350.orgBack To All Nominees
Environment: Spring, 2011
350.org is building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis.
Full Assesment Summary
- 350.org is building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis. Its online campaigns, grassroots organizing and mass public actions work to create bottom-up change through the efforts of thousands of volunteer organizations in over 188 countries. 350 is a goal for climate safety--to preserve the planet, scientists say the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere must be reduced from its current level of 392 parts per million to below 350 ppm. To do this, 350.org builds “people power” throughout the world, engaging them as volunteers, in events, and through large-scale campaigns. 350.org engages millions of people to build international climate activism, striving to create real, lasting, large-scale change.
- Mission | Theory Of Change
- 350.org believes that solving the climate crisis requires more than solar power and wind power – it believes the solution requires people power. By building a massive, diverse, and creative grassroots movement across the planet, 350.org believes it can implement climate solutions from the bottom up and pressure political leaders to deliver change from the top down. 350.org aims to be on the cutting edge of internet organizing, finding new ways to use the web to coordinate projects in 180 countries around the world. It works to create an “open source” movement that empowers everyday people to be leaders in their communities. 350.org also believes in the importance of art and creativity in creating cultural and political change.
- History | Track Record
- 350.org was launched in December 2008 by environmental writer Bill McKibben and a team of seven college friends. Though it has a heavy online presence and a global presence, it also has physical offices in Washington, DC and Oakland, CA. In 2009, the first 350 International Day of Climate Action united more than 5,200 events in over 180 countries to promote the goal of reducing the level of CO2 in the atmosphere below 350 ppm. At the UN Climate Talks in Copenhagen, 112 countries signed onto the 350 target for the first time. In 2010, 350.org’s global movement-building work culminated in the 10/10/10 Global Work Party, a day of practical carbon-cutting solutions that brought together over 7,200 events in 188 countries. A few months later, 350.org followed up the actions by coordinating a climate art project so large it had to be photographed from a satellite in outer space.
- Grant Usage
- A grant from OPF would be used for one of two projects: salaries for field organizers who work with 350.org’s on-the-ground volunteers or for 350.org’s creative online campaigns. Examples of the latter could include development of original music and material for the 2011 Climate Talks in Durban, South Africa or urban graphic art campaigns to generate awareness.
- Financial, Staffing, & Project Summary
- In 2011, 350.org merged with 1Sky, a leading US grassroots climate campaign, which expanded their budget and team. According to the 2010 990, 350.org had total revenues of $1,480,130, total expenditures of $2,276,114, and a year-end balance at the end of 2010 of $1,397,966 (reflecting strategic budgetary planning as a result of the recession). 350.org has 12 full-time and 1 part-time staffperson.
- Working Group Analysis
- 350.org uses a suite of next-generation tools (active website, social media, animation, art displays, etc) to create an international climate movement. This young organization has proven itself to be exceptionally effective at grassroots mobilization – their yearly International Days of Climate Action feature thousands of events in 180+ countries, all focused on the goal of reaching 350 ppm. 350.org’s recent merger with 1Sky has bolstered it as an organization, providing it with extra capital (both human and financial), expertise, and strength. The organization has grown quickly, but it still seems to be agile and responsive. This is likely attributable to the fact that engagement is a core value of 350.org, and it fully believes that its success depends on successful engagement of thousands of volunteers around the world. As a result, it thinks and works creatively to activate and retain its volunteer base, and this is evident in each aspect of its work. Combined with its work at the policy level, 350.org is finding a formula for effective bottom-up and top-down change.
- Nominator Endorsement
- Ryan Blitstein: "I nominated 350.org because I love what they are doing: building a global movement against the climate crisis. And they are going about it in exactly the right way--laser focus and long-term strategy; global ambition; employing social media as a catalyzing force toward real-world actions (see http://www.350.org/animation); and building on the idealism of youth and young adults. Their recent merger with 1Sky proves that they care deeply about collaboration and put the cause first. The experts seem to agree with me: 350 and 1Sky (pre-merger) were both on Philanthropedia's list of promising climate change startup NGOs. They are at the ideal stage for an OPF grant--experienced enough to have proven their model, but still small enough so our money will make a huge difference as they expand their global reach."
(Click on a document to view or download)