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Our Climate Smart Commitment: 2019 Portfolio

We're happy to present our 2019 portfolio of Climate Smart Commitment grant recipients. By supporting these organizations with a "self-imposed carbon tax" totaling $1 million, our goal is to help mitigate the carbon emissions of the 30,000 people we took on Rick Steves tours in 2019 as we work to make our business climate smart.

While there are many fine organizations doing effective work to fight climate change, these are the 11 organizations that best fit our climate-smart goals: 1) advocating in Congress for US government policies to fight climate change and 2) helping farming communities in the developing world employ climate-smart agriculture and forestry techniques to mitigate their contribution to climate change.

These short summaries explain why we chose each organization. We've included links to their websites for more information, so that independent travelers inspired by our initiative can contribute individually. Experts say that a donation of $30 mitigates the carbon produced by one round-trip US–Europe flight.

Each year, we'll repeat our "self-imposed carbon tax" donation. We'll also review and reassess our recipient list. We welcome suggestions of organizations that fit our parameters.

Our 2019 Grant Recipients

Bread for the World

Donation: $200,000
Bread for the World (Bread) is an advocacy organization working to end hunger at home and abroad. Our donation will allow Bread to scale up their advocacy and urge members of Congress to work with other nations (for example in the Paris Climate Accords) to fight climate change. Bread will raise awareness in our government about how climate change makes more people hungry and thus makes our world less stable. Bread will fight to protect programs that help low-income countries confront climate change. Read more

Project Concern International

Donation: $150,000
Project Concern International (PCI) provides communities in the developing world with the tools to lift themselves out of poverty and contribute less to climate change. Our donation will allow PCI to supply carbon-efficient cookstoves in Guatemala, begin reforestation efforts, improve the region's food security, and give local women the tools to ensure the project’s long-term success. Read more

Agros International

Donation: $150,000
Agros International works to break the cycle of poverty for farming families in rural Latin America. Our donation will enable Agros to develop an agribusiness center in Nicaragua that will help hundreds of farmers reduce their water and chemical use, improve soil conditions, help with the reforestation effort, protect water recharge zones, and stabilize their incomes. Read more

ELCA World Hunger

Donation: $100,000
ELCA World Hunger works with a variety of partners overseas to support smallholder farms and their communities. Our donation will allow ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) to introduce more sustainable farming practices, improve water availability, provide carbon-efficient cookstoves, reduce deforestation, and increase local food security in more than 60 countries. Read more

Zeitz Foundation

Donation: $100,000
The Zeitz Foundation (ZF) develops and implements ecologically responsible projects in the Greater Segera Region of Kenya. Our donation will allow ZF to build a tree nursery, create an arborist vocational training program for women, start the process of reforesting one million trees, and provide an alternative income stream to livestock, which will reduce overgrazing and deforestation. Read more

Climate Smart grant recipient Rainforest Alliance

Rainforest Alliance

Donation: $50,000
The Rainforest Alliance (RA) works with rural communities in over 60 countries to conserve forests and support sustainable livelihoods. Our donation will allow RA to expand their reforestation program in Ghana by making farmers the lead partners in the reforestation and management of their lands. Read more

Citizens' Climate Education

Donation: $50,000
Citizens' Climate Education (CCE) is an advocacy organization that educates policymakers and the public about smart solutions to climate change. Our donation will​ strengthen their nationwide coalition of climate advocates and create a powerful counterweight to paid lobbyists advocating for the fossil fuel industry. Read more

Growing Hope Globally

Donation: $50,000
Growing Hope Globally (Growing Hope) works with farmers and community groups in the US to fight hunger in developing countries. Our donation will help Growing Hope implement climate-smart farming techniques and sanitation practices in northwestern Honduras. Read more

Sustainable Harvest International

Donation: $50,000
Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) partners with smallholder farming families to improve their well-being through climate-smart farming. Our donation will allow SHI to help 50 farming families in Central America adopt agro-forestry, eliminate the deforestation caused by slash-and-burn farming, replace chemicals with organic inputs, and improve their food security. Read more

Rainforest Action Network

Donation: $50,000
Rainforest Action Network (RAN) works to preserve forests, protect the climate, and uphold human rights by challenging corporate power and systemic injustice. Our donation will help protect the Leuser Ecosystem of Sumatra, Indonesia, from the negative effects of the illegal expansion of pulpwood and palm oil plantations. Read more

Food 4 Farmers

Donation: $50,000
Food 4 Farmers (F4F) partners with coffee-farming families in Latin America to increase food security. Our donation will allow F4F to teach climate-smart practices to these families, strengthen local food systems, reduce deforestation, and stabilize incomes. Read more