The Overbrook Foundation’s Sustainable Consumption & Production program seeks out efforts that support innovative ideas in sustainability, particularly around the production and consumption of materials. Projects funded range from promoting EPR (extended producer responsibility) legislation to building sustainable paper markets to innovative recycling methods. Climate change, with a particular focus on energy efficiency and youth engagement, receives distinct but limited support.

Below are the Foundation’s 2015 grantees through its sustainable consumption & production portfolio.


General Operating Support - $40,000

350.org combines online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and creative communications to build a movement for climate solutions across the planet. The campaign is named after 350 parts per million, the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, according to the latest science (current CO2 are at just over 400 ppm). 350.org is training leaders and mobilizing the global public to pressure governments to make real progress on climate change. 350.org is inspired by the success of its fossil fuel divestment campaign, which has spread rapidly, and looks forward to expanding that work over the coming year to more campuses, churches, cities, and then to Europe and Australia — including a plan to start talking more about re-investment. It will continue creative communications and media work to gain more attention about the connection of climate change and extreme weather and around coal and fracking. 350.org is also going into Phase 2 of Global Power Shift, with projects from thirty countries already planned. These will include national summits around the world to develop lasting political power that will hopefully create the type of political transformation required for real climate progress.

ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York

Transform Don’t Trash - $30,000 (first payment of a two-year grant)

ALIGN’s mission is to create good jobs, vibrant communities and an accountable democracy for all New Yorkers. New York City’s restaurants, offices, and businesses generate a staggering 5.5 million tons of solid waste each year, and bury and burn over 2 million tons of that waste in landfills and incinerators. The commercial waste industry is highly polluting, costly and inefficient, disproportionately burdensome on low-income communities and communities of color, and dangerous and exploitative for workers.

Through the Transform Don’t Trash NYC campaign, ALIGN is uniting labor, environmental justice, community and other advocates to transform NYC’s commercial waste system. By improving environmental standards, labor standards and corporate accountability, ALIGN aims to reduce waste and pollution, create cleaner and healthier communities for all New Yorkers, lift thousands waste industry workers and their families out of poverty, and create thousands of new, quality jobs in recycling and recycling-reliant industries.

Alliance for Climate Education

General Operating Support - $65,000 (first payment of a two-year grant)

The Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) was founded in 2008 to educate high school students about the science behind climate change and inspire them to take action. Not many organizations can say that their work has reached over 1.6 million people five years into their formation. Nor could many claim that they’re actually changing peoples’ minds on climate change. However, ACE is doing both. It recognizes that it is critical not just to raise awareness of climate change and its effects among youth, but to actively engage them in the debate and encourage them to take leadership roles. ACE’s mission is to fundamentally shift the attitude and behavior of a generation and build the will to solve the climate crisis. ACE achieves this through an education and action program that accelerates climate science literacy among teens, providing leadership training and opportunities, and inspiring students to become climate leaders and innovators in the green economy.

American Sustainable Business Institute

Building a Business Movement - $25,000

The American Sustainable Business Institute is a network of diverse state and local grassroots business organizations that brings the power of values-based businesses to crucial advocacy movements and campaigns. The goal is to mobilize micro- and small businesses, Main Street businesses, Mom and Pop shops, collectives, and worker co-ops, and creative new enterprises that break old molds. Historically, these businesses have had little power compared with national forces such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Legislative Exchange Council, and National Federation of Independent Business.

American Sustainable Business Institute’s project, “Building a Business Movement for a Sustainable
Society, Climate Action, Clean Energy, Safer Chemicals, Clean Water, and a Just Economy,” will build business support for key sustainability issues—climate, energy, chemicals, water, and sustainable economic development. It will build business power on the national, state, and local levels to advance a sustainable economy. It will educate and prepare business leaders, develop business case materials, prepare business leaders to speak effectively with regulators and policy-makers in Washington and in statehouses, and build advocacy and media campaigns. By coordinating efforts within and between localities and states, the project will wield businesses into a strong and effective voice to achieve change on the issues and to help build the new systems and rules our society needs to grow in a healthy and sustainable manner. This business movement will provide a counter balance to a short-term, profit-at-all-cost corporate mentality.

As You Sow

Consumer Packaging and E-waste Recycling Initiatives - $35,000 (second payment of a two-year grant)

Founded in 1992, As You Sow promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility through shareholder advocacy, coalition building, and innovative legal strategies. In As You Sow’s report Unfinished Business, it estimates that $11 billion of recyclable materials are wasted annually. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a proven strategy in other countries that shifts the responsibility for post-consumer waste from taxpayers and municipal governments to companies that produce the packaging, creating incentives for producers, increasing packaging recycling rates, providing revenue to improve recycling systems, and reducing carbon and energy use. As You Sow is now engaging with 20 companies to develop plans for packaging that will lead to higher recycling rates and reduce environmental impacts. This shareholder advocacy initiative will integrate with ongoing corporate and grassroots efforts to pass EPR policy at the state level. As You Sow is also pressing electronic retailers to provide electronic take-back programs and large corporate technology users to pledge the use of “e-Steward” certified recyclers when retiring equipment.

Corporate Accountability International

Real Food Media Project$25,000 

The Real Food Media Project is a collaborative project to inspire, educate, and grow the movement for sustainable food and farming. The group’s first initiative is Food Mythbusters, which provides a set of tools—animated videos, live action short documentaries, online resources, and more—to help spread the real story about what we eat. Led by author Anna Lappé, Food MythBusters is a collaboration among a wide range of organizations working to directly challenge Big Ag’s marketing might with grassroots truth-telling about the true costs of industrial agriculture and the real potential of sustainable food and farming.

Dogwood Alliance

The Paper Campaign $20,000

Dogwood Alliance mobilizes diverse voices to defend the forests and communities of the Southern U.S. — the largest paper producing region of the world — from destructive industrial forestry. For the past 10 years, Dogwood Alliance has been on the leading edge of catalyzing a shift in the U.S. paper market toward greater use of post-consumer recycled and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper. Through its efforts, Dogwood Alliance has already transformed the practices of some of the largest corporations in the world, increasing protection for over 90 million acres of forests across the South.

Environmental Paper Network

General Operating Support - $25,000 (first payment of a two-year grant)

The Environmental Paper Network (EPN) began in 2002 as an alliance of not-for-profit organizations with very diverse approaches to the severe impact of the pulp and paper industry on our most pressing environmental challenges, including deforestation, loss of biodiversity and ecologically sensitive habitat, air and water quality, and solid waste. Today, the Environmental Paper Network is a network of over 140 organizations in 26 countries working toward a Global Paper Vision, and a model for collaboration that is being employed by advocates around the world.

Food Tank

General Operating Support - $20,000

Food Tank, founded in 2012, works to re-frame the current policy conversation about the global food system. Food Tank’s mission is to offer comprehensive solutions and environmentally sustainable ways of alleviating hunger, obesity, and poverty by cultivating a network of connections and information. Food Tank publishes original content seven days a week, including video, articles, columns, reports, and investigative journalism. Its team aggregates and disseminates current food research and innovation, as well as executing its own independent research. Food Tank is published or interviewed in major media outlets, both nationally and globally, and convenes food system leaders at more than 50 events a year.


General Operating Support - $50,000

ForestEthics works to protect endangered forests, wildlife, and human well-being. ForestEthics has secured agreements to protect more than 65 million acres of endangered forests, including more than one million acres of native forests in Chile; 6.7 million acres of British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest; five million acres in British Columbia’s Inland Temperate Rainforest; 55 million acres in the Canadian Boreal Forest; and successfully prevented Royal Dutch Shell from fracking across 1 million acres in British Columbia’s Sacred Headwaters region. It was also instrumental in implementing the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, the world’s largest conservation initiative, encompassing 170 million acres of Canada’s Boreal Forest. ForestEthics has led dozens of major US-based corporations to adopt more environmentally responsible policies for paper and timber procurement, including Office Depot, Hewlett-Packard, and Victoria’s Secret – and most recently, 3M, the largest manufacturer with the most diverse product lines to adopt a stringent forest policy.

Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA)

GAIA U.S. & Canada Program - $50,000

The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) works to promote and assist in the shaping of local environmentally sustainable economies and creative zero waste solutions in communities around the world. GAIA’s U.S. & Canada Program coordinates and supports a vibrant network of more than 250 regional members. It is building a national movement that challenges new and existing waste incinerators, advocates for zero waste with justice, and participates in broader sustainability organizing. GAIA believes that zero waste goes hand in hand with democracy, transparency, and economic and environmental justice, a vision called “zero waste with justice.” It uses this framework to link the apparently apolitical issues of recycling and composting with “new economy” networks and transformative visions of social and economic organization, especially in urban contexts and in urban-rural connections around food systems.


General Operating Support - $40,000

Groundswell’s mission is to unlock communities’ shared economic power to grow sustainability and expand prosperity on the local level. Groundswell’s work is based on the innovative idea of Civic Consumption, which theorizes that communities can leverage their collective purchasing power to drive social and environmental change and reward businesses that deliver the deepest social benefit. By organizing communities into collective purchasing groups and negotiating discounted rates for clean energy, Groundswell makes clean energy accessible to families and organizations for the first time. This expands the clean energy economy and reduces the carbon footprint of energy consumption. Through Groundswell Energy, the organization partners with mission-focused institutions and individual families to help them purchase clean electricity at a reduced price.

Health Care Without Harm

General Operating Support - $50,000

Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) is an international coalition transforming the health sector
worldwide so that it becomes ecologically sustainable, and a leading advocate for environmental health and justice across the globe. HCWH’s vision is that healthcare leaders across the world (hospitals, clinics, providers) embrace a health philosophy that makes continuous improvement of environmental health a strategic and moral priority.

HCWH supports the development of practices and policies that reduce the environmental harm of health care practices. The organization also facilitates engagement with manufacturers to help them upgrade their product lines to be environmentally superior and cost effective. HCWH’s affiliated membership organization, Practice Greenhealth (PGH), provides hands-on guidance to hospital personnel and has developed a number of tools and programs to implement specific components of the sustainable health care agenda.

In Our Backyards (ioby)

General Operating Support - $50,000 (second payment of a two-year grant)

ioby, a New York based conservation organization, is building a national system of civic leaders, citizen philanthropists, and volunteers who create, fund, and implement urban sustainability projects in their neighborhoods. With a focus on Generation X, Millennial leaders of color, and leaders from low-income communities, ioby leaders are primarily served through ioby.org, a crowd-resourcing platform that blends crowd-funding and community organizing. ioby.org delivers meaningful opportunities for participation to neighbors, and stitches together stories of innovation, change, and community building into a larger narrative on the importance of urban revitalization and conservation as a tool to build political will for social and environmental issues. After a successful pilot in NYC, in 2012, ioby launched nationally and continues to refine its products and services.

Move NY

General Operating Support - $20,000

Move NY, created in 2010, is a one-issue campaign working under the auspices of Neo Philanthropy to address the crisis facing New York City’s transportation network: severe service cuts, escalating fares and tolls, and a dwindling funding base for the maintenance and improvement of our transit and road network. Known previously as the “Congestion Pricing Plan,” The Move NY coalition comprises of over 65 regional business associations, unions, clergy, civic leaders, transportation and environmental advocates, and good-governance organizations all aligned under a vision for New York City that raises money, reduces traffic and, most importantly, decreases the amount of greenhouse gases spewed by cars and buses in New York City to help combat the growing climate crisis.

Natural Resources Defense Council

Addressing Climate Change, Community Engagement, and National Solid Waste - $65,000 (first payment of a two-year grant)

Founded in 1970 by a group of law students and attorneys at the forefront of the environmental movement, NRDC has become one of the nation’s largest environmental advocacy organizations. NRDC lawyers helped write some of America’s bedrock environmental laws. Today, the NRDC staff of more than 300 attorneys, scientists and policy experts work out of offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing. In 2015, NRDC plans to significantly strengthen its community engagement work around the high-profile U.S. EPA Clean Power Plan, as well as continue and expand its e-waste and food waste efforts nationwide.

The New York Harbor Foundation

Billion Oyster Project - $35,000

The New York Harbor Foundation’s mission is to prepare New York City students for careers in marine science and technology by learning about and exploring issues of sustainable ecosystems, including the New York Harbor. To further this mission, the Foundation supports The Harbor School, a public high school on Governor’s Island with a mission to provide a college-preparatory education built upon New York City’s maritime experience. The Billion Oyster Project (BOP), a project of the New York Harbor Foundation, is a long-term, large-scale plan to restore one billion live oysters to New York Harbor over the next twenty years, and in the process train thousands of young people in New York City to work within and care about their local marine environment. BOP is a partnership of schools, businesses, nonprofits, and volunteers all working together to grow oysters, restore the estuary, and make our city a healthier and more resilient place to live.

New Venture Fund

ReFED: The Economic Roundtable on Food Waste - $50,000

ReFED is a new collaborative, formed under the fiscal sponsorship of the New Venture Fund at Arabella Advisors. The Roundtable was established by the Jesse Fink Foundation to develop a systemic approach for reducing food waste in the United States. The goal of this effort is to generate the information needed to close the gap between awareness of the food waste problem and the specific actions needed to solve it. Developing a strategic road map to prioritize solutions that merge strong economic returns with the optimal social and environmental management of food waste will help stakeholders make better business decisions, develop new policies, and direct capital (philanthropic and investment) towards substantial food waste solutions, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, waste and more.

The Story of Stuff

General Operating Support/Catalog Choice Acquisition Support - $65,000

The Story of Stuff Project (SOS) was founded in 2008 to change the way we make, use and throw away Stuff. The Project’s Bay Area-based team has been a hub of innovation in environmental communications and engagement: the Story of Stuff team has created some of the most impactful cause-related viral videos of all time and built a networked distribution model that reaches every country in the world. The SOS was an early advocate of utilizing social media, and today reaches millions of people each week.

In 2015, the organization is focused on helping its 850,000 community members gain the identity, skills and power necessary to make change on a range of environmental and social concerns. SOS will create several new animated videos and reach at least 100 million social media news feeds with lively and informative content. The group will provide basic training for thousands of budding change-makers through its innovative online Citizen Muscle Boot Camp, and it will connect its community members around the world in order to support a series of environmental campaigns.

Urban Green

General Operating Support - $40,000 (first payment of a two-year grant)

The Urban Green Council, the New York affiliate of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), advances sustainability in urban buildings through education, advocacy and research. Established in 2002, Urban Green’s in-house experts and dedicated network of
volunteers are helping to transform the built environment in New York City, with models that can be replicated in urban centers nationwide.

Urban Green’s work on leading two blue-ribbon commissions for the City of New York has resulted in measures that by 2030 will reduce citywide carbon emissions by almost 5%; lower daily water consumption by the equivalent of 30 Central Park Reservoirs; and divert 100,000 tons of asphalt from landfills annually. Urban Green continues to work with the city and a range of stakeholders to help ensure

Western New York Environmental Alliance

General Operating Support - $50,000

The Western New York Environmental Alliance (WNYEA), a coalition of nearly 100 organizations, is working to scale a nationally relevant location based collaborative environmental movement that
addresses climate change, urban regeneration, and equity. Citizens in Western New York have spent
decades redefining how they think about the environment and its value to health, well-being and
economic prosperity. WNYEA has learned that a well-informed grassroots base and an empowered
citizenry can successfully respond to the greatest of challenges like decimation of important natural
resources. GROW (Green Renaissance Of Western New York), a program of the coalition, is not only a dynamic web platform to share stories of hope, change, resilience and excellence; it is a call to action to empower a much larger base of citizens who leverage their collective power to redefine how to “grow” a healthy society in the face of major challenges like climate change, global economic and political instability, inequity, and resource scarcity. The Alliance works to achieve this by creating new and dynamic structures that expand capacity and allows disparate organizations to come together for the greater good through a shared vision and action agenda, creative communication platforms, technical training & research, resource development and joint advocacy campaigns. The Alliance’s goal is not to become a distinct organization but to serve as an umbrella group that strengthens the region’s environmental community by advancing its mission to mobilize change through collective action and collaboration, in order to ensure sustainable, thriving ecosystems and communities in Western New York.


Grantees by Year:  2015  |  2014  |  2013