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Earth Island Institute is a non-profit, public interest, membership organization that supports people who are creating solutions to protect our shared planet.
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Since 1982, Earth Island Institute has been a hub for grassroots campaigns dedicated to conserving, preserving, and restoring the ecosystems on which our civilization depends.
Our Project Support program acts as an incubator for start-up environmental projects, giving crucial assistance to groups and individuals with new ideas for promoting ecological sustainability. Since our founding, we have provided fiscal sponsorship to more than 100 projects around the globe.
In addition to our project support work, we also inform and inspire people to take action through our award-winning quarterly magazine, Earth Island Journal, our New Leaders Initiative, and our Restoration Initiative. The Journal balances investigative exposés with inspiring stories of change, giving people the information they need be effective environmental activists. Our New Leaders Initiative hosts the annual Brower Youth Awards, which highlights the amazing accomplishments of young people working for sustainability and provides emerging leaders with mentoring resources. Our Restoration Initiatives funds community-based coastal protection and wetland restoration efforts in Southern California.
By sharing resources, Earth Island’s network of grassroots leaders benefit from the synergistic exchange of experience and ideas, making its members more effective together than they could ever be apart. We currently serve as the fiscal sponsor for more than 40 groups, including Baikal Watch, Energy Action, Ethical Traveler, Fiji Organic Project, International Marine Mammal Project, Reef Protection International, Sacred Land Film Project, and Women’s Earth Alliance, among others. Successful Earth Island Institute alumni projects include International Rivers, Rainforest Action Network, and Bluewater Network.
Our model for assisting campaigns addresses one of the environmental movement’s historical barriers to success — that large non-profit organizations typically set their agendas far in advance, and thus are slow to respond to urgent, emerging issues. Creating new organizations for each campaign is impractical, because the time and effort detracts from achieving immediate goals.
Earth Island Institute was founded in 1982 by legendary environmentalist David R. Brower as an innovative solution to this dilemma. Rather than create dozens of separate non-profit groups with the same basic administrative needs, Earth Island acts as an umbrella organization, providing individual projects with the freedom to develop new initiatives by offering a wide range of professional services, from fiscal administration and program management to office space and equipment.
By serving as a support system for creative individuals, we are helping to grow environmental success. Our sponsored projects address many of the world’s most pressing environmental and social issues and work toward a sustainable future through a combination of education and activism — informing decision-makers, the media, and the general public about global threats and opportunities; developing constituencies to respond to them; and providing ordinary citizens with opportunities to get involved, take action, and make a difference.
Through assisting “early stage” leaders — from moms seeking a healthy future for their children to community activists figuring out how to restore their local wetlands — we fill a crucial role in the citizen movement for a sustainable future.