Where to donate for climate policy

As a scientist, I have been asked by many friends, “Where can I donate to assure that research into climate change continues?” Until now, I deferred them to my peers who are more knowledgeable on the issue, as I will continue to do so. However, I came across a great (not at all exhaustive) list of organizations for whom work to affect climate policy. The list came from the AESS listserv.

Environmental Justice

  • Climate resilience in low-income communities – In 2014, the Kresge Foundation funded these 16 community nonprofits in 10 states. Click the link to find a group to support.
  • Grassroots Global Justice Alliance – a national alliance of US grassroots organizing groups that builds an agenda for power for working/poor people and communities of color. It works across climate/gender/economic justice by promoting US social movements, leadership building, and political alignment.
  • California Environmental Justice Alliance – two of its members include:
  • Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) – based in Oakland, serves California along with network of other social justice groups. Especially strong in storytelling about hazards and implications of climate change, could really benefit from more resources.
  • Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment – works with San Joaquin Valley’s low-income and Latino groups to combat some of worst air quality in US and largest waste dumps west of the Mississippi.
  • Standing Rock Dakota Access Pipeline Opposition. Or, donate either goods or money to the people at Standing Rock. Here is their list of needs, and their address.

 Legal Defense

  • Environmental Integrity Project – Advocates for enforcement of environmental laws by showing how failure to enforce increases pollution and harms health; holding federal and state agencies and corporations accountable; and helping local communities gain protection. They recently got the EPA to require coal plants to reduce toxic metals in wastewater by 90%, and a Koch facility in Corpus Christi to cap and monitor GHGs.
  • Environmental Law and Policy Center – Leading bipartisan environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation group in the Midwest. Has a Farm Energy program that convenes a national network to build renewable energy programs for agriculture and rural communities.
  • Center for International Environmental Law – Uses law to protect the environment and human rights through legal research and advocacy, education, and training worldwide.
  • Environmental Defense Fund – Uses science and economics to find practical solutions to environmental challenges. Current top priority is ensuring EPA uses its authority to limit climate pollution and defending the Clean Power Plan.
  • National Resources Defense Council – Excellent reputation for picking lawsuits with most impact that they can win. Works on dirty/clean energy, energy efficiency, clean vehicles, climate resilience and protecting environmental justice communities.


  • E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) – National nonpartisan group of business owners and investors advocating win-win environment/business policies. It shares business leader insights with policy makers on the risks to the bottom line from climate change and the economic opportunities from stopping it; supports renewables and energy efficiency policies and the Clean Power Plan; and advocates for the use of biofuels in the military and returning veterans to find work in renewables and energy efficiency.
  • Citizens Climate Lobby – Mobilizes volunteers in hundreds of local chapters to build political support for climate action by emphasizing shared values rather than partisan divides. For instance, they established the House Climate Solutions Caucus, a bipartisan group, and recruited co-sponsors to the Republican-led Gibson Resolution.
  • Food and Water Watch – Grassroots movement with 100 staff and offices nationwide that was the first national group to call for all-out ban on fracking, and created a national coalition Americans Against Fracking. It also supports the international water justice movement, opposes privatization of water in the US and works to label GMO foods.
  • Rachel Carson Council – Leads grassroots organizing for climate change and environmental justice in NC, MD, and PA. It has a new campus network with 35 schools that links people with newsletters and action alerts.
  • 350.org – Began grassroots organizing in 2008 on climate change – coordinating International Day of Climate Action, Global Work Party 2010, Moving Planet in 2011, and Climate Impacts Day 2012. Works in almost every country worldwide on campaigns to fight coal plants, stopping Keystone XL pipeline, and divesting public institutions.
  • Sierra Club – Runs a number of climate initiatives, including Climate Parents (national movement for clean energy and climate solutions); electric vehicles; grassroots litigation on climate change, fracking, tar sands; and legal advocacy at all levels.

Climate Adaptation

  • Institute for Sustainable Cities – They provide secretariat services for a growing number of regional climate adaptation initiatives, and run a Climate Leadership Academy that provides peer-to-peer learning opportunities for local and state government leaders.
  • EcoAdapt – nonprofit that creates knowledge tools (like how to adapt guides and the CAKEX database), builds local capacity of professionals and municipalities, conducts trainings, and runs the National Adaptation Forum.
  • Georgetown Climate Center – nonpartisan research and website on local, regional, state adaptation and mitigation efforts, provides legal information on impediments to adaptation and strategies to address, helps negotiate compacts with state agencies.

 Science & Watchdog Groups

  • Union of Concerned Scientists – Develops science then translates into policy. Since 2010, UCS has helped pass landmark emissions/fuel efficiency standards and to protect whistle-blower scientists; identified 353 coal-fired power plants that could be closed; protected rain forests to sequester carbon; published exposés on Fox and WSJ misleading climate reporting; and launched a Center for Science and Democracy.
  • Climate Investigations Center – Monitors people, corporations, trade associations, and political groups who delay implementation of sound energy and environmental policies.
  • Bank Track – international tracking, campaigning, and NGO support group focused on commercial banks and the activities they finance. Helps promote bank transparency, accountability and getting them to support ecological well being.

*This listing of these organizations is not an endorsement from me. It is simply provided as a repository of climate policy groups.


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