Our Favorite Eco-Friendly NYC Organizations To Donate To This Season

NYC's Central Park
Photo credit (Photo: Mak3t/Getty Images)
By Lori Melton

The harsh effects of climate change, increased pollution, and overcrowded landfills are threatening the Earth for future generations. Therefore, as a new decade begins, it’s important to do whatever we can to help protect the planet.

Thankfully, increased environmental awareness is prompting people in communities all over the world to adopt eco-friendly practices. As you look for ways to spread goodwill this holiday season, consider supporting local charity organizations that promote sustainability throughout New York City and beyond. A few of our favorites are listed below.


GrowNYC seeks to “transform communities block by block and empower all New Yorkers to secure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.”

The nonprofit works tirelessly to achieve its goals through a variety of efforts from a large group of volunteers. Greenmarket is one of GrowNYC’s notable environmental endeavors. This program promotes regional agriculture by supporting small family farms. Volunteers distribute fresh, nutritious, and organic food to families scattered all over New York’s boroughs via its Fresh Food Box program.

Plus, the life-enhancing organization grows and maintains community and school gardens, provides environmental education to over 70,000 kids each year, collects food scraps and textiles, and hosts Stop ‘N’ Swap recycling events. Learn more about supporting GrowNYC on its website.

Open Space Institute

New York is known for its crowded city streets, towering skyscrapers, and the world-famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. City dwellers know green space is scarce in the concrete jungle. That’s why many of them appreciate Central Park’s lush 843 acres in the middle of Manhattan.

Based in NYC, Open Space Institute “protects land for people, for wildlife, forever.” For over 40 years, the organization has helped protect and preserve historical landscapes, recreational parks, wildlife, and vital natural habitats.

In 2019 alone, OSI protected 35,000 acres across New York, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, and more. Over the past year, the charity has also provided added protection for the NYC watershed and added over 8,500 acres to 10 New York State parks and forests. To date, OSI has also provided clean drinking water to millions of people. Find out more about donating to Open Space Institute.

Environmental Defense Fund

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has worked to help stabilize the climate, feed the world, and protect human health for over 50 years. The global organization is headquartered in New York City and Washington D.C., with regional offices scattered across the United States.

EDF partners with other organizations to address pressing environmental issues. Specifically, the nonprofit aims to discover and implement solutions that will lead to a 100 percent clean economy. In this effort, EDI seeks to enact national legislation that aggressively limits climate pollution. Other focus areas include expanding global sustainable fishing, increasing the resilience of natural ecosystems, meeting demands for food, water, and shelter, and improving health by reducing exposure to air pollution and toxic chemicals. Learn more about supporting the Environmental Defense Fund here.

Green Schools Alliance

It’s important to remember that every person who follows sustainable practices at home and in their local community will help make a positive difference for the Earth in the long run. However, people need to learn more about environmental issues in order to know how to protect the planet.

Founded in 2006, the Green Schools Alliance aimed to respond to Mayor Bloomberg’s challenge to NYC’s municipal agencies to reduce their carbon footprint 30 percent by 2030. GSA’s sustainability efforts are focused on school districts in NYC and around the world.

Via multiple eco-conscious school programs, the organization arms teachers, school leaders, and students with knowledge and tools to create measurable environmental change. Since it launched, GSA has connected 13,000 sustainability champions from over 9,000 schools, districts, and organizations in 48 U.S. states and 91 countries.

Students in K-12 schools can make a positive environmental impact by participating in multiple GSA challenges. In the Green Cup Challenge, schools measure and reduce energy use, improve recycling efforts, and reduce waste. In the challenge’s first decade, 724 schools saved over 9,841,593 kWh of energy and 14,409,412 pounds of CO2 was avoided. Find out how to help the Green Schools Alliance here.