Earthjustice

Because the Earth Needs a Good Lawyer

aka Earthjustice   |   San Francisco, CA   |  www.earthjustice.org

Mission

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit public interest environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people's health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Ruling year info

1971

Principal Officer

Abigail Dillen

Main address

50 California Street Suite 500

San Francisco, CA 94111 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund

EIN

94-1730465

NTEE code info

Environmental Quality, Protection, and Beautification N.E.C. (C99)

Wildlife Preservation/Protection (D30)

Law, International Law, and Jurisprudence (V26)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Our mission is to use the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people's health; preserve magnificent places and wildlife; advance clean energy; and combat climate change.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Earthjustice

Founded in 1971, Earthjustice is the nation’s premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of the law and the strength of partnership to preserve our wildlife, wild lands, and oceans; protect people’s health; combat climate change; and advance clean energy solutions. Every year, we represent more than 550 client groups large and small—all at no charge.

We take on the biggest, most precedent-setting cases across the country and achieve high-impact, far-reaching results.

Ours is a country of strong environmental laws – and Earthjustice holds those who break these laws accountable for their actions. As the nation’s original and largest nonprofit environmental law organization, we leverage our expertise and commitment to fight for justice and create lasting change.

We bring cases that will have the biggest impact, setting precedents for generations to come. Our many successes across the decades are thanks to strong partnerships with hundreds of organizations and thousands of passionate supporters. Of course, winning a case is only part of the battle. Our litigation is strengthened by policy and communications teams working with decision-makers in Washington, D.C., and within the court of public opinion to sustain our legal victories. Earthjustice pursues three key goals to secure a just and flourishing world:
• Fighting for healthy communities
• Preserving the wild
• Advancing clean energy and a healthy climate

This is a time of transformative change. The intertwining crises of climate, public health, rampant inequality, and extinction are laying bare the many ways in which our current systems are broken, and the huge challenges that lie ahead. But this time also holds the promise that we can make common cause to turn the tied and start to create a heathier and more just world for everyone. We are all poart of one interconnected fight, and we need each other now more than ever.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Earthjustice uses the law to preserve a rich, sustainable and diverse natural heritage for current and future generations. We select cases that will protect endangered species, sensitive habitats and threatened wildlands; reduce human impacts on ecosystems; and hold accountable those who damage them. Our focus areas are the ocean ecosystem, the Arctic, wild lands, and wildlife.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Since our founding, Earthjustice has been at the forefront of safeguarding the fundamentals of human health—the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink.

We are fighting for a future where children can breathe clean air, no matter where they live; where the food we feed our families and the products we use in our homes are free of toxic chemicals; and where communities everywhere are safer, healthier places to live and work.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Earthjustice is committed to ending the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels and working to secure a clean energy future. Our courtroom victories get the world closer to preventing catastrophic climate change, the single greatest environmental threat facing the world today. We use the courts to cut carbon emissions and to force a shift from dirty to clean energy. The time is now to stabilize our climate by moving urgently to zero emissions and 100% clean energy, and to build a thriving, sustainable world. Our focus areas in this program are clean energy, climate change, coal, and oil & gas drilling.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Accreditations

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance 2017

Charity Navigator 2017

Charity Navigator 2018

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance 2018

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance 2019

Charity Navigator 2019

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Earthjustice fights to preserve healthy wild lands, wild life, and oceans. In response to the challenges posed by climate change, we focus on building biodiversity and protecting large, intact, and interconnected landscapes to provide the broadest range of options for wildlife to adapt to a warming world. Our key objectives include: protecting forests and public lands from roads and fossil fuel development; safeguarding keystone species (i.e. wolves, bears, salmon); defending the Clean Water Act nationally, protecting marine fisheries, marine mammals, and coral reefs; and safeguarding oceans from oil and gas drilling.

Earthjustice works at regional and national levels to improve public health by strengthening and enforcing regulations that protect against the effects of pollution and toxic chemicals in our air, water, food, and household products. Our key objectives include: strengthening National Ambient Air Quality Standards and their enforcement; cleaning up dirty industries and reducing emissions of air toxics; reducing the human health and environmental impacts of pesticides, protecting people from toxics; and representing disproportionately impacted communities to safeguard their rights.

Climate change threatens the world as we know it, and the chief culprit is the burning of fossil fuels. Through a robust program of litigation and advocacy, Earthjustice is working to spur a fast, transformative shift away from fossil fuels to clean energy, so that we can achieve the dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions we need before mid-century. Our key objectives include: hastening coal plan retirements; securing and defending strong air and water pollution standards for the coal sector; blocking construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure; stopping mountaintop removal mining and blocking new coal mines in the West; blocking fossil fuel transport and export schemes; securing strong standards to reduce methane pollution; advancing grid reform in states to scale-up clean energy; defending rooftop solar and distributed energy resources from attack; securing and defending state clean energy mandates; securing and defending federal energy regulations that facilitate grid transformation; and strengthening national energy efficiency standards.

A 501(c)3 nonprofit environmental law firm, we have a passionate belief that the power of the law can be used to preserve the environment and build a healthier future for all. We are the legal backbone for the environmental movement—the attorneys and legal strategists for both nationally known and community organizations. We take on many of the biggest environmental and health challenges of our time and stick with them, often litigating cases for years. The gains we achieve create ripple effects that improve the quality of life for this and future generations.

Because we represent our clients free of charge (thanks to the generous, continued support of individuals and foundations), an investment in Earthjustice has double the impact, supporting both Earthjustice and the organizations we represent.

We enforce and strengthen our nation's laws in order to fulfill the promise of our communities as safe, healthy places to live and work, and to safeguard the irreplaceable natural world. We are actively litigating more than 550 cases. Areas of casework include protecting threatened wildlife, restoring clean air and water, protecting people from pesticides and other toxic chemicals, reining in our dependence on fossil fuels, strengthening the rise of clean energy, and more.

We live in a country with many strong environmental laws. But laws are merely words on paper if they're not upheld. We're here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Earthjustice is the first and largest nonprofit environmental law firm in the world and has built a strong reputation for building influential, broad- based coalitions that achieve high-impact, far-reaching results. Since our founding in 1971, Earthjustice has represented more than 1,000 public-interest clients—always without charge. We are the go-to attorneys and legal strategists for these organizations and individuals, from large national nonprofits to small community groups. We have more than 160 attorneys in fourteen regional offices, an international program, and communications and policy teams. As we grow, our impact grows.

Earthjustice has: saved tens of thousands of lives by securing clean air and clean water protections; protected nearly 50 million acres of our most pristine forests and wilderness; safeguarded hundreds of imperiled plants and animals such as wolves, grizzly bears, and salmon; protected national treasures like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone; restored flows to Hawaiian rivers and streams; defended the right of communities to limit or ban fracking; blocked oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean; secured bans on some of the most dangerous chemicals; advanced clean energy gains in more than 15 states; successfully battled to protect people for toxic air pollution; protected bees from toxic pesticides; contributed to the retirement of more than 200 dirty coal plants and stopped plans for new coal mines; blocked construction of west coast coal terminals; and played an instrumental role in establishing the link between human rights and environmental protection.

Our mission is to wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people's health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are fighting to protect our wildlife and wild places, from the Arctic to the Everglades to the vast wilderness within our oceans. We have long been at the forefront of safeguarding the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. We are waging an all-out campaign for a rapid shift away from fossil fuels to avert catastrophic impacts of climate change. On behalf of a wide array of local and national organizations, our attorneys are fighting in courtrooms and public utilities commissions across the country to hasten a transformational shift to clean energy. We have many challenges and tough fights ahead and these are fights we cannot afford to lose.

Financials

Earthjustice
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Earthjustice

Board of directors
as of 3/3/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Fern Shepard

President/Rachel's Network

Term: 2010 - 2020


Board co-chair

N. Bruce Duthu

Samson Occom Professor of Native American Studies/Dartmouth College

Term: 2014 - 2024

David Cox

President & CEO, Cowles Media Company (retired)

George Martin

Partner, Martin Law

Dianne Stern

Conservation Writer and Teacher

Fern Shepard

Executive Director, Rachel's Network

Dorothy Ballantyne

Financial Consultant (retired)

Carmen Gonzalez

Professor, Seattle University School of Law

Marcia Kunstel

Journalist and Author

Paul Newhagen

Founder and CFO, Altera (retired)

Andrew Reich

TV Writer and Producer

Will Roush

Conservation Director, Wilderness Workshop

Steve Daetz

Executive Vice President, Sandler Foundation

Elizabeth Sutherland Riney

Conservationist

Aja DeCoteau

Watershed Department Manager, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission

Diane Lewis

MD and Founder, Healthy Yard Project

Ed Lewis

Consultant, Ed Lewis Consulting

Janet Maughan

Executive Director, Passport Foundation

Lori Potter

Public Lands Lawyer and Conservationist

Greg Serrurier

Investor

Steve Unfried

Conservationist

Leslie Williams

Attorney

Peter Carson

Partner, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP

Nicola Miner

Community College Instructor/Investor

Vawter "Buck" Parker

Earthjustice Attorney and Executive Director (retired)

Victor Hymes

CEO and Chief Investment Officer/Legato Capital Management, LLC

Winsome McIntosh

President, McIntosh Foundation

Patricia Pineda

General Counsel and Group Vice President, Toyota Motor North America, Inc. (retired)

N.Bruce Duthu

Samson Occom Professor of Native American Studies, Dartmouth College

Debra Lekanoff

Representative, Washington State, 40th Legislative District

Rich Rainaldi

Partner, Green Spark Ventures

Ruth Santiago

Attorney

Stuart Clarke

Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 02/24/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Decline to state
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/25/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.