How to support small environmental non-profits hit hard by COVID

A colorful graphic arranged around the word "Mosaic"

Donate to Mosaic for grants supporting environmental protection and justice projects

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and economy-wide fallout, non-profits are struggling. In one survey, close to three-quarters of non-profits reported a drop in revenue amid the pandemic and its economic ripples. Non-profits have been forced to change the way they work, too, with 82 percent of respondents reporting that most staff were working from home and 82 percent reportedly “digitalizing” some or all of their programs. While pandemic-era work practices have been hailed as proof of the potential of teleworking more broadly, technological and infrastructure limitations mean not all groups are equally able to evolve.   

We’re proud to support Mosaic and MATCH donations up to $30,000 through the program

That’s where Mosaic, an initiative to support and amplify environmental non-profits, comes in. A joint project of national environmental and social justice non-profits, Mosaic aims to share resources that help organizations improve their communications, training, advocacy tools and more—their movement-wide “infrastructure.” 

We’re proud to support Mosaic and MATCH donations up to $30,000 through the program.. 

Donate through Mosaic and support grassroots organizations across the country—TWS will MATCH up to $30,000

Fairly early in the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S., Mosaic surveyed environmental protection and environmental justice non-profits about their greatest needs. Groups highlighted a lack of technology and training to help them transition to a remote work-dominant status quo, so Mosaic solicited grant proposals to help organizations adapt. In the months that followed, Mosaic has awarded $1.4 million in rapid-response grants to more than 160 groups, primarily those focused on environmental protection and justice. 

A few grant recipient success stories: 

Frontera Land Alliance (Texas) 

The Frontera Land Alliance works to protect public lands in and around El Paso, including engineering land-conservation easements. The group also connects people in the community with the public lands practically in their backyard, from Rio Bosque Wetlands Park to the Frontera Wakeem/Teschner Nature Preserve. With the help of a Mosaic grant, Frontera Land Alliance has moved much of its outreach work, which includes publishing reports and educational curricula, online—what Executive Director Janae Field calls “irreplaceable support.”  

Green Door Initiative (Michigan)

The Detroit-based environmental justice organization Green Door Initiative works on various initiatives around Michigan, including fighting against a hazardous solid-waste incinerator and industrial facilities that dump pollution into the Detroit River. The group trains formerly imprisoned people in disaster response and hazardous waste removal, providing a model for investing in communities and improving local environmental conditions. Of COVID-19 challenges, President and CEO Donele Wilkins has said that the disproportionate impact of the disease on communities of color makes it especially pressing not to “miss a step” in adapting the Green Door Initiative’s work, and Mosaic has been crucial in meeting that need: “The support that we have received in the form of technological tools, training and other resources helps to soften the transitional blow and has been essential in the strengthening of our infrastructure.” 

EcoLatinos (Maryland) 

EcoLatinos works to engage and educate communities in the Chesapeake Bay and Mid-Atlantic Region on a wide range of activities including trail clean-ups, tree-planting events and helping homeowners pursue installation of stormwater mitigation systems and other green infrastructure. One key project is the annual Festival del Rio Anacostia, a celebration connecting Latino residents with the Anacostia River and organizations promoting conservation within the river’s watershed. A Mosaic grant helped EcoLatinos convert Festival del Rio Anacostia into an online experience, including virtual tours of the river. Work is underway to convert on-site environmental programs into bilingual online activities. According to CEO Ruby Stemmle, “through these programs we are not only sharing information about conservation, but also helping our community learn to use these important virtual tools.”

Mosaic opens new opportunities

Almost by their very nature, cause-based non-profit organizations are engaged in a never-ending uphill climb. Groups often face a “nonprofit starvation cycle" that sees unrealistic operating-cost expectations perpetuate themselves incessantly. These non-profits are expected to answer to a higher calling, driven by pursuit of (often hard-to-quantify) goals even as their reliance on the generosity of funders and donors keeps the scope of their work--and the pace of their adaptation to new challenges—tightly constrained. This is especially true for small and local non-profits, and magnified like never before in the age of COVID-19.  

But those challenges also mean opportunity. Mosaic is an exciting new tool offering grassroots environmental protection and environmental justice groups a way to grow their influence and build on one another’s work at a time when communal strength and solidarity is especially important. We hope you’ll consider supporting this important initiative and giving back. 

Donate to environmental groups through Mosaic