers. We serve as watchdogs of government, industry and advocacy groups and hold them accountable for their policies and actions.
Our mission is to mobilize the voice of the workforce to urge companies to go “all in” on climate, both in business practices and policy advocacy.
The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) drives ambitious climate action in the private sector by enabling companies to set science-based emissions reduction targets.
CAMFED is a pan-African organization combating poverty, inequality, injustice, and the climate crisis through girls’ education and women’s leadership.
Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit public interest environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change.
Last but not least, I believe we do some pretty amazing work here on a shoestring budget so I’ll humbly add:
Crowdsourcing Sustainability is helping to reverse global warming as quickly and equitably as possible by inspiring and empowering people around the world to make the places they live and work climate positive.
We’re informing minds, touching hearts, and inspiring action with our podcast and newsletter that reaches over 200,000 people in 150+ countries. As well as enabling connection and collaboration within our growing community to multiply our collective impact.
We’re helping to strengthen existing sustainability champions and bringing new ones on board – building the people power needed for a safer, healthier, and more just world.
If you’re interested in donating to 14 of the 23 organizations mentioned above with a single donation, you can do so with the WISHLY app (which was recently launched by a fellow Crowdsourcing Sustainability reader, Joanne Forster!).
I created a climate action “collection” on WISHLY for anyone who wants to support 14 of these effective climate organizations that are tackling the problem from various angles (I couldn’t add those that are 501(c)(4)s or have fiscal sponsors).
If you want to donate, you’ll need to:
- Download the app with this link.
- Create a profile.
- Find the “Effective, holistic climate action” collection I just made which looks like this:
- And donate! (they require $1 per org, so minimum donation is $14.)
As far as I know, this is the first time you can create a unique collection of nonprofits to support and share with others – pretty cool!
(If anyone makes one for saving/rebuilding democracy in the US, or wants to collaborate on one, please do let me know.)