Means&Matters
Stories of Money and sustainability

Earth Island Institute: A Gutsy Organization That Knows How to Get Things Done

Oct 1st 2021

A project that aspires to build 1,000 new drinking fountains in San Francisco to counter plastic pollution.

Sustainable farms created to feed homeless shelter residents and students at schools in underprivileged communities in Maryland, Michigan, and Washington, D.C.

Technology to stop fish bombing in coral reef areas around the world.

What do all these initiatives have in common? All are part of a network of more than 75 environmental projects supported by Earth Island Institute, a nonprofit hub for grassroots campaigns dedicated to conserving, preserving, and restoring the ecosystems of the world.

Founded in San Francisco in 1982 by renowned environmentalist and mountaineer David Brower, Earth Island supports a range of projects tackling everything from marine life protection and plastic pollution to wetlands restoration and getting kids outdoors. The nonprofit offers financial services as well as administrative, legal, and other support, allowing projects to focus on their planet-preserving missions.

“Earth Island Institute continues to be a gutsy, efficient, and effective organization that, in the spirit of our founder David Brower, knows how to get things done,” says Earth Island Institute Executive Director David Phillips.

In addition to its project support, Earth Island has a legal division called Earth Island Advocates and a youth leadership program known as New Leaders Initiative. Though there is a seemingly never-ending amount of work to be done, Earth Island has made significant accomplishments over the past nearly 40 years. These accomplishments include:

  • Sponsoring more than 200 environmental projects that have successfully advanced the protection and promotion of wilderness, wildlife, natural resources, and sustainable practices around the globe
  • Honoring, through its Brower Youth Awards, more than 135 youth environmental leaders who are making a positive difference
  • Scores of legal actions that have protected the environment, including: securing dolphin protections, reforming wildlife management practices, and addressing plastic pollution, among other successes

Earth Island became a Bank of the West customer in 2018, largely because the bank is aligned with the nonprofit’s commitment to sustainability and environmental protection. David Phillips says his organization is stronger because the bank is allied with its mission and values.

“Earth Island Institute sees Bank of the West’s effort to protect the environment as a bold step in the right direction that sets a better standard while making improvements for the planet and its people,” he says. “This effort aligns with Earth Island Institute’s guiding principles that put a special value on innovation, boldness, and compassion.”

Learn more about Bank of the West’s actions on sustainability here.

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