Annual Report - 2012
Dear friends and supporters,
2012 shocked the climate movement and 350.org into our most fast-paced and ambitious campaigning yet. President Obama called for further review of the Keystone XL pipeline, thereby halting the project; the global climate negotiations at the UNFCCC settled on 2015 as the next key moment; surface ice all across the Arctic ice sheet melted; and historic drought and flooding helped solidify public opinion around the urgency of climate change.
For 350.org, these events were a clear indication that we had to pursue more systemic and broad-scale change. We also made significant strides in building an effective US campaign, laid the foundation for the most major push towards global organizing since the UN Summit in Copenhagen, expanded our alliances outside of the traditional environmental movement, and gained increasing recognition for our unique style of climate activism.
Despite the good news in January on Keystone, we knew we had to keep up the fight — and that the oil industry would, too. We quickly focused our sights on the broader money in politics issues surrounding Keystone, and launched a campaign to remove fossil fuel subsidies which included introducing a bill in Congress, a mass petition presented at the Rio +20 Summit with our global network, and a new alliance with government reform organizations. Not only that, but the subsidies campaign laid the foundation for our work on fossil fuel divestment in the fall of 2012, as well as a strong foundation to collaborate with and support the Occupy movement.
While all this momentum was building, there were an astonishing amount of climate disasters occurring almost daily, from the Mississippi River to the Australian interior and everywhere in between. Bill McKibben was a frequent guest on news shows explaining what was happening, and we worked hard to alert our network with opportunities to show solidarity with those in need.
These events also inspired us to take on a more proactive project, which we dubbed Connect the Dots, to help tell a unified narrative about the many disparate events taking place worldwide, and to do it the way we do best: through people power. We organized a global day of action, and on May 5, 2012 there were thousands of Dot photos flooding in from Bolivia, India, Nepal, Haiti, Sweden, and many other places that have been affected. We are still receiving images of solidarity as each new extreme weather event happens.
We then worked with allies on a series of summer actions confronting extreme energy projects in the Pacific Northwest, Ohio, and New York. Around this same time, we began to envision Global Power Shift—a project which we hoped would re-ignite the energy and power in our global network and in so doing, build the kind of national political momentum required for a global climate agreement. We solidified these plans following the outcome at the UNFCCC negotiations in Durban, which set 2015 as a new milestone.
In July 2012, For the first time, the 350 team committed ourselves to a three-year vision. Previously we had planned 3-6 months in advance, and prided ourselves on responding nimbly to challenges and opportunities as they presented themselves to us. We are still committed to being nimble, but our expanded analysis of the climate crisis and what it will take to solve it pointed us towards longer-term strategies around politics, organizing, and leadership development.
In August we received word that we'd been among the highest rated organizations working on climate change by Philanthropedia, an independent ranking organization. My favorite quote from those rankings is, "Their positive, plucky, agile organizing style and technique has helped to move the public, attract media attention, and also add energy and power to the work of more conventional groups."
In the fall of 2012 we went on tour to bring the message of climate change to a broader audience. The Do the Math tour was a huge success, selling out night after night in 22 cities. The central theme was to make the fossil fuel industry a public villain and to kick off a fossil fuel divestment campaign on college campuses, in churches, and other institutions across the country, replicating a strategy that helped end South African Apartheid. The campaign has caught on like wildfire, with more than 340 campuses and 100 cities across the U.S. running campaigns; plans for expansion in Australia and the UK, and many conversations with allies about how to develop a vision around re-investment.
Meanwhile, the short respite on the Keystone fight, which took place in the lead up to the US Presidential election, ended as soon as the election was over. Since then our team has been working furiously to increase the odds that Keystone does not get built, through a combination of mass mobilizations like Forward on Climate, coordination with our allies, media work, reports, birddogging, and direct action. Not only that, but the more we work on Keystone, the more we are convinced that the climate movement is at an inflection point, ready for more, and we are committed to expanding the fight to focus on Obama’s climate legacy.
I hope this letter, along with our highlights reel of 2012, effectively conveys the story of what an astonishing year it was. We could not do this important work without your participation, partnership and generous support.
Thank you for your help along the way!
Executive Director, 350.org, for the 350.org Team
Opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline
After the climate movement's success in January 2012 when President Obama and the State Department denied the permit for the pipeline, we have continued to watch-dog Congress and to defend the temporary victory on the Keystone XL pipeline.
We have been in frequent and regular discussion with White House officials and other key allies. We worked with activist allies in Texas who live along the southern leg of the pipeline that was approved to defend their land and delay construction. We also worked with allies to halt the Northern Gateway and Trailbreaker pipelines.
On November 18th, directly after the US election, we held another huge rally at the White House to let the newly-reelected President Obama know that we are in this fight for the duration. 3,500 people came out, and we organized it in only ten days.
Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies
Knowing that we can’t fight climate change pipeline by pipeline, we also spent a good part of 2012 building the campaign to more directly address the political power of the fossil fuel industry through the subsidies they receive. This was an important and effective move during a US election year where we showed the connection between money and politics, and cut through otherwise vague discussions at the global level during the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil.
In the US, we started an online petition and garnered a lot of press by framing the issue through an op-ed like this one in the LA Times. We launched the campaign with a powerful rally on Capitol Hill on May 10th that brought together environmental groups, politically moderate tax groups, and many more. The rally showed support for a “marker” bill we’ve collaborated on to reduce fossil fuel subsidies. The bill, introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ellison in the House, would strip $113 billion in subsidies from coal, gas, and oil companies over the next decade. We hope elements of this bill will continue to be incorporated in future pieces of legislation.
Our work around the Rio Earth Summit elevated the issue of subsidies in a big way internationally, with a 1,000,000 comment Twitterstorm drawing in advocates and partners from all over the world. In an arena renowned for vague pronouncements, the tactic pressured world leaders to respond to a specific demand.
Connecting Extreme Weather and Climate Change
On May 5th, we held a global day of action we called Climate Impacts Day to connect the dots between climate change and extreme weather. This massive, distributed event brought attention to the people and places who have been affected by extreme weather and raise awareness that climate change is a clear and present danger. We prepared a presentation that our activists can give about these connections, and we also made a powerful video compiling the stories of the hundreds of places where dots were collected. A profile of Bill McKibben in Outside Magazine featured an excellent online slideshow of these images as well.
Organizing India Beyond Coal and the Pacific Warrior Day of Action
In addition to globally coordinated actions, 350.org worked hard in 2012 to deepen our work and engagement with partners in a number of regions around the world. In India, we more fully engaged the discussion around development and climate change with an India Beyond Coal Day of Action. Led by 350 India staff in consultation with regional partners, the Day of Action created waves in the climate movement and helped debunk the myth that coal is needed to develop the country's infrastructure.
In the Pacific, our staff has consulted in depth with Islanders about the need to shift the conversation from victimization to empowerment. Pacific Islands are under threat from rising sea levels and are often referenced as one of the front lines globally for climate impacts. Together, they came upon the idea for the Warrior Day of Action, drawing on the deep warrior culture of the region to convey the message that, in the Pacific, 'We are not drowning; we are fighting!'
Running the Do the Math Tour
In November, 350.org ran a nationwide bus tour across the US with Bill McKibben — 22 cities in about as many days. This wasn’t your typical lecture. Each event was a unique and interactive experience, unlike any talk you’ve been to before. The presentation picked up where Bill McKibben’s landmark Rolling Stone article left off — and everyone who came was asked to join a growing movement that is strong enough to stand up to the fossil fuel industry.
Training New Leaders
In 2012, 350.org expanded our capacity as a resource hub for climate activists the world over. Our website, trainings, and open-source campaigns are utilized by hundreds of thousands of people, particularly youth, who are looking to spur action on climate change where they live. In addition to tools and resources, 350 continues to run and facilitate workshops for organizers around the world.
Toward the end of 2012, we started planning a major gathering of international youth leaders, many of whom are coming from impacted communities and many of whom we have been working with over the course of many years. This event, called Global Power Shift, will be held in June 2013 in Istanbul. The activists who gather at Global Power Shift will then conduct their own summits with more activists in their home countries, and then they will work together to create and launch campaigns that build the global movement to address climate change. These campaigns will be a different in each country, based on their particular needs, but we will be supporting them throughout in as many ways as we can. The goal is to develop the lasting, locally-led movement power in many more countries worldwide which can create the type of political transformation that’s required for real climate progress.
350.org works with a huge number of individuals, organizers, organizations, and funders in order to do the work that we do. The thing that connects us to all these people is the commitment to the bold vision for change that steering a course to 350ppm demands. We greatly appreciate appreciate everyone's contributions, of all types and sizes.
We could not do this work without financial contributions, so our immense thanks goes out to the thousands of supporters around the world who have made donations to strengthen our ability to work with and for the movement on climate change. Whether you saw a campaign video that moved you, participated in an event in your city, town, or village, heard Bill McKibben or another 350.org team member speak in public, or just stumbled across us googling climate change, we're grateful for your support. We're very privileged to have strong relationships with many of our funders, and fortunate that they support even our most audacious campaign plans.
While 350.org is a global organization with staff, partners, and supporters around the world, we are incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, or nongovernmental, organization in Washington, DC, USA.
Under United States Federal law, 350.org must conduct an annual independent audit of our finances. 2012's audit was conducted by Drolet & Associates, PLLC. 350.org has also elected to publish IRS tax filings, including its original 1023 Application and recent Form 990s, online.
- You can view our Fiscal Year 2012 Audit here: FY12 Audited Financial Statements
- You can view our Fiscal Year 2012 Form 990 here: FY12 Form 990
- You can view our Fiscal Year 2011 Form 990 here: FY11 Form 990
- You can view our Fiscal Year 2010 Form 990 here: FY10 Form 990*
- You can view our Fiscal Year 2009 Form 990 here: FY09 Form 990*
- You can view our 501c3 Exemption Letter and 1023 application here: 1023 Application*
*These documents are under the name 1Sky Education Fund, the former name of 350.org's legal entity. 350.org and 1Sky merged in April, 2011.
The IRS requires 350.org to declare and account for our expenses in each of the following three categories: Management and General, Program (i.e. Campaigns) and Fundraising. Here is a summary chart documenting the organization's expenses in those three categories for the fiscal year running from October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012. Scroll over the chart to see detailed amounts for each category.
Here are some comments we received from donors during our annual appeal in December 2012 showing the range of reasons people support 350.org. We hope you enjoy their spirit and generosity as much as we did.
"350.org has the combination of intellectual rigor, communication skills, organizing savvy, and committed volunteers (worldwide!) to sustain the movement needed to press our governments to change course and avoid global catastrophe."
"I am donating to 350 because change happens when people start naming the problem out loud, in more and more voices, and refuse to shut up. I learned this when I became an activist for women's reproductive rights 35 years ago, then as a member of ACT UP in the 1980s and 90s, and more recently an avid supporter of Occupy. Now we urgently need real public mobilization to address climate change. We all know what needs to be done to reverse this disaster. But these solutions will not be implemented without tremendous political demand. So please use this donation to help make our collective, peaceful, but vehement demand louder and louder, until it is met."
"The ingenuity and passion of 350.org's campaigns are without a doubt unparalleled in environmental community organizing."
"I'm a new grampa. What a huge motivation. 350.org has such an urgent message to convey. It is not just the content that they transmit that is so vital. It is the steady, respectful, and reasonable tone that consistently moves me to join forces with them."
"I helped organize the 2007 Step It Up action in Delaware and others since then, and I am still convinced that 350.org is one of the essential organizations in the efforts to preserve the planet as we know it. With the Do The Math tour, we have upped the ante on the fossil fuels industry."
"Because Bill McKibben is my hero."
"I am 85 years old and want to do everything I possibly can to leave a viable planet for those who come after me. Thank you for your work."
"There is a bewildering variety of initiatives and organizations clamoring for our support, but I know I can trust 350.org to go straight for what's really important and do a great job."
"When I tell my students about your work, after I've already told them about what's happening to our planet, they find hope. Thank you."
In addition to individual donations, 350.org's work in Fiscal Year 2012 was supported by the following foundations:
- 2032 Trust
- Agape Foundation
- Alki Fund
- Arkay Foundation
- Arntz Family Foundation
- Belvue Fund of Tides Foundation
- Binnacle Family Foundation
- Blackie Foundation
- Boehm Family Foundation
- Butler Family Fund
- Caprock Fund of Tides Foundation
- Chorus Foundation
- Clif Bar Family Foundation
- Climate Ride
- Cream Hill Foundation
- Cultures of Resistance Network Foundation
- Dolphin Foundation
- Dreaming Hand Foundation
- Flora Family Foundation
- Fullerton Family Foundation
- Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment
- HKH Foundation
- Hull Family Foundation
- The Kendeda Fund
- Linden Climate Progress Fund
- Long Island Community Foundation Kingfisher Fund
- Marisla Foundation
- Mary A. Crocker Trust
- Mattlin Foundation
- Mertz Gilmore Foundation
- Mize Family Foundation
- Namaste Foundation
- New Priorities Foundation
- New Venture Fund
- Oak Foundation
- Overbrook Foundation
- Panta Rhea Foundation
- Park Foundation
- Renaissance Charitable Foundation
- Rockefeller Brothers Fund
- Rockefeller Family Fund
- Scherman Foundation
- Schumann Media Center
- Swift Foundation
- Trubrador Foundation
- V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation
- Wallace Global Fund
- Winslow Foundation
- Working Assets/CREDO