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Press Release: 15 Top Bay Area Climate Change Nonprofits Identified by 97 Experts

September 26th, 2010 by Erinn Andrews Leave a reply »

The longer we wait, the harder the problem will be to solve. –John Kerry

The eight warmest years since 1880 have all occurred since 2001 and it is estimated that temperatures will probably rise a further 1.1 to 6.4 °C (2.0 to 11.5 °F) during the twenty-first century. Human activity has caused most of this observed temperature increase, and if global temperatures are not addressed, these changes can cause tremendous climate disruptions globally.

While many Americans care about climate change, the portion of donations given to the cause are relatively small when compared to the total annual giving in the US. In 2009, $6.15 billion (out of about $300 billion) was given to environment and animal-related nonprofits (these two causes are grouped together in the Giving USA 2010 report). This represents just 2% of total charitable giving.

The Bay Area of California has a long history of involvement in the environment, especially around topics such as land conservation and open-space protection. And Silicon Valley specifically, (home to many tech start-ups) has a history of innovation around green tech, renewable energy, and sustainability. While there is work to be done at the national and corporate level, progress toward climate mitigation can also be made at the local level. Here, the Bay Area is uniquely suited to lead the way in reducing ones carbon footprint.

Therefore, Philanthropedia surveyed 97 Bay Area climate change experts (with an average of 8 years of work experience in the field) to identify those organizations that were making the biggest impact in the climate change field.

Philanthropedia’s experts (funders, researchers, nonprofit senior staff, government officials, etc.) identified 15 top climate change nonprofits (out of 112 total reviewed nonprofits) working in the San Francisco Bay Area. These organizations include associations, advocacy groups focused on transportation, research organizations, grassroots organizers, policy focused organizations, open space advocates, organizations promoting clean energy solutions, environmental health justice organizations, and more.

The following is the list of the top-recommended high-impact nonprofits working on climate change in the Bay Area. “Agree” is the number of experts who agree that the nonprofit has had the most impact in climate change. “Disagree” is the number of experts who disagree that the nonprofit has had the most impact in climate change.

15 Top High-Impact Nonprofits # of Experts who Agree # of Experts who Disagree Year Founded Location

Union of Concerned Scientists

56 4 1969 Berkeley, CA

ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability

53 2 1990 Oakland, CA

Sierra Club

56 5 1892 San Francisco, CA

Natural Resources Defense Council

54 8 1970 San Francisco, CA

45 5 2008 Oakland, CA

Greenbelt Alliance

40 5 1958 San Francisco, CA


35 2 1997 Oakland, CA

Climate Protection Campaign

32 2 2002 Santa Rosa, CA

Rainforest Action Network

36 6 1985 San Francisco, CA

Center for Biological Diversity

33 4 1993 San Francisco, CA

The Energy Foundation

34 8 1991 San Francisco, CA

ClimateWorks Foundation*

26 2 2008 San Francisco, CA

Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

28 11 1996 Oakland, CA

Communities for a Better Environment

23 7 1978 Oakland, CA

Acterra: Action for a Sustainable Earth

19 6 1970 Palo Alto, CA

*Philanthropedia enables donors to donate to all top-recommended nonprofits, however ClimateWorks Foundation, a top-recommended nonprofit, does not accept donations from individuals.

This week we will highlight the top 5 Bay Area climate change nonprofits. We invite you to visit the profiles of each of these top organizations on our website to read the expert reviews here: Experts commented on the impact each nonprofit has had, what the nonprofit’s other organizational strengths are, and how each organization could further improve.

We also invite your feedback here and on our website. Please tell us what you think and what experiences you’ve had with these organizations!

1 comment

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