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Press Release: 18 Minnesota Environmental Nonprofits Identified by 178 Experts

October 27th, 2011 by dawn Leave a reply »

Results Released for Expert-Identified Environmental Nonprofits in Minnesota!

Philanthropedia partnered with Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, which supports The Saint Paul Foundation, Minnesota Community Foundation, F.R. Bigelow Foundation, Mardag Foundation and 1,600 other affiliates across Minnesota, to uncover expert-identified nonprofits working in the environment in Minnesota, and we just released our results!

We surveyed 178 environmental experts in Minnesota (with an average of 20 years of work experience in the field) to identify those organizations that were making the biggest impact. These experts (funders, researchers, nonprofit senior staff, government officials, etc.) identified 15 environmental nonprofits (out of 116 total reviewed nonprofits) working in Minnesota. See the expert breakdown below. You can also check out who participated in our research here:

Which nonprofits were among the top?

The following is the list of the expert-identified high-impact nonprofits working in the environment in Minnesota. Read what experts have to say about the impact they have made, their organizational strengths, and how each organization could improve further at:


What was the scope of our research?

The environment is of huge importance to Minnesotans. This was made clear on November 4, 2008, when Minnesota voters approved a proposed Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment that raised the sales and use tax rate by three-eighths of one percent on taxable sales. Out of the four funds, three were dedicated to environment and conservation. The Outdoor Heritage Fund is meant to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands, prairies, forests, and habitat for game, fish, and wildlife. The Clean Water Fund is meant to protect, enhance, and restore water quality in lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater. And the Parks and Trails Fund is meant to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance. (Source)

In particular, these were three issues that were unique to Minnesota:

  1. Water Quality & Quantity: Minnesota is widely perceived as a water-rich state. After all, it is known as “the land of 10,000 lakes.” However, of the lakes that have been tested, 30 percent are polluted. In Northern Minnesota, one of the main issues some people worry about is the newly proposed copper and nickel mine because of the pollution it might emit into the nearby waters. This mine is near the boundary waters canoe area wilderness which is the most visited wilderness in the U.S.
  2. Providing Access to the Outdoors (Parks & Trails): Minnesotans value the outdoors tremendously, hence providing access to the outdoors in the forms of parks and trails is an important environmental issue.
  3. Energy: All forms of renewable energy are important for the issue pertaining to climate change and job creation. In particular, Minnesota is among the nation’s leaders in wind energy production.

We invited experts to recommend nonprofit organizations that could be working on:

  • water, land, and air conservation
  • energy
  • providing access to the outdoors (parks and trails)
  • habitat preservation (wildlife conservation)
  • climate change
  • sustainable development (land use planning, transportation)

And these nonprofits might focus on different kinds of activities:

  • policy
  • research
  • advocacy
  • direct services
  • education
  • community based organizations

Specifically excluded from consideration were organizations that focused on:

  • agriculture and food
  • environmental health
  • green building

This week we will highlight the top expert-identified Minnesota environmental nonprofits through our blog and Twitter.

If you are an expert, nonprofit organization, or individual, we invite your feedback on our research. You can reach Dawn Kwan, Manager of Philanthropedia Research at


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