Ranked Nonprofits: Local Environment 2011

Minnesota is known as “the land of 10,000 lakes.” However, of the lakes that have been tested, 30 percent are polluted.
Minnesota is known as “the land of 10,000 lakes.” However, of the lakes that have been tested, 30 percent are polluted.

The Cause: 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)

The Scope: Minnesota environmental experts were asked to recommend nonprofits organizations that work on on water, land and air conservation, energy, providing access to the outdoors (parks and trails), habitat preservation (wildlife conservation), climate change, and sustainable development (land use planning, transportation). These nonprofits might focus on different kinds of activities: policy, research, advocacy, direct services, education, or be community based organizations.

This research was commissioned by Minnesota Philanthropy Partners for its free, bi-annual magazine, MNSights. The Minnesota Philanthropy Partners network includes The Saint Paul Foundation, Minnesota Community Foundation, F. R. Bigelow Foundation, Mardag Foundation and more than 1,700 additional charitable affiliates.

178 Local Environment experts recommended the following 18 outstanding nonprofits.
Meet the experts and read more about this research.

Top Nonprofit Mission
1 Medal-small-2011 Minnesota Environmental Partnership
The Partnership’s mission is to strengthen the effectiveness of the Minnesota environmental community in protecting and enhancing the state’s natural resources. It counts among its members the state's leading environmental and conservation organizations whose leaders understand the power and productivity that comes from joining forces and working together toward a common vision.
2 Medal-small-2011 Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA)
MCEA is a nonprofit organization using law, science and research to protect Minnesota's natural resources, wildlife and the health of its people. At the heart of our mission is a reverence for nature and a fundamental commitment to sustain and enhance environmental quality for the benefit of future generations.
3 Medal-small-2011 The Nature Conservancy in Minnesota
The Nature Conservancy is a global organization dedicated to protecting the lands and waters on which the diversity of life depends. Our 1-million-plus members have helped us protect more than 15 million acres of habitat in the United States and more than 102 million acres in Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the Pacific.
4 Medal-small-2011 Fresh Energy
Fresh Energy works to enhance our economy, protect human health and communities, restore our environment, and establish energy independence. In our sustained and coordinated effort to promote a modern, innovative energy system for the 21st century, we provide research, advocacy and innovative policy models while engaging citizens to take action on the energy issues that affect us all.
5 Medal-small-2011 Izaak Walton League of America (Midwest Office)
To conserve, maintain, protect, and restore the soil, forest, water, and other natural resources of the United States and other lands; to promote means and opportunities for the education of the public with respect to such resources and their enjoyment and wholesome utilization.
6 Medal-small-2011 Friends of the Mississippi River
Friends of the Mississippi River engages citizens to protect, restore and enhance the Mississippi River and its watershed in the Twin Cities region.
7 Medal-small-2011 Environmental Initiative
To facilitate, develop, and implement regional solutions to environmental challenges by building partnerships and bringing diverse groups together in collaborative forums.
8 Medal-small-2011 Land Stewardship Project
Land Stewardship Project works to foster an ethic of stewardship for farmland, to promote sustainable agriculture and to develop sustainable communities.
9 Medal-small-2011 Minnesota Land Trust
The Minnesota Land Trust preserves Minnesota’s natural and scenic heritage through public and private partnerships.
10 Medal-small-2011 Sierra Club North Star Chapter
To explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; To practice and promote the responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and resources; To educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.
11 Medal-small-2011 The Trust for Public Land (Minnesota Office)
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. 
12 Medal-small-2011 Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
The mission of Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness is to protect, preserve and restore the wilderness character of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness - our nation's priceless, million-acre landscape of blue lakes and boreal forest - and of the surrounding Quetico-Superior ecosystem, whose overall health is essential to that of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
13 Medal-small-2011 Transit for Livable Communities (TLC)
TLC's mission is to improve the quality of life in Minnesota communities through a balanced transportation system that encourages transit, walking, biking and transit-oriented development.
14 Medal-small-2011 Ducks Unlimited
Ducks Unlimited conserves, restores, and manages wetlands and associated habitats for North America's waterfowl. These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people.
15 Medal-small-2011 Pheasants Forever
Conservation of pheasants, quail and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs
16 Medal-small-2011 Clean Up the River Environment
To focus public awareness on the Upper Minnesota River and to take action to restore this area of the river's water quality, biological integrity and natural beauty for the benefit of all.
17 Medal-small-2011 Conservation Minnesota
We work with citizens to protect Minnesota's land, lakes and way of life. With dependable information and effective tools, we make it easy for Minnesotans to help their elected leaders make responsible decisions and make a difference that will last for generations.
18 Medal-small-2011 The Great Plains Institute
The Great Plains Institute brings together key public and private leaders from across the northern plains to accelerate the transition to a renewable and low-carbon energy system by mid-century. We work collaboratively with a diverse group of creative, intelligent individuals to achieve consensus on policy and technology recommendations for businesses and government.

Check out all nonprofit reviews for Local Environment (Minnesota).

Have questions about these results? Review our methodology.

Philanthropedia is a division of GuideStar, a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
Through independent research, Philanthropedia has leveraged the wisdom of 3128 experts to provide reviews on 783 top nonprofits across 48 causes.