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Best Environmental Organizations & Nonprofits (2021 List)

Earth Day dates back to 1970, where 22 million Americans participated, and today, it’s observed in 175 countries. It’s a time to celebrate the environment and educate ourselves on the issues that threaten the planet’s wellbeing.

On this day of global recognition, some people choose to volunteer while others dive deep into recycling. You can also celebrate by taking the time to acknowledge the achievements and efforts of environmental defenders, like some of these phenomenal environmental organizations listed below.

13 Environmental Nonprofits You Can Help Support

1. Bitter Root Water Forum

Serious about protecting the lifeline of the world, the Bitter Root Watershed Forum (BRWF) is a nonprofit focused on the restoration and education related to a watershed in the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana – an area known for its jaw-dropping views and picture-perfect backdrops.

On the education front, the BRWF starts ’em early with an Earth Stewardship Program that includes hands-on lessons, playing ‘Water Quality Jeopardy’, and field trips for over 300 students in Ravalli County.

The Future Irrigators of the Bitterroot Program connects students to the outdoors, where they learn about protecting fisheries and conservation methods.

The BRWF actively defends the water resources in the Bitterroot Valley through restoration projects that elevate water health.

In an effort to support, clean and celebrate their local waters, the group hosts outdoor events to raise money for river clean up, such as the Run for the River 5K, as well as organizes clean up parties where volunteers learn more about the importance and methods of ecological conservation.

For donors who care about…

  • Clean water
  • Conservation Education

How to Support Bitter Root Watershed Forum

2. Green Umbrella

Donate now to Green Umbrella

What started as an organization geared towards preserving and restoring the unending diversity of plants and wildlife in the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana area has since expanded to include projects in clean air and other eco-friendly causes. Green Umbrella has a goal to elevate their region as one of the top 10 most sustainable metro areas in the U.S. by 2020.

With a commitment to promote the beauty of outdoor recreation and instill nature awareness in adults and children across 10 counties in the area, this nonprofit is known for lending eco-friendly startups and organizations a helping hand, which includes support for the following:

  • Red Bike: a bike-share program that promotes cleaner air and provides affordable, healthy, green transportation
  • Taking Root: tree conservation responsible for the planting of almost a ½ a million trees
  • Outdoor Adventure Clubs of Greater Cincinnati: molds future generations of environmental advocates by nurturing an appreciation for healthy recreation; teens explore nature’s playground through hiking, camping and fishing.
  • Tri-State Trails: the creation of multi-use trails, on-road bike lanes and hiking trails support cleaner air practices and an improved quality of life for residents

For donors who care about…

  • preserving the beauty of outdoor recreation
  • nature awareness education for all ages
  • restoring and preserving plants & wildlife

How to Support Green Umbrella

3. Marine Conservation Institute

Calling all water babies! Without the efforts of organizations, like the Marine Conservation Institute, the largest life support system in the world would fall victim to pollution, destructive fishing techniques, and loss of amazingly unique ocean life.

As defenders of global waters, the Marine Conservation Institute identifies marine protected areas and maintains the most complete online databases in the world. They pinpoint fish habitat conservation zones, forge sustainable seafood partnerships, and advocate for critically endangered animals.

Marine Conservation Institute also welcomes the public to nominate great MPAs for Global Ocean Refuge awards and to help spread the word about GLORES.

To ensure future generations have a chance to enjoy the hypnotic waters, tropical coral reefs and exotic marine creatures of the deep blue sea in places like California, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Institute also uses donations from eco-warriors such as yourself to promote sustainable tourism.

For donors who care about…

  • save ocean life
  • protecting marine life in the face of climate change
  • protecting marine life from human exploitation

How to Support Marine Conservation Institute

4. West Sound Wildlife Shelter

Donate now to West Sound Wildlife Shelter

Here’s a nonprofit for the animal lover in you. The Washington-based West Sound Wildlife Shelter combines quality care with public outreach and education to make sure that injured, orphaned, and sick wildlife get a new lease on life.

The West Sound Wildlife Shelter team is who you call when you see an injured critter by the side of the road. The team will do their best to patch it up and make sure it’s ready to return to its natural habitat.

Rowdy raccoons and other wild animals becoming a nuisance at home? They’ll give you non-lethal advice on possible solutions.

Wildlife ambassadors, like turkey vulture Remi (aka “Princess”), Sunny, the great-horned owl and Opal, the Virginia opossum, are on hand to educate with live animal presentations that local groups can book.

The Shelter cares for more than 1,600 wildlife patients yearly, and your donation can go towards the rehabilitation of their next animal ambassador.

For donors who care about…

  • animals and wildlife
  • education on how to care for injured wildlife or sick wildlife

How to support West Sound Wildlife Shelter

5. Rhode Island Environmental Education Association

Donate now to Rhode Island Environmental Education Association
Rhode Island Environmental Education Association (RIEEA) making its mark on the environment.

Education is essential for spreading the word on the importance of protecting the planet, and the Rhode Island Environmental Education Association (RIEEA) is no stranger to utilizing the power of knowledge.

Fueled by a network of individuals, teachers, schools, state agencies and other organizations devoted to increasing the environmental awareness of all adults and youths in the state, RIEEA makes its mark in many ways.

This nonprofit has a solid reputation for getting families and students excited about the outdoors, as seen in the workshops hosted through a recent Land & Water Conservation Summit partnership.

RIEEA workshops and training equips educators with the information and tools needed to teach the value of earth-friendly practices. They also award professional development scholarships to members.

Past collaborations have also included hosting an Environmental Leadership Seminar with the Department of Education at Brown University.

For donors who care about…

  • promoting high quality environmental education
  • promoting environmental literacy
  • making an impact together to help save the environment

How to support Rhode Island Environmental Education Association

6. Land Trust for Central North Carolina

Donate now to LandTrust for Central North Carolina

With 25,000 acres already protected, the Three Rivers Land Trust for Central North Carolina is dedicated to the conservation of the natural escapes, breathtaking landscapes, historic sites, and wildlife refuges in a 10-county region of the state.

Because of the Land Trust, it’s possible for you to hike Catawba Ecological Preserve Trail, birdwatch at Dunn’s Mountain Park, indulge in wildlife photography at Eagle Point Nature Preserve, and swim Barnes Creek at Jumping Off Rock.

The Land Trust’s Three Rivers Canoe & Kayak Race Series raises money through an ultra-scenic event where participants get a chance to (re)visit the region’s unique wildlife and woodlands atop refreshing waterways. They also host an annual Naturalist Day that includes a morning hike and native plant exploration, with music provided by neotropical migrant songbirds.

Your donation to The Land Trust could help conserve the additional 10-15,000 acres of land they’d like to protect in the near future.

For donors who care about…

  • conservation of the natural escapes
  • conservation of thousands of acres to protect in the future
  • conservation of historic sites and wildlife refuges

How to Support Land Trust for Central North Carolina

7. 350.org

Donate now to 350.org

350.org is a nonprofit dedicated to stopping new fossil fuel projects (coal, oil, and gas) to ensure a clean energy future safe from the worst impacts of the climate crisis. Named for the safe atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide measured in parts per million, 350 was founded in 2008 by a university friend group alongside Bill McKibben — environmentalist and author notable for writing the first general audience book about global warming. The organization works on community-led renewable energy solutions, banning future fossil fuel efforts, and encouraging divestment and defunding of fossil fuel companies.

For donors who care about…

  • Climate change
  • Environmental protection
  • Carbon emissions
  • Community action

How to Support 350.org

8. Oceana

Donate now to Oceana

Oceana is a nonprofit “exclusively to protect and restore the oceans on a global scale.” The organization is “dedicated to achieving measurable change by conducting specific, science-based policy campaigns with fixed deadlines and articulated goals.” One of their campaigns, “Save the Oceans, Feed the World,” focuses on restoring biodiversity of fish to create a sustainable long-term source of protein, working in collaboration with countries that “control the world’s fish catch.” Oceana also works on preserving marine habitats, stopping overfishing, and ending plastic pollution of the ocean.

For donors who care about…

  • Fish and wildlife
  • Food security
  • Ending world hunger
  • Ocean protection
  • Sustainability 

How to Support Oceana

9. The Conservation Fund

Donate now to The Conservation Fund

The Conservation Fund was established in 1985 and is a leading environmental nonprofit that works in all 50 states. They’ve saved over 8.5 million acres of at-risk land and water, and their additional focus areas include wildlife, community development, food, finance, climate, cities, partnership, and restoration. As they note with respect to climate change, “smart land conservation can increase carbon sequestration, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, build resilience to changing environmental conditions, and help communities, landscapes, and wildlife adapt to an ever-changing climate.”

For donors who care about…

  • Wildlife preservation
  • Environmental protection
  • Water protection
  • Economic prosperity 
  • Reducing emissions

How to Support The Conservation Fund.

10. Earthjustice

Donate now to Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier environmental law nonprofit. The organization uses “the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change.” They fight to protect species and wildlands, limit emissions from major polluters, and more through the court system — with local and national goals.

For donors who care about…

  • Legal advocacy
  • Climate change
  • Wildlife protection 
  • Climate change
  • Emissions limits

How to Support Earthjustice

11. National Park Foundation

Donate now at National Park Foundation

The National Park Foundation is a nonprofit that “strives to ensure that all people are welcome and able to discover their own personal connections to parks.” Their work includes landscape and wildlife conservation, resilience and sustainability efforts “to make park infrastructure more environmentally friendly and sustainable, while enhancing environmental stewardship,” as well as the Every Kid Outdoors campaign to help grade school children connect with America’s public lands and waters. 

For donors who care about…

  • Environmental preservation
  • Protecting historical landmarks
  • Outdoor education 
  • Wildlife protection

How to Support National Park Foundation

12. Surfrider Foundation

Donate now to Surfrider Foundation

Surfrider Foundation is a nonprofit “dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches, for all people, through a powerful activist network.” Their efforts include reducing plastic pollution in marine environments, preserving the oceans and natural shorelines, protecting clean water, and ensuring fair access to beaches for all. 

For donors who care about…

  • Reducing pollution 
  • Environmental protection
  • Ocean protection
  • Clean water

How to Support Surfrider Foundation

13. Earth Day Network

Donate now to Earth Day Network

Earth Day Network is a nonprofit on a mission to “diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide.” Building on the efforts of the original Earth Day observance in 1970, the organization works with over 75,000 partners in 190+ countries on climate and environmental literacy, regenerative agriculture, conservation and restoration efforts, plastic and pollution reduction, and more. 

For donors who care about…

  • Environmental action
  • Global solidarity
  • Education
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Reducing pollution

How to Support Earth Day Network

How to Support Mother Earth

Participate in a clean-up day, install a bird feeder, plant a tree, or buy locally sourced foods.

You can also support an environmentally friendly company or nonprofit by putting your shopping power to good use, especially when shopping for the best Earth Day Sales.

All you have to do is share all or some of your cash back with your favorite environmental nonprofit when you shop cash back brands.

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Nonprofits who partner with Giving Assistant can more easily reach their fundraising goals by receiving these shopper donations.

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