23 Nonprofits to Support in 2023
With a common mission of providing healthful, eco-friendly, and socially responsible products to consumers, natural and organic products companies often have philanthropy engrained as part of their brand’s DNA. Given that, the industry is well positioned to play a lead role in helping society address many of the problems facing the world today.
The month of December, with its focus on family, community and giving, presents an opportunity to highlight some of the nonprofit organizations that work with leaders in the natural products sector to help solve some of the pressing issues of our time. There are many organizations doing great work — below find a list of 23 organizations this writer has interacted with in some capacity over the years and identified as potentially worthy of your awareness, consideration and support in the coming year.
This list is divided into four categories: Climate & Environment; Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; Food & Agriculture; and Nutrition & Health. Perhaps one or more of these organizations will resonate with you this season of giving and throughout the year.
We know there are many nonprofit and related organizations doing important work that rely on contributions from individuals, businesses, and foundations — please forgive us if we didn’t include your favorite nonprofit this time around. However, if you let us know, there’s a chance we can include it next year, and we’d love to hear from you.
Happy holidays and all the best for the New Year from yours truly and the PRESENCE team.
Steven Hoffman is Managing Director of Compass Natural, providing public relations, brand marketing, social media, and strategic business development services to natural, organic, sustainable and hemp/CBD products businesses. Compass Natural serves in PR and programming for NoCo Hemp Expo and Southern Hemp Expo, and Hoffman serves as Editor of the weekly Let’s Talk Hemp Newsletter, published by We are for Better Alternatives. Contact email@example.com.
CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT
1% for the Planet
1% for the Planet is a global network of individuals and businesses that, to date, has donated more than $350 million to support environmental nonprofits around the globe. A number of natural products companies have aligned with 1% for the Planet, and many express their support by placing the organization’s logo on their product packaging. This past year, the organization launched the 1% for the Planet Impact Fund at National Philanthropic Trust to drive climate impact. https://onepercentfortheplanet.org
Founded in 2013 by CPG and natural products veterans Tom Newmark and Larry Kopald, the Carbon Underground’s goals are to coalesce the emerging science on the soil’s relationship to climate change, and to tell the world about a possibility to not simply slow down the threat of climate change, but to reverse it. The organization advances ways to draw down legacy carbon from the atmosphere and promotes regenerative agriculture as a tool to mitigate climate change. https://thecarbonunderground.org
A project of One Step Closer, the Climate Collaborative’s mission is dedicated to “leveraging the power of the natural products industry to reverse climate change.” The organization recently released a four-part webinar series, Climate Action Guidance for Business. Also, the Climate Collaborative’s annual Tracking Progress Update assesses how companies are progressing on their climate action commitments. https://www.climatecollaborative.com
Environmental Working Group
Working to protect consumers, the Environmental Working Group takes the lead in shining a “spotlight on outdated legislation, harmful agricultural practices and industry loopholes that pose a risk to our health and the health of our environment,” encouraging industries to adopt safer practices and educating consumers with actionable information. EWG recently released a report on forever chemicals in pet food bags and in baby textiles, plus a report on how “multitasking” preservatives might help make cosmetics safer, plus the organization works to keep cancer-causing chemicals out of everyday consumer products. https://www.ewg.org
Natural Capitalism Solutions
Founded by renowned environmentalist and author Hunter Lovins, Natural Capitalism Solutions is dedicated to building an economy in service to life through education, innovative solutions, and youth empowerment. The organization works with companies, communities and countries to help offset and reduce carbon emissions and to implement more regenerative practices profitably. https://natcapsolutions.org
DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION
Anishinaabe Agriculture Institute
With Akiing — an Indigenous organization dedicated to restoring sacred landscapes, community wealth and resilience — serving as its fiscal sponsor, the nonprofit Anishinaabe Agriculture Institute was founded by Native American leader, water protector, and former candidate for Vice President of the United States Winona LaDuke. The organization’s work includes educating youth about Indigenous, sustainable, and regenerative agriculture practices, restoring agro-biodiversity and food sovereignty, advancing traditional methodologies, and supporting research into hemp fiber production to benefit local economies. http://anishinaabeagriculture.org
Her Many Voices Foundation
Through environmental, cultural and community projects, Her Many Voices brings a diverse group of artists, humanitarian leaders and businesses together to help solve problems for the betterment of women, children and “our Mother Earth.” Her Many Voices was founded by Native American leader Alicia Fall, a former TEDx presenter and recipient of the New York State Assembly Citation Award. Through Alicia and her team’s work in education, inclusivity and collaboration, the organization is also dedicated to supporting farmers and is currently planning events for Earth Day 2023. https://www.hermanyvoices.org
Launched in April 2020, the mission of the J.E.D.I. Collaborative is to help create a natural products industry “that centers at its core justice, equity, diversity and inclusion” with systems-level solutions. According to a Natural and Organic Industry Benchmarking Survey conducted in late 2019 by the J.E.D.I Collaborative and New Hope Network, “only 2% of leadership positions within our industry companies and on company boards are occupied by black professionals. The situation isn’t better for Latinx professionals, who hold 2% of company board positions and 6% of company leadership roles within the U.S. natural products industry.” Women also represent only 23% of board seats for companies with more than 50 employees, according to the J.E.D.I. Collaborative, a project of One Step Closer. https://jedicollaborative.com
Inspired by Naturally Boulder, a public-private partnership founded in 2005 to promote entrepreneurship in natural, organic, and sustainable products in Colorado, the Naturally Network has grown to become a national organization with nine independent chapters, including Naturally Austin, Naturally Bay Area, Naturally Boulder, Naturally Chicago, Naturally Los Angeles, Naturally Minnesota, Naturally New York, Naturally North Bay and Naturally San Diego. Linking emerging businesses and brands with seasoned veterans and mentors in natural and organic products, Naturally Network offers business education, resources for entrepreneurs, mentorship and diversity programs, and ongoing regional and national networking and event opportunities. As former Chair and Board Member of Naturally Boulder, this writer can’t recommend enough to individuals in the natural channel to get involved in the Naturally Network or one of the above mentioned regional chapters. https://www.naturallynetwork.org
Breaking into the natural and organic products industry isn’t easy for anyone, and it’s especially challenging for Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) to attract investors, find the right co-packers, refine recipes, and garner placement on retail shelves. Enter Project Potluck, established by Ibraheem Bashir, CPG veteran and founder and CEO of A Dozen Cousins, a leading Black-owned natural food brand, to provide the support that minority entrepreneurs in the natural products space need to succeed. In March 2022, Project Potluck won New Hope Network’s inaugural Justice Award for its efforts promoting justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in the natural and organic products industry, and the organization was recently featured in Forbes Magazine. https://www.potluckcpg.org
Wild Animal Sanctuary
Including animal welfare on this list, one of this writer’s personal favorites is the Wild Animal Sanctuary. Based an hour east of Denver in Keenesburg, CO, on nearly 700 acres, the organization rescues and provides a home to more than 350 large animals including lions, tigers, bears and wolves, many of which were rescued from abusive environments. Want to know where all those animals from the TV show Tiger King ended up? The Wild Animal Sanctuary saved more than 100 of them, providing sanctuary at its large, open-space environment where visitors can view the animals from elevated walkways and decks overlooking this fenced-in “Serengeti of the West.” The organization also recently saved the lives of 11 African lions that were located in an active war zone in Ukraine. The sanctuary welcomes visitors and your support. https://www.wildanimalsanctuary.org
FOOD & AGRICULTURE
Kiss the Ground
With a passionate, committed and growing community inspired by Kiss the Ground: the Movie, a full-length documentary narrated by Woody Harrelson that sheds light on a “new, old approach” to farming called regenerative agriculture, Kiss the Ground was founded in 2013 to educate about and advance a system of agriculture and food production that rebuilds our soils and water resources, sequesters carbon from the atmosphere and feeds the world. Kiss the Ground’s mission is to awaken people to the possibilities of regeneration and inspire participation through storytelling, education, and advocacy. https://kisstheground.com
Regenerative Organic Alliance
The Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA) comprises a group of experts in farming, ranching, soil health, animal welfare and farmer and worker fairness. Founded by the Rodale Institute, Dr. Bronner’s and Patagonia, other members of the alliance include Compassion in World Farming, Fair World Project, and the Textile Exchange. The ROA was established to continuously review and update the Regenerative Organic Certified® framework, a recently introduced certification program for food, fiber, and personal care ingredients that represents the “highest standard” for organic agriculture in the world, with stringent requirements for soil health, animal welfare and social fairness. https://regenorganic.org
With a vision to collaborate with consumers, educators, business leaders and policy makers, Regeneration International’s mission is to work with multiple stakeholders in key regions around the world to promote, facilitate and accelerate the global transition to regenerative food, farming and land management for the purpose of cooling the planet, restoring climate stability, ending world hunger and rebuilding deteriorated social, ecological and economic systems. Regeneration International, which offers a number of resources for those interested in regenerative organic agriculture and climate change, is a project of the Organic Consumers Association. https://regenerationinternational.org
With events including Women Leading Regeneration and the Regenerative Earth Summit, plus an ongoing podcast series, Regenerative Rising is dedicated to elevating and forwarding regenerative principles that expand a living systems worldview. The organization engages leaders in agriculture, business, and finance to elevate stories of regeneration and innovation to activate urgent and necessary change in business strategy, public policy and personal decision-making that serves the long term health and betterment of people and the Earth. https://regenerativerising.org
The Rodale Institute
Celebrating 75 years of organic leadership, the “OG” of organic agriculture and research, The Rodale Institute remains on the vanguard of science and best practices in advancing organic and regenerative agriculture. The Rodale Institute’s main office is located on a 386-acre organic research and education farm in eastern Pennsylvania that investigates a number of organic crops and rotations, including hemp, and also the value of animal husbandry in regenerative agriculture. In September 2022, General Mills announced it would donate the Cascadian Farm home farm in Skagit County, WA, to the institute, bringing the total number of Rodale Institute research campuses to 12. The organization also recently partnered with Colorado-based nonprofit Mad Agriculture to help farmers transition to organic and regenerative organic farming methods. The Rodale Institute was originally founded in 1947 as the Soil and Health Foundation by Rodale Press founder J.I. Rodale. https://rodaleinstitute.org
NUTRITION & HEALTH
American Botanical Council
Founded in 1986 and based in Austin, TX, the mission of the American Botanical Council (ABC) is to help people live healthier lives through the responsible use of herbal medicine. ABC is an independent, nonprofit research and education organization dedicated to providing science-based, accurate and reliable information for consumers, healthcare practitioners, researchers, educators, industry, and the media about the safe and effective use of herbs and medicinal plants. Through monographs, a comprehensive library, its newsletter, HerbalGram, and more, the American Botanical Council is a vital resource for advocates and makers of herbal-based products, from tinctures and topicals to functional foods and personal care products. https://www.herbalgram.org
Chef Ann Foundation
The Chef Ann Foundation is dedicated to promoting whole ingredient, scratch cooking in schools. Scratch cooking enables schools to serve the healthiest, tastiest meals so that kids are well nourished and ready to learn. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the foundation works with both public and private schools in all 50 states. Founded in 2009 by “the Renegade Lunch Lady,” Chef Ann Cooper — an internationally recognized author, chef, educator, public speaker, and advocate of healthy food for all children — the foundation reports it has helped more than 13,500 schools and 3.3 million kids eat healthier, fresher school meals. https://www.chefannfoundation.org
With the slogan “Art that Feeds,” Conscious Alliance partners with food makers, musicians, artists, and music lovers to empower youth and end hunger in underserved communities. Working with top recording artists and bands, concert-goers, food donors and supporters, many of which are natural food brands, the alliance organizes major food drives at concerts and music festivals nationwide to deliver food directly to economically isolated communities in need, including Native American reservations and rural areas, such as the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. https://consciousalliance.org
As a leading national network of food banks, Feeding America is seeing a spike in demand among its member network of food banks and food pantries amid rising food prices. According to Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, an estimated 53 million or more people in the U.S. are currently food insecure. The organization also is seeing a decrease in donated food and a decrease in federal commodities, meaning member food banks are having to buy more food at a time when food costs are high. “…if I could break down whom it is that comes to us in need of help, as a rule, we’re talking about children. A huge portion of those who are counting on us and the work that we do would be kids, the elderly, people with disabilities,” said Babineaux-Fontenot in an interview with NPR. https://www.feedingamerica.org
The Organic Center
The Organic Center, based in Washington, D.C., is an independent non-profit educational and research organization operating under the administrative auspices of the Organic Trade Association. Founded in 2002 with a mission to conduct, convene and disseminate credible, evidence-based science on the environmental and health effects of organic food and farming, and to communicate those findings to the public, The Organic Center collaborates with academic and governmental institutions to advance research. The Organic Center is the organic products industry’s leading research and education organization advocating for the nutritional, health, environmental and climate mitigating benefits of organic food production. https://www.organic-center.org
Founded in 1994 by natural products industry veteran Howard Schiffer, Vitamin Angels is a public health nonprofit organization working to improve nutrition and health outcomes in low-resource settings worldwide. The organization helps to strengthen, extend, and amplify the impact of partner organizations working to reach the most nutritionally vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, infants, and children who are underserved by existing systems with evidence-based nutrition interventions and health services. Vitamin Angels works with more than 2,000 local organizations, including governments, to reach more than 60 million women and children in 65 countries annually. https://www.vitaminangels.org
Whole Planet Foundation
Founded in 2005, Whole Planet Foundation is a Whole Foods Market foundation that funds poverty alleviation worldwide where the company sources products. The nonprofit’s mission is to empower the world’s poorest people with micro-credit and the chance to create or expand a home-based or small business to help lift themselves and their families out of poverty. As of June 2022, Whole Planet Foundation is helping to alleviate poverty through micro-finance partners in the U.S. and 79 other countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. To date, the nonprofit reports it has disbursed $101 million through micro-lending partners worldwide, funding 6 million micro-loans and 30 million opportunities for a better life for micro-entrepreneurs and their family members. https://wholeplanetfoundation.org