Whenever we learn about some social or environmental issue, as the problem solvers and aspiring changemakers that we are, the natural next question we may ask is: what can I do to help?
Shifting our lifestyle and consumer choices is one way we can help address particular problems; getting politically active with our voices and votes can also help push for more systemic, widespread change. And one of the most effective ways to help realize a more sustainable future is to also support environmental nonprofits. This is because they are equipped with the much-needed background research, social networks, know-how, and action plan to fully serve their missions, and often they’re able to tackle issues that social enterprises and individual votes may not be able to.
However, since their operations run on donations and fundraisers, contributing financially and getting involved in whichever ways we are able to can really help to make a difference.
In light of this, we put together this nonexhaustive list of 34 nonprofits you can check out and support for a sustainable future. We’ve grouped them into six different categories—forests and reforestation, wildlife protection, ocean conservation, social and environmental justice, climate action, and regenerative agriculture—although each organization may cover additional areas with their work, and each of these categories is intricately linked with the others.
Since it may be overwhelming to do too much at once, our recommendation is for you to save and share this list as a reference, and to start by getting involved with just one to two organizations whose missions resonate most deeply with you.
Conservation & Reforestation
1. American Forests is a national conservation organization working in the U.S. and Canada to advance the conservation of forests. It works together with brands and governments to restore native forests, promote and expand urban forests, and improve upon forest policy. In over 140 years of forest restoration projects, American Forests has successfully planted over 50 million trees across North America.
2. Conservation International (CI) is a global nonprofit dedicated to protecting the most fundamental things that nature provides for us: food, fresh water, our livelihoods, and a stable climate. It works with governments, business leaders, and people on the ground to implement real solutions to climate change related problems. In its 30 years of operation, CI has successfully protected over 601 hectares of land, marine, and coastal areas, including areas of the Amazon and rainforests in Indonesia.
Get involved: A $25 donation here will go directly towards protecting one acre of forest. Other ways to get involved with CI include signing up to receive conservation news and calls to action in your inbox, taking the “I Need Nature and Climate Action Pledge,” or reading their tips for greener living.
3. Eden Projects is a 501(3)(c) nonprofit on a mission to employ impoverished peoples through reforestation. Its projects involve working directly with people in small villages in Ethiopia, Madagascar, Nepal, Haiti, and Indonesia to plant over 250 million trees and plan to continue to plant over 100 million trees each year.
Get involved: Donate directly or sign up to stay in touch with the group’s efforts. Businesses looking to make a positive impact can partner with Eden Projects, committing to fund the planting of one tree per sale or service provided.
4. One Tree Planted is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Vermont that has a simple directive: one dollar = one tree. Founded in 2014 with a mission to make it easy for people to help the environment, One Tree Planted works together with reforestation organizations around the world to fund the planting of trees that help stabilize the climate, provide habitat for biodiversity, and create sustainable jobs.
Get involved: Donate a dollar to plant a tree or pool your donations with friends & family to make a larger impact. Those who are looking to get their hands dirty can even become a Tree Ambassador and learn how to plant trees in their own community!
5. WeForest is an NGO that was founded as a simple solution to global warming. The group works to empower communities and create sustainable, high standard, and scalable initiatives for reforestation. It believes that healthy forests are the best technology for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and have built corporate and scientific partnerships to fund tree planting initiatives around the world.
Get involved: Make a direct donation here. Businesses can also engage with WeForest by making a one-time donation, committing to funding tree planting efforts to match sales, purchasing offsets to their carbon outputs, or adopting a forest as part of their company’s corporate social responsibility initiative.
6. The Rainforest Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit building alliances to create a better future for people and planet. They offer a certification program for brands selling rainforest-friendly products and work alongside activists, businesses, small farmers, and forest communities to drive positive social, environmental, and economic change across forest landscapes.
Get involved: Keep an eye out for their frog seal while shopping for rainforest-dependent products such as tea, coffee, chocolate, and paper. Green travelers can even opt for Rainforest Alliance certified hotels and tours around the world, and brands looking to improve their practices can work together with the alliance to transform their businesses.
7. The Jane Goodall Institute is a nonprofit founded by the famous scientist to further her mission of saving chimpanzees from habitat destruction and trafficking. The scope of the institute’s work now encompasses broader nature conservation with a focus on wildlife. The Jane Goodall Institute engages with the global community to educate and inspire people to take collective action, and it also works with communities living in wild spaces to improve their lives through conservation efforts.
8. The National Audubon Society is an American nonprofit conservation organization working to protect birds and the wild places they need to thrive. Originally founded in the 1890s in protest of the slaughter of waterbirds for luxury hats, the Audubon Society now has over 500 national chapters. Together, the society works to identify crucial bird habitats and collaborates with scientists, lawmakers, educators, and grassroots activists to shape its conservation efforts.
Get involved: Make a donation, become a member, or add your voice to a number of specific campaigns. The Society also encourages you to get outside and start appreciating the diverse bird species in your area.
9. The Nature Conservancy is a nonprofit working to protect the lands and waters on and in which all life depends. Founded in 1951, the organization collaborates with scientists, policymakers, farmers, communities, and others to help tackle climate change in a number of different ways. Some of their priorities include greening urban spaces, encouraging regenerative farming, and protecting clean waterways.
10. Sierra Club is a U.S.-based grassroots environmental organization dedicated to enjoying, exploring, and protecting the earth for everyone. Started by the legendary environmentalist John Miur, the group now has over 3.5 million members who, backed by Sierra Club’s support, actively advocate for clean air, clean water, wildlife conservation, and the right of everyone to visit a national park. Notably, the group has been involved in the protection of over 400 national monuments as well as the passage of the United States’ Clean Air Act and Endangered Species Act.
Get involved: Join one of their #OutdoorsForAll treks and trips geared towards helping you access and appreciate the great outdoors. You can also add your voice to important issues or make a donation.
11. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a 501(3)(c) nonprofit dedicated to saving wildlife and wild places worldwide. The organization was originally founded in New York as the New York Zoological Society, promoting zoology and advancing wildlife protection. It has since rebranded and refocused its mission but continues to maintain its vision for thriving natural habitats and societies that value wildlife.
12. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is a charitable organization committed to conserving nature and reducing threats to the diversity of life on Earth. Best known for its work with endangered species, WWF has expanded its mission to address not only specific animals and landscapes but also the larger issues that impact them. The organization partners with businesses, governments, and on-the-ground organizations to implement policies and practices that will benefit wildlife, nature, and the global climate.
13. 5 Gyres Institute is a nonprofit dedicated to empowering individual and collective actions against the global crisis of plastic pollution. In addition to the hands-on work it does out in the oceans and on beaches, 5 Gyres Institute also contributes as a founding member to the Plastic Pollution Coalition where it works with global businesses and thought leaders to explore sustainable solutions to the many problems caused by plastic pollution.
*Listen to its co-founder Dr. Marcus Eriksen speak on Green Dreamer Podcast Episode 103.
14. Blue Sphere Foundation is a nonprofit working to safeguard the world’s oceans through action, activism, and art. Started by a global team of experts and activists, the organization seeks out the front lines of ocean conservation where they are able to gather information to turn into stories and visual assets that they then use to inspire action. Currently, it focuses on protecting diversity in West Papua, exposing overfishing of tuna around the world, and investing in scaling eco-tourism.
15. Lonely Whale Foundation is a nonprofit founded through SEE (Social & Environmental Entrepreneurs), serving as an incubator for ideas that drive positive change for our oceans. Inspired by the power of community, the foundation focuses on creating collective action and using radical collaboration as a tool for supporting ocean conservation. Lonely Whale Foundation works with businesses and entrepreneurs to create environmental business models, gets involved in communities to better educate the next generation, and initiates global movements like the #StopSucking campaign geared towards tackling plastic pollution of our oceans.
*Listen to its co-founder Adrian Grenier speak on Green Dreamer Podcast Episode 1.
16. Oceana is an international organization focused on protecting and restoring the world’s oceans. Founded in 1999 by a collection of leading charity foundations (including the Rockefeller Brothers and the Pew Trusts), Oceana has successfully protected more than 4.5 million square miles of ocean. The nonprofit primarily works with global leaders and lawmakers to create policies for the conservation of marine biodiversity, and the areas it covers include science-based fishery management, sustainable fishing practices, and the proper disposal of hazardous materials.
17. SeaLegacy is a collective of photographers, filmmakers, and storytellers committed to creating healthy and abundant oceans for people and the planet. Founded by National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen and pioneering conservation photographer Cristina Mittermeier, the organization leads visual storytellers on underwater expeditions and uses the power of visual storytelling to create change.
18. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an international nonprofit and marine wildlife conservation organization. Its mission is to “end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species,” and it received approval by the United Nations World Charter for Nature to help enforce law. SSCS uses daring tactics to expose illegal activities, and its work includes following illegal fishing ships around the world, exposing, protesting, and physically blocking whalers from slaughtering countless porpoise species, and advocating for better laws around deep sea fishing.
Social & Environmental Justice
19. One Percent For the Planet (1%FTP) is a global network of businesses, nonprofits, and individuals working together for a healthy planet. Founder Yvon Chouinard (also Founder of Patagonia) started the organization on the idea that bringing “dollars and doers” together can create change. Member brands commit one percent of their profits towards environmental action, and the organization ensures that those dollars go to trusted nonprofits engaged in wildlife and nature conservation, ocean cleanups, reforestation, and other environmental efforts.
Get involved: Become an individual member and commit one percent of your annual salary to the group. To ensure your purchases support sustainability, you can also keep an eye out for the 1%FTP logo denoting that a business is a member of the organization. Check its list of members here.
*Listen to its Executive Director, Kate Williams, speak on Green Dreamer Podcast episode 101.
20. Fashion Revolution is a global movement uniting people and brands to work together towards creating a safer, cleaner, and fairer fashion industry. Founded after the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013, Fashion Revolution believes that collaboration across the value chain (from farmers, manufacturers, dye houses, to consumer) is the best way to radically transform the industry. It works with global coordinators to host events every year for an entire week in April—around the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse—that aim to inspire consumers and brands to take a closer look at how and by whom their clothes were made.
Get involved: Participate in the #WhoMadeMyClothes campaign all year round and especially during Fashion Revolution Week which takes place annually late April. You can get involved in a number of other ways including writing a letter to a brand or policymaker, writing a fashion love story, or hosting your own event. Donations are also welcome.
*Listen to its co-founder Orsola de Castro speak on Green Dreamer Podcast Episode 22.
21. Earthjustice is the United States’ largest environmental law organization, “because the earth needs a good lawyer.” Founded in the 1960s, Earthjustice attorneys have since supported various major environmental wins including the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act. The organization works with activists, national politicians, international policymakers, and individuals to protect and strengthen laws for the benefit of people and a healthy planet.
22. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is a 501(3)(c) nonprofit on a mission to preserve the natural systems on which all life depends. The EDF tackles today’s most urgent environmental challenges with practical solutions informed by science and economics. It works with scientists, economists, policy experts, and professionals around the world to better understand the problems we face and to design and implement innovative, sustainable solutions.
23. School Girls Unite is a nonprofit on a mission to tackle prejudice against girls worldwide while expanding their freedom and opportunities through education and leadership. The organization believes that education is the best way to end poverty, improve global health, and bring about a more peaceful world. Moreover, according to Project Drawdown’s research-based analysis, supporting girls’ education is among the top 10 most impactful things we can do to tackle climate change; this emphasizes the interconnectedness of women’s rights and sustainability.
24. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a nonprofit working to safeguard the earth—including its people, plants and animals, and “the natural systems on which all life depends.” Founded in the 1970s by a team of law students and attorneys, it is now a membership-based organization that collaborates with lawyers, activists, scientists, businesses, and individuals to identify the root cause of problems and formulate sustainable solutions. It works internationally to ensure the everybody has the right to clean air, clean water, and healthy wild spaces.
25. 350 is a 501(3)(c) nonprofit that believes in a just, prosperous, and equitable world built with the power of ordinary people. With members—including activists, students, business owners, labor unions, educators, and more—in over 180 countries, 350.org uses social media campaigns, grassroots organization, and collective public action to oppose new coal, oil and gas projects, support clean energy solutions, and to take money out of the pockets of companies who are heating up the planet. Its primary missions are to keep carbon in the ground, help build a more equitable zero-carbon economy, and hold governments accountable to limiting their emissions.
26. Cool Effect is a 501(3)(c) nonprofit with a simple mission: to reduce carbon emissions. It combines science, expertise, and transparency to create communities invested in reducing carbon pollution. For example, its earliest project focused on helping communities transition to using clean-burning cookstoves. Through supporting various carbon-reducing endeavors, Cool Effect works to preserve natural habitats, implement clean energy programs, and improve the lives of rural communities.
*Listen to its CEO, Marisa de Belloy, speak on Green Dreamer Podcast Episode 65.
27. Earth Guardians is a nonprofit empowering young people to bring innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental issues. Currently led by 18-year-old indigenous youth activist and hip hop artist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, the organization focuses on implementing real, practical solutions to climate change. Based in Colorado, the group has activated local youth to impose a fee on plastic bags, stop pesticide spraying in public parks, and advocate against fracking in the state.
*Listen to its Youth Director, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, speak on Green Dreamer Podcast Episode 41.
28. Greenpeace is an international organization dedicated to creating a green and peaceful world that is ecologically diverse and healthy. Founded in the 1970s, the nonprofit now has a presence in over 40 countries and relies on its membership of activists, students, educators, scientists, and environmentalists to investigate issues and solutions, lobby governments, and show up for actions against climate change. Greenpeace is well-known for its Detox movement against consumption as well as its fleet of boats deployed to physically block oil tankers from leaving port.
29. Project Drawdown is a nonprofit organization and group of scholars, scientists, entrepreneurs, and advocates around the globe who are collaborating to lay out a comprehensive plan to reverse global warming. Conclusions from its analysis show that we already have the tools to tackle climate change. In light of this, today, the group now focuses on educating people around the world and supporting initiatives that implement the effective tools identified from its research.
Get involved: Start by reading the book which lays out 100 of the most effective solutions for reversing global warming. You can also learn more by attending an event, or support the group by making a donation.
30. Fibershed is a 501(3)(c) nonprofit re-envisioning a system of regional and regenerative fiber systems. It initially began in 2010 as a challenge by its founder, Rebecca Burgess, to only wear garments grown, dyed, and manufactured within 150 miles of her home. As Burgess began to work with local farmers and artisans, the project quickly became a movement that championed carbon farming and independent producers. Today, Fibershed dedicates itself to educating the public about the environmental benefits of decentralized textile systems, and also works to connect farmers, ranchers, and producers to each other and with end consumers.
Get involved: Individuals can donate to become a supporting member or attend educational events in Northern California. Those involved in farming or textiles can also become a member of its producer network.
*Listen to its founder Rebecca Burgess speak on Green Dreamer Podcast Episode 61.
31. Kiss The Ground is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit on a mission to inspire participation in global soil regeneration. After learning about the incredible potential of healthy soil to reverse climate change and improve the lives of people around the globe, Ryan Engelhart co-founded Kiss The Ground with the goal to increase soil carbon and biodiversity on 500 million acres of land by 2050. To do so, the organization partners with storytellers, educators, restaurants, farmers, and businesses to spread the word about capturing carbon with healthy soil and implement on-the-ground solutions.
Get involved: Make a one-time or recurring donation here. Learn more about soil regeneration by taking its Soil Advocate Training course or simply stay plugged in to the movement by joining its global Slack conversation.
32. Regeneration International (RI) is a global nonprofit working to promote, facilitate, and accelerate the global transition to regenerative food, farming, and land management. Founded in 2015, it works with over 250 international partners and scientists, farmers, policymakers, activists, and communities to help restore climate stability, end world hunger, and rebuild deteriorated ecological and economic systems.
33. The Soil Association is a U.K.-based charity working with members to advocate for healthy, humane, and sustainable systems for food, farming, and land use. The group lobbies politicians, certifies sustainable products, and provides resources and education for both farmers and consumers in the food and fashion industries. Its current campaigns focus on regenerative farming, agroforestry, banning pesticides and dangerous antibiotics in the food supply chain, and making healthy, sustainable eating easier for everyone.
34. Sustainable Harvest International is a 501(3)(c) nonprofit on a mission to preserve the environment by improving people’s well-being through sustainable farming. Founded in 1997, the organization has been working to train families and farmers in Central America in farming practices that fight hunger, poverty, and deforestation all at once. It firmly believes in empowering farmers and their communities to become leaders in regenerative agriculture.