ACTERRA: Action for a Healthy Planet

Rating: 4.95 stars   77 reviews

Issues: Environment, Water

Location: 3921 E Bayshore Rd Palo Alto CA 94303 USA

Mission: Acterra brings people together to create local solutions for a healthy planet
Target demographics: improving the environment
Direct beneficiaries per year: over 6,000 volunteers getting engaged in hands-on and solutions oriented opportunities. Since they were created our programs prevented 2,800,000 lbs of CO2 from entering the atmosphere and over 9,900,000 gallons of water from being wasted.
Geographic areas served: Bay Area
Programs: Green@Home, which helps communities take action to reduce global warming by making their homes more energy efficient. Green@Home trains volunteers, provides home energy audits and creates awareness of sustainable living practices. The Stewardship Program, which provides opportunities for individuals and groups to learn about ecology, have fun, and participate in restoration work. The program is currently restoring sites throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo County. Plants for the restoration work are grown at our own native plant nursery. The Business Environmental Awards recognizes and celebrates Bay Area corporate environmental leaders. Any private or public business entity, division or facility located in Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara or Santa Cruz County is eligible to apply. Non-profit organizations are eligible if environmental work is not their central mission.
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
Write a Review

More Info

EIN 23-7064937
650-962-9876
Invite people to share their experience with this nonprofit!

Promote This Nonprofit

GreatNonprofits badges allow you to raise awareness of your favorite nonprofits on your own web sites!

Review this charity on
GreatNonprofits

Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

Fantastic organization. Their Green@Home home energy audit was fantastic for my family- extremely professional engagement, easy and powerful opportunities for us to reduce our footprint on the earth and save money. We've also done several Acterra community service days at their open space preserves-- these were fantastic opportunities for my kids to learn about our local ecosystem and invasive species.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Green@Home home energy audit and stewardship programs for my kids

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Improve their marketing for broader community awareness and participation.

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

20 people found this review helpful

Founded on the original Earth Day, Acterra has led with innovative local solutions to the toughest environmental challenges for two generations. Its first wave of successes created many of the most successful models of land restoration and sustainable business practices (recycling, EH&S, etc), which have been imported and adapted by many regions across the country. Its new wave of programs is focused on the hardest issue of our time: social engineering at the local level to accomplish rapid, meaningful carbon reductions across broad communities through natural social channels (churches, schools, neighborhoods, workplaces) and behavioral models (peer support, pressure, incremental commitment, etc). Its Green@Home, ActerraGreen, and related educational programs have proven their effectiveness and cost-effectiveness and are now being ramped up by many of the cities and organizations in the Bay Area!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Hundreds of homes that have undergone the free energy audit with immediate energy (and $) savings. In a dozen schools that have participated in the online community tools to reduce carbon footprints with tremendous results. In the multiple open space preserves and watersheds that have benefited from Acterra's innovative volunteer-based restoration.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Aggressively expand its fundraising and awareness efforts to get the word out and the funding in.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The constant sense of empowerment, that each of us is part of the solution. That each of us can make a real difference. That community matters. And "if it ain't fun, it don't get done!"

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Professional, caring, fun. They often have real technical and/or scientific skills that they bring to the restoration, education, or carbon reduction activities.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Scale its current efforts to directly enable 10,000 people to reduce their carbon footprint by 10% to 100,000 people. This, in turn, would be a dramatic, region-wide success model that could be adapted and exported to other regions quickly and cheaply.

Ways to make it better...

Acterra had more funding and volunteers to scale its carbon reduction programs more aggressively. They're proven, and they're cost-effective.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Inadequate funding to scale the carbon reduction programs as quickly as our civilization needs them.

One thing I'd also say is that...

The leadership is outstanding and the financial management is incredibly tight (88% of all funds go to shovel-ready operating programs).

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I've volunteered with Acterr's Green@home program for over two years now. From day 1 of the training I was very impressed with how much information we were being taught and how thorough the training was. The "hands on" experience learning tasks that we'd have to perform for residents was invaluable. (Especially the tricks for remembering which way plumbers tape goes on a low-flow aerator).

I really enjoy doing green@home "housecalls" for our local residents who are eager to learn ways to reduce their water, energy usage and carbon footprint. They are usually very appreciative of our efforts which makes for a very satisfying volunteer experience. And it warms my soul knowing I've helped make one more residence a little greener!

Everyone I've met affiliated with the organization and their supporters are warm, friendly and genuinely concerned for the environment. Like-minded individuals I want to be around!!!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Having my own Green@home "housecall" and reducing our energy and water usage in a rental!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Get them an "IT" person so that they could be even more effective with their valuable time.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Learned new skills, meet new friends, and it seems that every housecall we learn something new, even from the residents!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Acterra provides our local community with hands-on skills and ways to change their personal habits to decrease their environmental footprint. Whether through carbon reduction programs or stewardship work, corporate awards, leadership training or fostering new non-profits, Acterra offers everyone a way to get and stay involved!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My home by reducing my energy use, and in my yard by learning about native plants and reducing my water use.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help them raise more money to pay their staff a decent salary.

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

17 people found this review helpful

I participated in ACTerraGreen, Acterra's program for community efforts to fight Global Warming. The program was innovative and heard the voices of our school community. It felt fantastic to connect with others in trying to change our habits, and see the collective impact we could have on the planet. In an era of increasing "doomsday" messages where our children face the grim reality, this feeling of empowerment and action at the community level was amazing.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

in our community's level of awareness on how each of our action contributes to fighting climate change.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the connections it fostered among the participants, and the ongoing support in changing the world one action at a time.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

dedicated and passionate - not judgemental and recognizing that change is a process, which is key for an environmental organization wishing to support change.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Launch community-based programs all over the world - it would be so powerful to see how multiple communities working on their own campaigns can aggregate their impact and move the needle on climate change.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007-5-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

18 people found this review helpful

Acterra organized Palo Alto's Solar Homes Tour and did an excellent job with the event. They are closely integrated with our community with many programs to improve our local environment. I appreciate their focus on education.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Their dedication to the details of running a special event.

Ways to make it better...

They had more staff to do even more outreach!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007-9-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

20 people found this review helpful

The passion and dedication of the folks who work at and volunteer for Acterra is amazing and the programs are well thought out and make use of proven behavior changing techniques. Their Be the Change leadership program was fantastic, and it has been a great experience to train with the Green@Home project and do some housecalls to improve energy efficiency and awareness.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

improving energy efficiency in homes and training environmental leaders.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

all the wonderful passionate super smart people I've met.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

very smart and very dedicated and inspiring.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

protect a lot of open space, work to create green collar jobs improving energy efficiency in buildings.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

18 people found this review helpful

Acterra is beautifying one of our bike paths near the historic El Palo Alto. They do a great job planting natives and keeping the weeds there at bay.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the beautiful native garden at El Palo Alto.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Learning about the native plants especially the overlooked grasses.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Arnie Thompson

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

save water in our thirsty chaparral community, by showing everyone how to xeriscape with native plants instead of watering lawns.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

20 people found this review helpful

High points for really acting locally, engaging schools and homeowners in work that can make a difference. The energy audit program which should lead to weatherizing and insulating projects is one of the single most important things an average citizen can do to save energy.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Pearson-Arastradero Preserve

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Good communication and outreach into large corporate businesses that can influence Bay Area culture

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Very professional and very focussed, especially a few individuals who are pursuing 'encore' careers.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Influence big infrastructure projects like passive solar construction and urban planning around transit centers

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

17 people found this review helpful

I recently became aware of a new program of Acterra's named ACTerra Green. As part of the effort to reduce our carbon footprint, Acterra is applying the latest learning in social marketing to motivate changes in behavior. ACTerra Green works at the community level, a school, church or workplace, and gives the entire community a challenge to reduce their energy usage. The individual effort is magnified by the power of the group, so each individual begins to believe they are really making a difference. Bravo Acterra!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Motivating individuals and groups to make the changes necessary to reduce their carbon footprint.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

keep up the great work.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

knowing I'm helping make a difference for something I really care about.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Really smart, imaginative thinkers.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Bring ACTerra Green to every community in the country.

Ways to make it better...

Acterra had more money to do more.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

money, money and money.

One thing I'd also say is that...

ACTerra should continue to invest in marketing its great track record and reputation.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

15 people found this review helpful

People may say that they wish to become involved locally but don't know where to begin. The Acterra EcoCalendar, a frequent listing of local environmental events ranging from movies and lectures to vigorous physical activities, provides a means for people of all ages and capabilities to participate in local environmental improvement. This is an easy way to discover how you may get involved in a way that suits you best. Find the Acterra EcoCalendar at http://www.acterra.org/calendar

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

bringing people out into the world of environmental action.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

Was this review helpful?