Who We Are

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.

Earth Island is the place to go if you have a great idea to protect the Earth and need a place to make it happen. We provide comprehensive fiscal sponsorship and project support to a vibrant network of activists and social entrepreneurs. In the tradition of our founder David Brower, we recognize and support the next generation of young leaders, and inspire people to get involved and take action.

Our project support program acts as an incubator for starting new programs and providing long-term support for established environmental projects. We provide crucial assistance to groups and individuals with new ideas for promoting ecological sustainability and environmental justice. Since our founding, we have sponsored more than 200 projects around the globe.

In addition to our project support work, we also inform and inspire people to take action through our award-winning magazine, Earth Island Journal. The journal balances investigative exposés with inspiring stories of change, giving people the information they need to 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.

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 75 projects, including the International Marine Mammal Project, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Sacred Land Film Project, Women’s Earth Alliance, Bay Area Wilderness Training, and Project Coyote. It has become a powerful network. Other successful Earth Island alumni projects include International Rivers Network, Rainforest Action Network, and Red Panda Network.

photo of young people outdoors

Our model for assisting campaigns addresses a number of the environmental movement’s historic barriers to success. Large nonprofit organizations typically set their agendas far in advance, making it difficult to respond quickly to urgent, emerging issues. Further, creating new charitable organizations for each campaign is impractical because the time and effort detracts from achieving immediate goals. Finally, a proliferation of small groups working in isolation is overly expensive and loses the advantages of shared costs and projects learning from each other.

Earth Island Institute was founded in 1982 by legendary environmentalist David Brower as an innovative solution to this dilemma. Rather than create dozens of separate nonprofit 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, as well as providing a stable, efficient model for projects of all sizes, Earth Island plays a crucial role in the citizen movement for a sustainable future.