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Start a Project

“We recently attracted the notice of a large foundation; they would never have looked at a group our size if we were not part of EII. It provides name recognition and credibility with donors and other supporters.”
–Alyson Ewald, The Altai Project

Project Support

Video by Jim Garcia Media

Earth Island Sponsorship includes:

  • 501(c)(3) Status: Allows the project to receive tax-exempt donations from individuals and foundations.
  • Community: Opportunities to interact with and learn from peers.
  • Recognition: Gain public notice by joining a highly regarded organization with 30 years of experience.
  • Stability: Gain institutional strength by becoming part of a $15 million organization.
  • Earth Island Journal: Earth Island’s award-winning magazine provides an excellent project outreach and donor development tool.
  • Web site: Build an internet presence within Earth Island’s popular Web site.
  • Finance: Earth Island provides central accounting services, including monthly financial statements and custom reporting.
  • Employee Services: Payroll processing and benefit management.
  • Fundraising Support: Access resources and receive guidance on fundraising efforts.
  • Skills Training: Participate in periodic training sessions focused on building capacity of the project.

Earth Island Institute’s Project Support Program provides an opportunity for committed individuals and groups with a good idea to launch a project with us, or to gain sponsorship for an existing project. This model is an efficient alternative to having dozens of separate nonprofits working in isolation and spending precious resources duplicating basic administrative functions.

Starting and running a non-profit organization requires a great deal of administrative and logistical effort. This effort limits the time and energy that can be applied toward actually carrying out program objectives. Our Project Support Program eliminates this obstacle by providing projects with non-profit status, administrative services, training, technical assistance, and a peer community. In addition, we provide our projects with assistance in planning, public outreach, fundraising, and other resources and services that maximize the effectiveness and quality of our collective efforts.

For more information, visit About Project Support.

Sponsorship Eligibility & Selection Criteria

The following conditions must be met in order to be considered for project sponsorship:

  • Earth Island Institute provides sponsorship to projects that support our environmental mission and are consistent with our 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.
  • New projects should plan to stay at Earth Island for at least one year.
  • Project Directors must have regular access to phone and email in order to maintain communication with Network Services staff.
  • In general, projects must have a US-based representative and / or base of operations (see ‘Note Regarding International Projects” below).
  • Projects must agree to conduct all business through Earth Island Institute and relinquish any pre-existing 501(c)(3) status.

In reviewing project applications, we consider the necessity of the project within the broader environmental movement, the capacity of the project’s leadership, and whether it’s a good fit with our existing projects. The following questions are illustrative of the kind of things we look at in each of the categories.

  • Is there a need for this project? Is this need clearly stated? Is the approach innovative?
  • Does the project have the capacity to successfully implement this project? Is there access to resources (money, time, expertise)? Have the project directors illustrated an appropriate knowledge of the field?
  • Is the project a good fit for Earth Island Institute? Does the project support our organizational mission? Will it fit within the organizational culture? Are there opportunities for collaboration or for conflict with existing projects?

Note Regarding International Projects

Because effective two-way communication and an ability to attend periodic Earth Island events are critical to successful delivery of the services that Earth Island Institute provides to its projects, we generally will not consider projects without a US base of operations.

That said, many of our projects are working on international environmental issues together with groups based outside the United States. Organizations located outside the US are encouraged to contact existing EII projects directly regarding collaborative opportunities.

The Project Application Process

To launch an Earth Island project you must apply through our Program Committee. The process works as follows:

  • Project applicants should review the Earth Island Web site, familiarizing themselves with what existing EII projects are working on and with EII’s project support program — including a review of the Benefits and Responsibilities of Sponsorship and the Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Project applicants should then contact EII staff to discuss the project and review any questions the applicant may have.
  • Complete the New Project Application.
  • The staff and Program Committee review the application and make a recommendation to the Board of Directors.
  • The Board of Directors makes all final decisions whether to accept or decline a project.

Approval Timeline

Our Program Committee and Board of Directors review new project applications quarterly. Applications received by the stated deadline will be considered during that review period. Although exceptions to this schedule may be made in special circumstances, please use this schedule as a guide to the application process and plan accordingly.

PLEASE NOTE: the below calendar reflects changes in the review schedule which will start with the Winter 2014 review cycle. 

Review Cycle
Review Cycle
Review Cycle
Review Cycle
Submit complete application to Susan Kamprath at: Earth Island Institute, 2150 Allston Way, Suite 460, Berkeley CA 94704 June 1 September 1 December 1 March 1
Program Committee reviews application and makes recommendation to the Board of Directors. July October January April
Board of Directors reviews and decides on application. August November February May
If project approved, New Project Orientation in Berkeley (2 days). September December March June

Application Forms

Please make sure you closely read and complete all of these documents.

For more information, please contact Susan Kamprath, Director of Project Support, Earth Island Institute: 510-859-9107.