Sierra Club Foundation

This is the current logo of the Sierra Club. (link)


Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2016):

Revenue: $75,709,930
Expenses: $65,240,241
Assets: $143,985,321

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The Sierra Club Foundation is the education and fundraising arm of the Sierra Club. The organization provides fundraising support for the Sierra Club and other environmentalist organizations. The organization supports the environmental movement by providing grants to various campaigns.

Among the campaigns the foundation supports are a campaign to end the use of coal for generating electricity.1 Coal is the single-largest source of electricity in the United States and ending its use would put tens of thousands out of work. The foundation also supports efforts to end the use of other fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas.2 Instead, the foundation supports switching to less-efficient and less-reliable sources of energy such as wind and solar.

The foundation has also found itself involved in the land rights fights in some parts of the country. The foundation supports placing more and more lands under the control of the government either as “wilderness areas” or national or state parks.3 Many landowners, especially in the West, view these as infringing upon their property rights.


The foundation works to spread the word on environmental issues of importance to the Sierra Club. It works and trains like minded activists to promote their issue viewpoints.

It is also the primary fundraising arm of the Sierra Club. The group works to solicit donations from corporations, individuals, and foundations in order to fund their issues. It also awards grants to various environmental campaigns such as “Beyond Coal”, “Beyond Nuclear”, and working to protect so-called “wilderness areas” and public lands.


In 2015, the foundation raised $87 million and spent $63 million.4 Among those who have donated money to the foundation are the Bush Foundation (not related to either former U.S. President), which has donated $525,000 to study various environmental issues.5 The Rockefeller Brothers Fund also awarded nearly $400,000 to work on various projects in 2016.6

In 2014, the Sierra Club Foundation and its parent organization were accused of violating tax laws. The Energy and Environment Legal Institute accused them of not paying taxes on unrelated business income and giving an impermissible benefit to private interests. They were accused of sending volunteers to sell solar panels from selected local companies in exchange for donations from those companies.7

Anti-Coal Work

The single-largest campaign the foundation funds is the “Beyond Coal” campaign. The goal of the campaign is the end the use of coal for generating electricity in the United States. As of 2015, the “Beyond Coal” campaign was responsible for killing a coal-fired power plant every 10 days.8 The foundation funded armies of lawyers and sent them to kill coal power plants on the local and county level. It also formed anti-coal coalitions with various business interests and local activists.

The coal industry fought back suggesting that the foundation and its allies have no realistic back-up plan for coal. The industry points out that the foundation and its parent organization also oppose nuclear and natural gas. Natural gas is the fastest growing source of electric power generation in the U.S.9

Opposition to Nuclear Energy

As recently as June 2023, the Sierra Club website stated that nuclear power is “a uniquely dangerous energy technology for humanity” and that the “Sierra Club remains unequivocally opposed to nuclear energy.” The statement invited opponents of nuclear energy to join the Sierra Club’s Nuclear Free Campaign Grassroots Network, and redirected to a website for the Network. 10 11

Nuclear power plants produce no carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gas emissions, and as of 2021 accounted for 20 percent of American electricity production—the largest source of zero carbon electricity in the United States. 12 An October 2018 proposal from The Nature Conservancy noted that zero-carbon nuclear plants produced 7.8 percent of total world energy output and recommended reducing carbon emissions by increasing nuclear capacity to 33 percent of total world energy output. 13“ The Science of Sustainability.” The Nature Conservancy. October 13, 2018. Accessed August 16, 2021. [/note


  1. Grunwald, Michael. 2015. “Inside The War On Coal”. The Agenda.
  2. “Sierra Club: Thy Name Is Hypocrisy (Natural Gas For And Against) – Master Resource”. 2013. Master Resource. Accessed July 2 2017.
  3. “Sierra Club Is Socialist”. 1998. Deseretnews.Com. Accessed July 2 2017.
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  5.   “Sierra Club Foundation Grants”. 2017. .
  6. “Sierra Club Foundation”. 2016. Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Accessed June 26 2017.
  7. Watts, Anthony. 2014. “Sierra Club And Sierra Club Foundation Accused Of Tax Law Violations”. Watts Up With That?. Accessed June 26 2017. .
  8. Grunwald, Michael. 2015. “Inside The War On Coal”. The Agenda.
  9. Grunwald, Michael. 2015. “Inside The War On Coal”. The Agenda.
  10. “Nuclear Free Future.” Sierra Club. Accessed June 11, 2023.
  11. “Sierra Club Grassroots Network: Nuclear Free Campaign.” Sierra Club. Accessed June 11, 2023.*4p80by*_ga*MzY5NjI4NzMxLjE2ODYyNTY3ODA.*_ga_41DQ5KQCWV*MTY4NjU5MTQ4OC4yLjEuMTY4NjU5MTY2Mi4wLjAuMA
  12. “Nuclear explained.” U.S. Energy Information Administration. Accessed August 16, 2021.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Chas Jewett
    Former Associate Regional Representative
  2. Dan Chu
    Executive Director
  3. Guy Saperstein
    Former President
  4. Carl Pope
    Former Executive Director (Sierra Club)

Child Organizations

  1. Climate Parents (Non-profit)

Donor Organizations

  1. Abell Foundation (Non-profit)
  2. Annenberg Foundation (Non-profit)
  3. As You Sow (Non-profit)
  4. Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust (Non-profit)
  5. Bloomberg Family Foundation (Bloomberg Philanthropies) (Non-profit)
  6. Bullitt Foundation (Non-profit)
  7. Campion Foundation (Non-profit)
  8. Citizen Engagement Lab (CEL) Education Fund (Non-profit)
  9. Craigslist Charitable Fund (Non-profit)
  10. Crankstart Foundation (Non-profit)
  11. Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation (Non-profit)
  12. David and Lucile Packard Foundation (Non-profit)
  13. David Rockefeller Fund (Non-profit)
  14. Energy Foundation (Non-profit)
  15. Foundation for the Carolinas (FFTC) (Non-profit)
  16. Grove Foundation (Non-profit)
  17. John Merck Fund (Non-profit)
  18. JPB Foundation (Non-profit)
  19. Kendeda Fund (Non-profit)
  20. Kresge Foundation (Non-profit)
  21. Marisla Foundation (Non-profit)
  22. Morningstar Foundation (Non-profit)
  23. Musk Foundation (Non-profit)
  24. National Wildlife Federation (Non-profit)
  25. NEO Philanthropy (Non-profit)
  26. New-Land Foundation (Non-profit)
  27. New Venture Fund (NVF) (Non-profit)
  28. NextGen Climate Action (Non-profit)
  29. Padosi Foundation (Non-profit)
  30. Partnership Project (Non-profit)
  31. Patagonia Org (Non-profit)
  32. Patrick J. McGovern Foundation (Non-profit)
  33. Quitiplas Foundation (Non-profit)
  34. Robertson Foundation (Non-profit)
  35. Rockefeller Brothers Fund (Non-profit)
  36. San Francisco Foundation (Non-profit)
  37. Sandler Foundation (Non-profit)
  38. Schmidt Family Foundation (Non-profit)
  39. Sea Change Foundation (Non-profit)
  40. Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) (Non-profit)
  41. Singing Field Foundation (Non-profit)
  42. Sixteen Thirty Fund (1630 Fund) (Non-profit)
  43. Skoll Global Threats Fund (Non-profit)
  44. Someland Foundation (Non-profit)
  45. Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation (Non-profit)
  46. Susie Tompkins Buell Foundation (Non-profit)
  47. Warsh Mott Legacy (Non-profit)
  48. WestWind Foundation (Non-profit)
  49. Wilburforce Foundation (Non-profit)
  50. William B. Wiener Jr. Foundation (Non-profit)
  51. William Penn Foundation (Non-profit)
  52. Wyss Foundation (Non-profit)
  53. Yellow Chair Foundation (Non-profit)

Supported Movements

  1. Strike With Us
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: June 1, 1962

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Dec Form 990 $75,709,930 $65,240,241 $143,985,321 $18,698,533 N $71,884,506 $0 $1,033,190 $365,530
    2015 Dec Form 990 $90,844,476 $63,424,535 $131,703,574 $18,474,563 N $87,863,343 $0 $1,153,324 $357,190 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $62,137,742 $59,473,151 $108,668,865 $19,585,356 Y $58,370,413 $0 $1,003,018 $326,451 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $58,503,816 $57,443,349 $106,287,022 $20,431,886 N $55,361,340 $0 $1,080,580 $304,070 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $47,618,045 $56,641,344 $98,974,748 $19,351,687 N $45,661,181 $0 $1,474,482 $289,626 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $47,163,599 $52,044,136 $101,873,803 $19,251,414 Y $45,000,463 $0 $1,695,879 $284,058 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Sierra Club Foundation

    2101 WEBSTER ST STE 750
    OAKLAND, CA 94612-3021