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Giving: The Environment

December 16, 2013

Protecting and sustaining our environment is a popular cause during the holiday season, and hundreds of nonprofit organizations around the world are engaged in myriad activities designed to protect all aspects of the natural environment – including air, land, water and wildlife.

EarthShare One of the ways of giving smartly is through EarthShare, a U.S.-based national federation with 25 years of experience in connecting people and workplaces with effective ways of supporting critical environmental causes. Together, EarthShare and its more than 40 member organizations have raised more than $300 million for programs that protect the environment and the public health in communities around the world.

Member organizations include American Forests, Clean Water Fund, Environmental Defense Fund, Friends of the Earth, Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife, Land Trust Alliance, National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, Oceana, Rainforest Alliance, Sierra Club, Trust for Public Land and the World Wildlife Fund – just to name a few.

Here are some of the accomplishments of these organizations during the past two years:

  • Established projects to plant 1.8 million trees across the U.S. and around the world (American Forests)
  • Protected five million acres of agricultural land (American Farmland Trust)
  • Hosted more than 160,000 participants in 5,500 buildings in 3,200 communities to learn about renewable energy installations in their regions (American Solar Energy Society)
  • Conveyed the final piece of Rocky Fork, the largest tract of unprotected land in the southern Appalachian Mountains, to the Forest Service (The Conservation Fund)
  • Restored 60 bison to their historic home on the Great Plains (Defenders of Wildlife)
  • Helped a chain restaurant transition away from polystyrene foam cups to more sustainable fiber-based paper cups at its 14,000 U.S. locations (Environmental Defense Fund)
  • Launched a crowd-funding campaign to help schools around the U.S. go solar (Natural Resources Defense Council)
  • Joined with the Palau International Coral Reef Center in monitoring Palau's reefs in order to make coral reef conservation efforts more effective (The Nature Conservancy)
  • Added five miles to the western end of the Shooting Star State Trail in southern Minnesota (Rails-to-Trails Conservancy)
  • Sent over 600 volunteers to the Atlantic Coast to lead Hurricane Sandy relief efforts including removing debris, repairing storm damage and planting trees (Student Conservation Association)
  • Hatched five Chinese yellow-headed box turtles, one of the most critically endangered turtle species, at the Bronx Zoo (Wildlife Conservation Society)
  • Provided sanctuary for critically endangered Amur leopards in the Land of the Leopard National Park in Russia (World Wildlife Fund)

EarthShare's members receive 100% of all contributions designated to them by donors. Alternatively, individuals and corporations can give to EarthShare, which will distribute funds to all of its member organizations. EarthShare uses 17 different criteria when determining whether to admit an organization to its membership so that its donors can be sure that EarthShare represents outstanding charities that operate with the highest possible ethical and professional standards, and all members undergo an annual review.

EarthShare also offers a multitude of tips for how one can be more environmentally friendly, including these tips for the holidays:

  • Recycle used ribbons, bows and decorative wrappings
  • Try alternatives to store-bought wrapping
  • Buy a live holiday tree
  • Decorate with garlands and wreaths from leftover construction paper, wild berries, fruits and nuts
  • Purchase greetings cards from nonprofit organizations
  • Entertain with durable goods rather than throwaway plates, cups, silverware and napkins
  • Reuse cookie tins, baskets and festive food containers
  • Try catalogue shopping rather than driving back and forth to shopping malls.

American Express and its employees are long-time supporters of EarthShare, and it is one of the federations that participate in our annual employee giving campaign. Last year, American Express employees pledged more than $150,000 to EarthShare and other environmental groups, which was matched by the company.

So, this holiday season, remember to support your local or national environmental organization or make a contribution to EarthShare as a federation of organizations. You'll be doing something good to save the planet for future generations.

What do you think about supporting federations of organizations rather than making contributions directly to charities? What are the pros and cons of each approach? Please send us your comments by clicking here. Alternatively, you can follow me on Twitter at @timmcclimon and comment there. Thanks for reading and sharing this blog with friends and colleagues.

P.S. CSR Now! will be on holiday hiatus until Monday, January 6 when I'll post some thoughts about CSR Trends in 2014. Have a safe and restful holiday season and Happy New Year!


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