|The Nature Conservancy
"The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive."
The Nature Conservancy has one of the best reputations for doing excellent work and using their donation dollars wisely and effectively despite their large size. They are on the American Institute of Philanthropy's Top 15 Environmental Charities list, and were awarded an A rating (the highest possible) by this group. The Nature Conservancy also received a 4-star rating (the highest possible) by the watchdog group Charity Navigator and made it to that organizations "10 of the Best Charities Everyone's Heard Of" list. It also meets all of the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance's Standards for Charity Accountability.
We like the Nature Conservancy because of its unique vision to purchase ecosystems in danger of being destroyed or developed when necessary. Its long list of accreditations made it an easy choice.
The Sierra Club Foundation
"The Mission of The Sierra Club Foundation is to advance the preservation and protection of the natural environment by empowering the citizenry, especially democratically-based grassroots organizations, with charitable resources to further the cause of environmental protection."
Like The Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club Foundation has received numerous accolades. It is also on the American Institute of Philanthropy's Top 15 Environmental Charities list, and has received an A rating. The Sierra Club Foundation has received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and meets all of the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance's Standards for Charity Accountability.
After years of participating in local Sierra Club hikes (which are always led by volunteers and free to all participants), they were a natural choice for our support. We appreciate the fact that the Sierra Club doesn't just work at the national and international levels, but can be found advocating parks and open spaces locally as well.
"Earthwatch Institute engages people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment."
After picking two large charities, we decided we also wanted to support a charity that was smaller and who engaged in different types of projects. Because it has a smaller budget and less visibility than many of the other environmental charities, Earthwatch has not been evaluated by any of the charity watchdog organizations listed above.
We picked Earthwatch because the organization works on many different aspects of sustainability including activities such as sponsoring archeological digs to understand the planets history; supporting cultural and biological diversity; understanding world health issues; and investigating global environmental changes; in addition to more traditional sustainability projects like conservation and endangered ecosystem research. We are particularly impressed that Earthwatch allows common citizens to get involved in scientific researching by taking part in volunteer vacations. (Adrienne participated in a mountain lion corridor research study in Idaho in 1998.)