The GuideStar Blog retired September 9, 2019. We invite you to visit its replacement, the Candid Blog. You’re also welcome to browse or search the GuideStar Blog archives. Onward!

GuideStar Blog

Philanthropedia Research Results: 18 Top Bay Area Nonprofits Working in Climate Change

 Climate change is a terrible problem, and it absolutely needs to be solved. It deserves to be a huge priority. -- Bill Gates

Climate change is a terrible problem, and it absolutely needs to be solved. It deserves to be a huge priority. --Bill Gates

In many ways, the San Francisco Bay Area is a model for local and national climate change work throughout the country. The Bay Area has a long history of involvement in the environment, especially around topics such as land conservation and open-space protection. Silicon Valley specifically, home to many tech start-ups, has a history of innovation around green tech, renewable energy, and sustainability. At the state level, California’s 2006 legislation AB32–the Global Warming Solutions Act–mandates that by 2020 California reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels. Many of the major initiatives for reducing climate change or greenhouse gas emissions are implemented at the local level. The Bay Area is uniquely situated to showcase many climate change interventions that range from individual action to business practices to government intervention.

Recently, Philanthropedia surveyed 88 experts working in the field of climate change in the San Francisco Bay Area (with an average of 10 years of work experience in the field) to identify those organizations that were making the biggest positive impact in the field.

Philanthropedia’s experts (funders, researchers, nonprofit senior staff, consultants, etc.) identified 18 top nonprofits (out of 120 total reviewed nonprofits) making an impact at the local level. Below is a graphical representation of who participated in our research. You can also see who our experts were by clicking here:Top Climate Change Nonprofits

Which nonprofits were among the top?

Experts were asked to recommend up to four high-impact nonprofits and up to two promising start-ups working in the field of climate change in the San Francisco Bay Area. These organizations include associations, advocacy groups focused on transportation, research organizations, grassroots organizers, policy focused organizations, open space advocates, organizations promoting clean energy solutions and sustainability, environmental health justice organizations, and more.

The following is the list of the expert-identified nonprofits best achieving their mission in the sector. Click the link to visit each organizations profile and read expert reviews. Experts have commented on each nonprofit’s impact, other organizational strengths, and how each organization could further improve.We invite you to visit the profiles of each of these top organizations on our website to read the expert reviews here. Experts commented on the impact each nonprofit has had, what the nonprofit’s other organizational strengths are, and how each organization could further improve.

  1. Sierra Club
  3. Union of Concerned Scientists
  4. Philanthropedia_TopNonprofit_2013_hi_resEarthjustice
  5. Pacific Institute
  6. Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC)
  7. Rainforest Action Network
  8. (Tied) Communities for a Better Environment and
    San Francisco Planning & Urban Research Association (SPUR)
  9. Transform
  10. Center for Biological Diversity
  11. The Vote Solar Initiative
  12. Greenbelt Alliance
  13. Telos Project
  14. Environmental Defense Fund
  15. Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
  16. Movement Generation Justice and Ecology Project
  17. Solar Action Alliance

We invite your feedback. Please tell us what you think and what experiences you’ve had with these great organizations! You can reach me (Jasmine Marrow), manager of Philanthropedia research at

Topics: Impact Environmental Charities