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
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More Info

EIN 23-7064937
650-962-9876
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I joined Acterra relatively recently but have been very impressed with the dedication of the staff, volunteers, members and supporters of the organization.

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Rating: 5 stars  

This extract from the ED's report tells it all:

During the past year, our Stewardship Program engaged over 6,000 volunteers, the majority young people, in habitat restoration projects up and down the Peninsula. They repaired creek banks, monitored water quality, removed invasive vegetation, installed native plants and trees, and in the process, learned about our native ecosystem and the importance of improving its health.

Our Green@Home program’s skilled volunteers helped hundreds of homeowners and renters make their homes much more energy efficient. Their collective efforts prevented nearly 3 million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere while saving each resident hundreds of dollars and, even more importantly, making them more energy conscious.

In short, Acterra’s programs make a real difference, and it is critical that they do so! Climate change is already upon us, and it is crucial that all of us rapidly adopt environmentally sound behaviors. As a regional organization, we have consciously chosen to play a leadership role addressing climate change right here in Silicon Valley. Our hope is that what we do here will serve as a positive model for people in other regions to emulate.

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1 previous review
Rating: 4 stars  

Acterra came to our home and conducted a home energy audit. They gave us some great suggestions to reduce our energy usage. Inspected and adjusted our refrigerator and furnace settings. They also came armed with goodies such as low flow adapters for the faucets, CFL's and smart power strips. Not only that, they motivated us to do a better job conserving energy which were immediately reflected in lower utility bills. Thank you Acterra.

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

As a recipient of the Green @Home program i found the volunteer house call service to be excellent in getting my wife and I focussed on what we needed to better Green our Home. They not only told us what to do but led the way in spending several hours getting us started. Thank you Acterra.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

What drew me to Acterra originally was the organization's focus on the hard work of behavior change. Working with people, house by house, neighborhood by neighborhood, town by town, to enable more sustainable living, is the "deep work" that drives any social movement toward a tipping point. It's much harder than education or advocacy. I've been a board member for about six months, and am tremendously impressed by the hard work of the staff, the transparency of process, the willingness to adapt strategically to a changing (economic and political) environment, and the passion with which all involved fulfill their commitments to the organization and to being good stewards of the environment.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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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.

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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.

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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

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Rating: 5 stars  

17 people found this review helpful

What a fabulous mix of relevant, current programs focussed on SOLUTIONS! What can each of us do in our local community to achieve sustainability? Leadership development, Stewardship of our natural resources in open space and parks, awards for for local businesses doing the right thing, and of course ways each of us can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions!!!

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

my daily life.

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

The great people associated with it.

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

dedicated, fun, inspiring!

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

change the world, from the grassroots up!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-4-01

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