Spring 2014

Dear Friend of Earth Island Institute,

Contribute TodayWhen I walked into the Earth Island Institute offices a decade ago, I couldn’t imagine that I would be writing to you today as the president of the organization’s board of directors. Our co-executive director, John Knox, asked me to share my story of involvement, and it’s a real honor to do so.

I want to thank you for your support, update you on our recent efforts, and ask you to make a donation today in support of Earth Island Institute – a truly special environmental organization.

Like you, I’ve been concerned about environmental issues for decades. Although I was busy with my career and focused on my family, I knew that I needed to make a difference, find solutions, and work with others committed to a healthy environment and a sustainable and thriving future. I began to look for an organization where I could commit my philanthropic interests so they would have the greatest impact.

When I learned about Earth Island, I realized that by writing one check to the Institute, I could multiply the effect of my contributions and provide vital support to an entire global network of committed individuals and their solutions-focused projects. I was hooked! Soon I began telling everyone I knew about this amazingly effective group that is the organizational home for a wide range of projects working on a variety of environmental issues.

collage of project logos

I initially joined Earth Island as a member, then became a monthly donor, served as a staffer for one of our projects, joined as a Host Committee member for our Brower Youth Awards, and finally became a member of the board of directors. My most cherished role has always been as an outspoken goodwill ambassador. As a longtime volunteer, I’ve learned what makes Earth Island so special in the larger environmental movement.

I am particularly impressed with the efficiency of Earth Island’s fiscal sponsorship model. We provide centralized administrative support services, non-profit organizational management, and strategic advice based on years of experience to start-up social entrepreneurs and accomplished organizations alike. We take care of the behind the scenes, nuts-and-bolts work to empower creative change-makers to go out and spark action for environmental sustainability.

I was always moved by the firebrand talks and books of Earth Island’s legendary founder, the activist pioneer David Brower, who motivated so many people to action. Each quarter I look forward to receiving our award winning Earth Island Journal, which enforces a deeper awareness of the environmental challenges around the world. More recently, I enjoy reading the daily Earth Island Journal articles online at www.earthislandjournal.org. ¬†

The more involved I have become with Earth Island, the more impressed I am. What I have come to appreciate most are the people. We owe our success to our dedicated staff, the guidance of our board, our innovative project directors, the inspiration of our Brower Youth Award winners, and the work of our amazing volunteers. But what makes the biggest difference in fulfilling our mission, is you, me, and all of our members and donors who contribute to and invest in our work.

Earth Island relies on many small individual gifts – and a few big ones – to provide the financial resources to grow environmental leadership through our Project Support team and to support our New Leaders Initiative / Brower Youth Awards, Earth Island Journal, and our Restoration Initiatives.

Sure we receive some foundation grant funding. But the majority of our financial support comes from individuals like you. A favorite quote of mine, and a touchstone of Earth Island’s organizing principle, is the quote by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Please make as generous gift as you can today, and consider becoming a monthly donor, so that together as committed citizens, we can continue to change the world.

At our most recent board meeting, we received a report from our Project Support staff about the great work of the organizations under our fiscal sponsorship and their plans for the coming year and beyond. I want share that news with you now, as a sort of a ‘state of the union’ of Earth Island Institute.

Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom

Earth Island-sponsored projects focus on a huge range of pressing environmental and social justice issues. Our projects are tackling challenges such as: global climate change … protecting water quality … boosting food security … conserving, preserving, and restoring the biodiversity of our lands and oceans … fighting plastics pollution … getting young people outdoors … protecting wildlife¬† … empowering women … celebrating Indigenous wisdom … and engaging young people in the environmental movement.

bar graph showing areas of project focus

And we’re nearly everywhere. The organizations that call Earth Island home are advocating for change at the personal, local, state, national, and international levels. Our projects work in the community, across our nation, and around the world.

Covering 6 continents and the world’s oceans.
map of the world showing projects by region

Africa – including: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Asia – including: Armenia, Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, China, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tibet, Turkey, Vietnam

Central America & The Caribbean – including: Cuba

Europe – including: Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Ukraine

North America – including: Canada, Mexico, United States

Oceania/Australia – including: Australia, French Polynesia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands

South America – including: Chile, Ecuador, Peru

Whatever Works

While working on myriad issues, our projects are also employing a variety of strategies and tactics. They publish, present, train, educate, organize, agitate, advocate, and inspire action all over the world. Some are focused on changing the narrow conversation of our political system. Others are working on the ground as they engage in critical habitat preservation and restoration. Still others are working to hold elected officials and giant corporations accountable for their actions.

bar chart showing projects by strategy

New Arrivals

We added seven new projects in 2013: Raptors Are The Solution, Friends of Mounde, Oakland Food Policy Council, Shark Stewards, The Green Life, Global Trails Alliance, and Alliance Against Greenwash. So far in 2014, we’ve welcomed Generation Waking Up. And we’re receiving more project applications all the time.

We now have 65 projects in our network. During the last 32 years we’ve been the organizational home to more than 150 grassroots efforts.

Confronting the most challenging threats to the natural world and our communities is not easy work. But the good news is that Earth Island is ready to help the visionary grassroots leaders who are turning to us in record numbers seeking fiscal sponsorship as the environmental crises become more urgent. Your generosity will help us provide these leaders with the tools they need. With your tax-deductible donation to Earth Island Institute, you will help our network of global projects continue to be effective at their work.

In doing this work for over 30 years, we at Earth Island are acutely aware that nonprofit organizations are striving to accomplish more and more, with fewer and fewer resources. I’m sure that you, like me, support many such worthwhile groups. I hope that you will see, as I did, that Earth Island’s approach is an effective model for empowering individuals to follow their passion, and bring their expertise and motivation in service to our environment and fellow citizens.

That is why I am asking you to join me in making a donation to Earth Island Institute. Together, we can make it possible for emerging and experienced environmental leaders to shape their dreams into successful strategies for a sustainable future. Your generosity will help us to continue providing grassroots environmental leaders with the tools they need to protect our shared planet.

It’s the actions of individuals that make Earth Island what it is – the bold project director with a visionary idea coming together with the bold donor really wanting to make a difference. Please feel free to contact me to discuss Earth Island Institute, our goals and our strategies, and how you’d like to support our work, at michael@earthisland.org.

I look forward to my term serving as Earth Island board president and appreciate your partnership as we move ahead in growing environmental leadership!


signature graphic

Michael Mitrani
President, Earth Island Institute Board of Directors

PS: A great way to enhance your contribution is to check with your employer to see if they have a Matching Gift program. Many companies will match their employees’ charitable gifts; some will even double or triple them!