December 2012

Dear Friend of Earth Island Institute,

Contribute Today As we look back on Earth Island Institutes’ first 30 years – and also reflect on the enduring influence of our inspiring founder David Brower, who would have been 100 this year – we are grateful to see how much we’ve achieved and how we have been able to shape our organizational tools to empower bold leaders.

At 30, with special thanks to our members who have always enabled our risk-taking, Earth Island
Institute has established a successful and powerful role in the wider world of environmental advocacy – distinct from, but complementing, the good work of other groups.

We can tell that we’re succeeding by the constant flood of applicants who want to join our network of fiscally sponsored projects. Each season we hear from dozens of smart, passionate, creative people who want to bring their idea under our sponsorship. Unfortunately, we can’t possibly accommodate all of them. The fact that demand for our help exceeds the supply suggests how effective our unique model of grassroots support is, and it offers us hope for the creative solutions rising from the environmental movement.

Looking to the Future.

Our team has committed to use the coming year to plan for how we can keep serving leaders for the next 30 years. Times change, and Earth Island’s job is to evolve in serving leaders for a sustainable world.

As we look ahead, we’re asking that you make a year-end gift so that we can continue growing and, through that growth, support more creative and energetic individuals than ever before.  

Our Earth Island community has many faces, and every week we hear from someone who is excited to have “discovered Earth Island” in one facet or another. We like to say that Earth Island Institute “grows environmental leadership.” But more than that, we are growing a community of people who share ideals for a sustainable world that fosters wild places, healthy ecosystems, and environmental justice.

From the project director scoring a breakthrough in her latest campaign, to the Brower Youth Award winner shaping his next initiative on his campus, to the Earth Island member finding in valuable news in the latest issue of Earth Island Journal, to the guest inspired at a David Brower Center “Earth Island Presents” event – all of these community members benefit from our support system while also contributing to its strength.

Projects in Community.

Earth Island supports the work of a community of 65 affiliated projects that are addressing a wide-range of
today’s most pressing environmental issues. We can’t list them all here, but you can check them out at our website: We’ve launched more than 130 projects in our history, and we’re proud to point to projects that have spun off to become separate nonprofits as well as to others who have stayed under our sponsorship for more than 25 years.

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We are a founding member of the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors, which works to shape this practice for nonprofits to share resources. Members of our project community find both practical help using our shared resources in nonprofit management and mutual support in community collaboration. Together, they find greater success than they would working alone.

Project support has always been at the heart of our work. We hope that you have seen some of our outstanding project accomplishments this year:

And we continue to grow! In 2012 we welcomed:

In 2013, our Project Support team, led by Susan Kamprath, plans a Project Director Summit. These periodic gatherings always receive rave reviews for the opportunity they provide for project directors to learn from each other and explore collaborations.

Emerging Leaders in Community.

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We sow the seeds of Earth Island’s future through our New Leaders Initiative, led by Anisha Desai. This year the 13th Annual Brower Youth Awards honored Asa Needle, Brittany Stallworth, Jacob Glass, Martin Figueroa, Maya Salsedo, and Ryland King, selected from a highly competitive pool of more than 200 applicants (our most ever). They were selected by an all-star panel of judges including Adam Werbach, Billy Parish, Frances Moore Lappé, Riki Ott, Robin Chase, Shelton Johnson, and Simran Sethi.

Check out their stories and those of previous year’s winners at

Mentorship of BYA winners and applicants continues year-round via “Movement in Green,” which provides technical support, networking opportunities, and micro-grants to foster greater environmental leadership among youth from underserved regions of the country and youth of color.

Restoration Innovators in Community.

Our Restoration Initiatives program, led by Ariana Katovich, funds dynamic community-based restoration projects focused on protecting and enhancing wetlands and watersheds in Southern California. Meanwhile, Earth Island’s Streets Alive Program, born out of our move to the David Brower Center, brings imaginative environmental art to the streetscapes of downtown Berkeley.

Citizen Leaders in Community.

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Our award-winning quarterly magazine, Earth Island Journal, is building a community of critical thinkers who are equipping themselves with the information they need to become effective change agents in their communities. Editors Jason Mark and Maureen Nandini Mitra, along with an impressive group of freelance journalists, do this through our print publication as well as our dynamic online edition at

By covering the full range of environmental topics – public health, climate change and energy, animal rights, wildlife conservation, ecological restoration, environmental injustice, wilderness preservation – we are contributing to a stronger and more self-aware environmental movement. One of the best ways to stay in touch with Earth Island Journal’s latest news is to sign up for our bi-monthly e-mail newsletter, “IslandWire.” You can sign up in the eUpdate box on the upper right hand corner of our website,

During the past three years, we have sponsored a series of provocative public events at the Brower Center called “Earth Island Presents.” On November 15th we brought together experienced environmental advocates and politicians for “What Now?” – a post-election panel on politics and the environment. It was a fascinating evening, and we want to keep these programs coming in 2013. Stay tuned for future events.

As a Member of Our Community, We Invite You to Donate Today.

Our model for effective activism through shared organizational resources has never been more relevant and more crucial. We incubate and nurture the most promising emerging leaders of our time, shepherding resources conservatively and efficiently to help our leaders succeed.

We give you ample social returns on your investment toward a thriving planet. And here’s what the good people at Charity Navigator have to say about our work:

charity navigator logo“Only 4% of the charities we rate have received at least 5 consecutive 4-star evaluations, indicating that Earth Island Institute outperforms most other charities in America. This “exceptional” designation from Charity Navigator differentiates Earth Island Institute from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust.”

—Ken Berger, President and CEO, Charity Navigator

On behalf of all of us at Earth Island, I send you our best wishes during this holiday season of gratitude, reflection, and renewal,

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John A. Knox
Executive Director

PS: For your donation to Earth Island Institute of $40 or more, we’ll send you a choice of our special “limited-edition” 30th Anniversary cap or Ken Brower’s wonderful new book, The Wildness Within: Remembering David Brower.

PPS: During this season of sharing, please give an Earth Island gift membership or Earth Island Journal gift subscription to family members, students, or colleagues at work.