10 Best Charities That Advance Environmental Education (Complete 2024 List)

10 Best Charities That Advance Environmental Education (Complete 2024 List)

By
Eniola Adeeko

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Stay impactful,

The condition of the environment has a direct impact on human health and welfare. 24 percent of deaths worldwide are linked to the environment. As a result, environmental education initiatives have been established to raise public awareness of the ways we can protect the environment. So we had to ask: What are the best charities that advance environmental education?

The best charities that advance environmental education are the National Environmental Education Foundation and Neighborhood Forest. Charities like the African Wildlife Foundation and Earthwatch teach the public to be more environmentally conscious and preserve the environment.

Whether you want to increase public awareness of conservation, collaborate with educators to include environmental education in the curriculum, or help children learn how to keep their environment clean, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that advance environmental education are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Advance Environmental Education Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission and positive impact on advancing environmental learning and sustainability.

They have excellent financial and transparency ratings and are committed to helping people learn about and care for their environment.

Some of these charities focus on teaching people to conserve wildlife and forest resources. Others give young people an avenue for creating sustainable change.

Yet they all share the same goal of environmental education.

These Are the 10 Best Charities That Advance Environmental Education in 2024

Below are our favorite charities that advance environmental education (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article, we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

1

National Environmental Education Foundation: Cultivating an Environmentally Conscious and Responsible Public

Logo for National Environmental Education Foundation
EE & Deeper Connections to Nature

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Their transparency & ratings:

The National Environmental Education Foundation has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“We want to make the environment more accessible, relatable, relevant, and connected to the daily lives of all Americans.”

National Environmental Education Foundation

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What they do:

The National Environmental Education Foundation strives to create an environmentally conscious and responsible public. They do this through their Greening STEM initiative which provides learners with practical lessons focused on real challenges within the natural environment. They also support educators by helping them implement the Greening STEM approach into their curriculum. In addition, they run the Climate Superstars Challenge, an online environmental challenge designed to engage middle school classrooms in environmental education.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the National Environmental Education Foundation has raised public awareness of environmental issues and created innovative methods to protect the environment. For example, in 2021, they provided about $210,000 to support in-school and after-school environmental education initiatives in the US. They also registered 200 educators who incorporated the Greening STEM initiative into their curriculum.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the National Environmental Education Foundation through their website. You can also support the foundation by partnering with them to provide direct support or create engagement campaigns.

2

Neighborhood Forest: Giving the Gift of Trees to Children

Logo for Neighborhood Forest
Thank You Supporters!

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Their transparency & ratings:

Neighborhood Forest hold a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. And, based on their financial reports, 87% of funds donated go directly toward their program, with with remaining 13% for operational purposes.

Dedicated to giving children their very own tree to plant – for free – every Earth Day.”

Neighborhood Forest

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What they do:

Neighborhood Forest offers free trees to children, youths, and families across America during Earth Week, so they can watch them grow over their lifespans and learn to love nature. Since these trees are planted by kids and their families on their own property, including full planting instructions, they are more likely to endure, thrive, and receive a lot of love and care. Establishments sign up to enroll in their program and the trees are distributed during Earth Week every year.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Neighborhood Forest has reached over 500,000 families and given over 130,000 children the opportunity to plant their own trees. Their programs have now been implemented in over 1,500 schools, youth groups, and libraries across North America. For example, in 2023 the charity gave over 42,000 children their own trees to plant across 40 states and 5 provinces across North America.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly through the Neighborhood Forest website. You can also contribute by becoming a sponsor. Alternatively, you can keep up to date with the work of the charity by following their Facebook page.

3

African Wildlife Foundation: Africa’s Voice for Wildlife

Logo for African Wildlife Foundation
60 Years of Visionary Conservation Leadership

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Their transparency & ratings:

The African Wildlife Foundation has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“We ensure wildlife and wild lands thrive in modern Africa.”

African Wildlife Foundation

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What they do:

The African Wildlife Foundation is dedicated to building a sustainable future for Africa’s wildlife. They do this by building primary schools in rural, wildlife-rich areas to educate African children, teach them about conservation, and equip them with skills for a brighter future through their Classroom Africa initiative. They also train small communities to adopt sustainable practices to restore wildlife habitat and secure wild lands across Africa. In addition, they train community wildlife scouts to leverage local knowledge to protect their wildlife resources.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the African Wildlife Foundation has promoted the well-being of people and wildlife in Africa. By partnering with indigenous communities, they have preserved more than 223,000 acres of forest and other wild lands. For example, in 2021, they empowered 9 indigenous communities by providing conservation education and alternative livelihood training. In addition, their Classroom Africa schools improve the lives of over 2,000 African students annually.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the African Wildlife Foundation through their website. You can also assist the foundation by starting a fundraiser for African wildlife.

4

Earthwatch: Empowering People to Save the Natural World

Logo for Earthwatch
Wildlife is Under Threat

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Their transparency & ratings:

Earthwatch has a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Gold Seal of Transparency from Guidestar.

“We connect people with scientists worldwide to conduct environmental research and empower them with the knowledge they need to conserve the planet.”

Earthwatch

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What they do:

Earthwatch links people with scientists to conduct fundamental environmental research and promote environmental education. They do this by offering educational travel opportunities and out-of-the-classroom educational fellowships to teach students and educators to use science and research to impact the environment positively. In addition, their Student Group Exhibitions inspire high school students interested in the environment to pursue a career in conservation. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, Earthwatch has helped participants to contribute nearly 100,000 hours of research, resulting in several peer-reviewed publications and the development of key environmental policies. In addition, they have awarded fellowships to about 2,000 high school students through their educational programs and nearly 6,000 educators from all grades and disciplines.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Earthwatch through their website. You can also contribute to this nonprofit organization by becoming a member or supporting their scientific research.

5

Living Lands and Waters: Aiding the Protection, Preservation, and Restoration of the Natural Environment

Logo for Living Lands and Waters
The Cleanup Heard 'Round the Country!

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Their transparency & ratings:

Living Lands and Waters has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“We want to aid the protection, preservation, and restoration of the natural environment of our nation’s major rivers and their watersheds.”

Living Lands and Waters

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What they do:

Living Lands and Waters is dedicated to preserving the environment through conservation and education programs. They do this by hosting free one-day student workshops to teach people the best ways to keep rivers clean. They also conduct workshops for educators to help them incorporate environmental education into their curriculum. In addition, they run summer camps that provide fun activities to help children learn how to keep the rivers clean.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Living Lands and Waters have hosted 429 educational events with over 12,500 educators and students in attendance to promote environmental education. They have also worked with over 2,300 college students to remove over 1.5 million pounds of trash from local rivers. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Living Lands and Waters through their website. You can also support them by volunteering.

6

Jane Goodall Institute: Inspiring Hope Through Action

Logo for Jane Goodall Institute
Make a Difference with the Jane Goodall Institute

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Jane Goodall Institute has a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“If each of us does our part, all the pieces of the puzzle come together, and the world is a better place because of you.”

Jane Goodall Institute

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What they do:

The Jane Goodall Institute helps local communities understand and adhere to the laws that protect threatened species, particularly chimpanzees. They do this through public awareness billboard campaigns, television programs, and community outreach. They also build schools to teach children about using sustainable practices for conservation. In addition, they partner with schools, educators, and youth organizations to equip young people worldwide to care for their environment through their Roots & Shoots program.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Jane Goodall Institute has completed over 5800 conservation projects through their Roots & Shoots program. They have also provided 309 scholarships to give young girls access to quality education and environmental learning. In addition, they have trained 179 people to use forest monitoring technology to help them better care for their environment. Furthermore, they have supported over 130 indigenous communities through their programs to teach them the importance and best practices of conservation. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Jane Goodall Institute through their website. You can also support them by purchasing from their online store.

7

Foundation for Environmental Education: Together We Can Change the World

Logo for Foundation for Environmental Education
FEE 40th Anniversary

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Their transparency & ratings:

According to their financial report, the Foundation for Environmental Education spent 99% of their income on charitable activities.

“To engage and empower people through education in collaboration with our members and partners worldwide.”

Foundation for Environmental Education

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What they do:

The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) promotes education for sustainable development through a free online learning platform, FEE Academy. For example, their Eco-Schools program helps students acquire education about protecting the environment. Also, their Young Reporters for the Environment program gives young people a platform to research environmental issues and promote solutions through investigative reporting, photography, and video journalism. In addition, their LEAF initiative helps children learn about their environment by exposing them to diverse outdoor experiences.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, the Foundation for Environmental Education has become a global network comprising over 100 members in 81 countries running 5 programs to promote education for sustainable development. For example, in 2021, over 20 million students and 1.4 million teachers participated in their Eco-Schools program. In addition, 965,000 students and 43,200 teachers participated in their LEAF program in over 10,000 schools across 26 countries. Also, 1,000 people worldwide enrolled in the FEE Academy to learn more about preserving the environment.

Ways to contribute:

You can support the Foundation for Environmental Education by becoming a member. You can also assist them by completing an internship.

8

Young People’s Trust for the Environment: Environmental Involvement for Young People

Logo for Young People’s Trust for the Environment
Why be a Young Trustee of YPTE?

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Their transparency & ratings:

According to their financial report, Young People’s Trust for the Environment spent 100% of their income on charitable activities.

“Creating a better future by inspiring young people to look after our world.”

Young People’s Trust for the Environment

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What they do:

Young People’s Trust for the Environment encourages young people’s understanding of the environment and the need for sustainability. They do this through Better Planet Schools, an online environmental education program, to help children and teachers in the UK to learn about key environmental issues and reduce their environmental impact. In addition, they encourage environmental education for young people aged 5-11 through their awards scheme, Primary Awards for Green Education in Schools (PAGES)

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Young People’s Trust for the Environment has worked with schools and teachers in the UK to distribute resources to empower young people to improve their environment. For example, their Primary Awards for Green Education in Schools has received several environmental projects from over 400,000 young people across the UK. In addition, they have helped 20 schools to save 14% of their energy use by implementing their Better Planet Schools curriculum.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Young People’s Trust for the Environment through their website. You can also assist them by becoming a corporate sponsor to enable more young people to learn about the environment.

9

EcoACTIVE: Educating and Inspiring Young People to Create a Better Planet

Green Influencers - short version

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Their transparency & ratings:

According to their financial report, EcoACTIVE spent 88% of their income on charitable activities.

“Our mission is to create a world where young people and communities are agents of change to create a better planet.”

EcoACTIVE

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What they do:

EcoACTIVE is dedicated to helping people understand and proffer solutions to key sustainability issues. They do this by organizing primary school and secondary workshops, as well as their Forest School initiative to empower students to take meaningful action on sustainability. Moreover, through their Green Influencers initiative, they also help young people build the skills they need to contribute to their local communities through environmental action. In addition, their Community Garden Project allows residents of small communities in the UK to make friends and learn about their environment.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, EcoACTIVE has engaged over 3,767 pupils across 14 schools and 560 employees in waste reduction education campaigns in the UK. In addition, 140 children have taken part in their Forest School sessions to learn about their environment. Through their community project, residents of small communities transformed an abandoned car park and gray spaces into a beautiful garden.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to EcoACTIVE through their website. You can also support the charity by volunteering or partnering with them. 

10

Sustainability and Environmental Education: Education for Sustainable Development

Logo for Sustainability and Environmental Education
What Young People Want

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Their transparency & ratings:

According to their financial report, Sustainability and Environmental Education (SEED) spent 55% of their income on charitable activities.

“We work to place sustainability and the environment at the heart of all learning, and learning at the heart of sustainability.”

Sustainability and Environmental Education

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What they do:

Sustainability and Environmental Education (SEED) promotes sustainability and learning to create a better world. They do this through their Changemakers program, a training course to empower those who want to learn to design and facilitate creative events and workshops for sustainable change. In addition, their Young Changemakers initiative provides a platform, resources, and encouragement for young people to contribute towards achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs).

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, Sustainability and Environmental Education has trained over 117 people across Europe in their Changemakers program to help them lead others toward a sustainable future. They have also helped several institutions achieve a holistic cultural change towards sustainability in over 9 countries including the UK, Canada, Greece, Brazil, and Japan.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Sustainability and Environmental Education through their website. You can also support them by joining their team to create sustainable change around you.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that advance environmental education. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures.
  • Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. Charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to advancing environmental education – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Eniola

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

The way we think about charity is dead wrong | Dan Pallotta

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