Impact

10,000 reasons why

Gifts to the Minnesota Environmental Fund support leading nonprofit organizations working to protect, conserve, and restore Minnesota’s environment. Our members are leading the charge on all of the most important environmental issues in the state, and MEF makes it easy to support all of these causes with just one gift. Learn more about the impacts of your donations on our key issue areas below.

Clean Water

More than half of all Minnesota lakes are unsafe for swimming and fishing due to poor water quality.
Agricultural runoff from MN contributes to the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico.
75% of Minnesotans rely on groundwater for drinking.

1,000

acres of shoreline and water-adjacent land added to protected status by MEF members each year.

16

court cases won by MEF members to protect the Boundary Waters from actions that would harm its water quality.

18,000,000

gallons of rain and groundwater filtered of pollutants by water friendly landscaping projects, thanks to MEF member stewardship programs.
Clean water is essential to the health and way of life of all Minnesotans. Together we are working to ensure that future generations have access to abundant clean water for drinking, growing food, fishing, swimming, paddling, and other business and recreational uses. Your support for MEF is protecting clean water by:

  • Defending waters from pollution and toxic threats and ensuring safe and affordable drinking water for all Minnesotans through: water quality research, public education, organizing citizens to advocate for clean water, working with legislators to ensure just policy decisions, and litigation when necessary.
  • Conserving and caring for our lakes, rivers, forests and wetlands by working with public and private land owners as well as local communities and businesses to improve land and water management practices and place vulnerable areas under protected status.
  • Ensuring that impaired waters are restored and protected through the promotion of healthy water practices by training the next generations of farmers, winter road maintenance professionals, landscapers, and community water stewards  to reduce runoff from farmland, roadways, and urban areas.
MEF members leading on this issue:

  • Audubon Minnesota
  • Clean Water Fund
  • Environmental Initiative
  • Freshwater 
  • Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
  • Friends of the Mississippi River
  • Land Stewardship Project
  • Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance
  • Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
  • Minnesota Division Izaak Walton League of America
  • Mississippi Park Connection
  • North American Water Office
  • Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota
  • Sierra Club Foundation
  • Tree Trust
  • The Trust Fund for Public Land
  • Voyageurs Conservancy
  • Women’s Environmental Institute

Climate Change

Loons, along with 55 species of other birds are likely to disappear from MN by 2080 if we fail to slow carbon emissions.
Warmer winters are causing shorter and less-reliable ice cover on MN lakes, interfering with ice fishing, hockey, skating, and other winter recreation.
Minnesota emits more than 16 tons of carbon per person each year. The global average is 5 tons per person. MN set a goal to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050 to slow climate change.

1,300,000

cars from the road each year by retrofitting engines, swapping out wood stoves, and helping businesses switch to renewable energy.

15

MN coal plants retired thanks to negotiations by MEF members.

36

factory farms stopped from being built in MN communities by MEF members. Factory farms are major emitters of greenhouse gases.
As average global temperatures rise, cold places like Minnesota are warming fastest, and climate change is already having impacts on our lakes and water quality, outdoor recreation, flooding events, agriculture,  wildlife, and human health.  Together we are working to protect Minnesota’s environment from the harmful effects of climate change. Your donations are supporting this work by:

  • Advocating for  energy efficiency and emissions standards, reducing hazardous emissions from coal-fired power plants,  and promoting transitions to renewable energy through policy and law.
  • Helping Minnesota citizens, businesses, and government entities transition to renewable and climate-friendly technologies and practices, including cleaner  heating and energy options, climate-friendly agricultural practices, and supporting policies and infrastructure for cycling and electric vehicles.
  • Organizing Minnesotans to engage in solutions to climate change and building climate literacy among diverse groups including  youth,  farmers, local government officials, business and community leaders, and policy makers, among others.
MEF members leading on this issue:

  • Audubon Minnesota
  • Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota
  • Clean Water Fund
  • Environmental Initiative
  • Izaak Walton League of America, MN Division
  • Land Stewardship Project
  • Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
  • North American Water Office
  • Sierra Club Foundation
  • Tree Trust

 

Environmental Justice

People of color are exposed to 40% more air pollution than white people.
Minnesota is in the top 15 states in the US with the largest gap in pollution exposure between people of color and whites.
in the Twin Cities, landfills, leak sites, petroleum-contaminated areas, industrial plants, and other hazardous waste sites are more often located in low-income communities with significant populations of color.

MEF members helped
close a metal processing plant
in North Minneapolis that was falsifying pollution records to evade standards enforcement.

MEF members
 documented elevated mercury levels & planted medicinal plants to counter mercury poisoning
in White Earth Nation communities.

MEF members are
fighting a plan to bring 1,000 public works vehicles/day
to a South Minneapolis neighborhood already over-burdened with industrial pollution; and advocating for a community-led plan for an urban farm and market on the site.

Minnesotans of color and low-income Minnesotans are disproportionately affected by toxic environmental exposures from industrial operating and dump sites, highway placement and traffic pollution, food deserts, and other sources of environmental health hazards. These communities also bear the brunt of the negative impacts of climate change. The environmental justice movement works to address these disparities and advance environmental equity. Your donations are supporting environmental justice by:

  • documenting cumulative impacts of traffic, lead exposure, and industrial pollution on the health of affected communities through toxic site mapping and health impact surveys; pursuing remediation and pollution control enforcement in these areas; and representing communities in court when necessary.
  • partnering with indigenous tribes on the impact of mining on wild rice and tribal water resources, and mercury contamination of tribal fish stock; representing them in court; planting natural medicines which counter the effects of toxic exposures.
  • supporting the organizing of communities affected by development along the Mississippi river and industrial pollution in low-income urban neighborhoods; amplifying their voices and advocating for community needs and desires.
  • organizing for racial justice in rural Minnesota through annual racial justice leadership cohorts and integrating racial justice into work on sustainable agriculture and rural development.
MEF members leading on this issue:

  • Friends of the Mississippi River
  • Land Stewardship Project
  • Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
  • North American Water Office
  • Women’s Environmental Institute

 

Protecting Wildlife & Wild Places

there are 84 endangered and threatened species in Minnesota, and an additional 125 species of concern.
iconic Minnesota places like the Boundary Waters, Lake Superior, and the Mississippi River are under threat by industrial proposals, development, agricultural runoff, and other sources of pollution.

210,000

acres of land added to parks, trusts, and preserves by MEF members.

135,000

trees and shrubs planted along the Mississippi River to improve water quality and habitat for birds.

330,000

acres of Minnesota prairie and river valley land under restoration in MEF member projects.
When you give to the Minnesota Environmental Fund, you are preserving natural places for wildlife and people.  Our members ensure Minnesota’s special outdoor places from the Boundary Waters and Missisippi to the Great Plains and river bluffs  are protected for future generations. Your donations are preserving natural places and wildlife by:

  • Protecting cherished lands and waters by working with private and public land owners, acquiring land to add to parks and protected areas, and ensuring industrial projects and new development prioritize keeping Minnesota’s special outdoor places pristine,  ensuring long-term ecological and human health, and putting community desires first.
  • Caring for and restoring Minnesota’s prairies, wetlands, forests, and shores by removing invasive species and debris, planting trees, pollinator-friendly flowers, and other native plants, and restoring habitat for critical species.
  • Defending Minnesota’s clean water, public lands, and wildlife through research and advocating for environmental policies built on scientific foundations.
MEF members leading on this issue:

  • Audubon Minnesota
  • Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
  • Friends of the Mississippi River
  • Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance
  • Land Stewardship Project
  • Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy
  • Mississippi Park Connection
  • Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota
  • Sierra Club Foundation
  • Tree Trust
  • The Trust for Public Land
  • Voyageurs Conservancy

Access to the Outdoors

time spent in nature can reduce kids’ stress levels by up to 28 percent.
fees, transportation and equipment costs, racism, sexism, ableism, and an oft-exclusive outdoor culture present barriers to accessing outdoor experiences for many Minnesotans.
70% of Minnesotans report that outdoor activity is a “very important” part of their life.

54,000

youth and adults engaged each year in environmental education, outdoor excursions, and volunteer experiences by MEF members.

#1/#3

Minneapolis / St. Paul's respective rankings in nationwide assessments of city park systems.

775,000

people visit Voyageurs National Park, the Boundary Waters, and/or the Mississippi National River & Recreation Area each year.
When you give to the Minnesota Environmental Fund, you are helping Minnesotans connect with our stunning outdoor resources. Your gifts support programs that create the necessary bridge for all Minnesotans to benefit from time spent in nature, particularly groups who have been historically marginalized by the environmental movement and culture of outdoor recreation. Your donations are working to ensure all Minnesotans can access the benefits of the outdoors by:

  • Protecting, improving, and expanding our world-class system of parks, trails, and preserves.
  • Providing the bridge to allow people of all backgrounds, incomes, and abilities to get outdoors with confidence through organized outings, access to equipment, and outdoor skills training.
  • Building a community of environmental stewards through volunteer coordination that focuses on park and trail maintenance and cleanup and restoration of natural areas.
  • Ensuring all Minnesota youth enjoy outdoor experiences and consider careers in environmental sciences through field trips, environmental education, and job training programs conducted in partnership with Minnesota schools.
MEF members leading on this issue:

  • Audubon Minnesota
  • Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota
  • Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
  • Friends of the Mississippi River
  • Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance
  • Mississippi Park Connection
  • Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota
  • Sierra Club Foundation
  • Tree Trust
  • The Trust for Public Land
  • Voyageurs Conservancy
  • Wilderness Inquiry

Healthy Food & Farming

agriculture is the largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota.
in some areas of MN, fewer than 1 in 5 streams and rivers are safe for swimming due to pollution from agricultural runoff.
51% of Minnesota’s total land area is occupied by agriculture.

1200

farmers trained in soil health and soil building techniques by MEF members to protect water and stabilize climate change.

600

new farmers helped get a successful start with MEF members' practical approach to sustainable farming and organic agriculture.

36

factory farms stopped from being built in MN communities by MEF members.
When you donate to the Minnesota Environmental Fund, you are ensuring that people in Minnesota can eat healthy food grown locally, now and for future generations. Together we can advocate for ecologically-sound farming practices, support small-scale farmers and increase access to local and sustainably-produced food for all Minnesotans. Your donation supports healthy food and sustainable farms by:

  • Training new farmers in sustainable agriculture and organic farming through workshops, classes, mentorships and access to land.
  • Building community support for local food and farmers by using urban organic food sites to create entrepreneurial opportunities and living wage jobs.
  • Preserving agricultural traditions by promoting the nutritional and medicinal benefits of wild foods and fruits.
  • Promoting healthy food access through urban farming projects, farmers markets, farmer-eater exchanges, and classes on growing and preserving your own food.
  • Advancing policy to protect farmers and natural resources through research of alternative farming site and advocacy against frac sand mining and large-scale factory farms.
MEF members leading on this issue:

  • Clean Water Fund
  • Environmental Initiative
  • Friends of the Mississippi River
  • Land Stewardship Project
  • North American Water Office
  • The Trust for Public Land
  • Women’s Environmental Institute

When you support the Minnesota Environmental Fund, you join a community of people working together to protect, conserve, and restore Minnesota’s environment.  Join us today in protecting Minnesota’s beauty for future generations.