Blacksmith Institute, Inc.

Rating: 5 stars   14 reviews

Issues: Environment, Health, International

Location: 2014 Fifth Avenue New York NY 10035 USA

Mission: The mission of the Blacksmith Institute is to ensure that we provide a clean and hospitable planet to future generations. We achieve this by providing strategic, technical and financial support to local social entrepreneurs and their organizations that are committed to solving specific, pollution-related environmental problems in their communities.
2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I am concerned about industrial and toxic pollution in India. Blacksmith Institute is the only NGO with both expertise in remediation and international connections that is working on this issue. I particularly like the fact that Blacksmith works at all levels: it starts with a community that is affected with, say, hexavalent chromium resulting from tannery waste, and gets them organized. It works with the state pollution control board to ensure the toxic is safely removed. It works at the national level to assist the government in having appropriate policies in place. AND, it has the ear of multilateral institutions like the World Bank that have the wherewithal to fund large-scale pollution clean up. Blacksmith Institute is a relatively small organization that punches well above its weight.

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Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

I have come to know some of the people at Blacksmith Institute over the past year as a result of working with another "helping others" organization. I have found the Blacksmith Institute team to be compassionate and totally dedicated to their effort. That is the real issue here. I have learned that Blacksmith Institute has identified a world wide problem and has developed an efficient program to remediate pollution sites that are killing children. It seems that this major issue has not reached the press as much as other health issues and therefore does not receive the attention that it deserves. It is also an issues that is typically thousands of miles away so we do not relate to it as well. Blacksmith Institute does a very good job of identifying polluted sites, and then remediating them efficiently. This is why I have chosen to support them. They are working to address a major health issue and a larger percent of my donation dollars are going directly to the effort.

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

I have not directly experienced the results of this organization but have researched enough to have full confidence in their efforts.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

Blacksmith Institute (BI) has a specific mission to address the world's worst polluted places. Legacy and on-going pollution, particularly in the developing world, result in death, reduced life expectancy, and an inability to work and provide support for families. As a 30-year environmental consultant, this was an area that I had always wanted to be involved with. I just did not know how. I responded to a notice in a professional society newsletter and went to NYC to meet the founder of BI, Richard Fuller. I was full of excitement after spending time with this charismatic visionary. I have helped BI ever since by being a member of the Technical Advisory Board. I have been blessed to travel to Mexico to work with the government and an NGO to remediate lead-contaminated workshops and encourage the switch to the use of lead-free glazes in the ceramics. I have also been to Senegal to assess and remediate lead-contaminated soil in a community where at least 18 infants died from lead poisoning. The source of the contamination was the improper "recycling" of used lead-acid batteries, an epidemic throughout the developing world. When I consider what I have been directly involved with in the past year, I can hardly believe it. This is one of few great NGOs that actually spend donor money on direct community-based results that save lives and provide alternatives to adverse environmental practices. I volunteer my time, donate money and provide technical expertise and support.

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

Mexico and Senegal. I am also aware of the remaining BI projects and success stories throughout the world.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

I've been volunteering with Blacksmith Institute since 2006 when a former student recommended they contact me for some environmental advice. As Professor of Environmental Health at Hunter College School of Public Health, I'm contact often with these requests and freely offer my professional guidance to NGOs. My specific role as "science advisor" continues and I've been asked to provide technical assistance in the area of env sampling, assessment, biological monitoring and hazard evaluation. They are always receptive to following scientific protocol and implementing all my recommendations. Volunteering with Blacksmith, I've traveled to many countries assessing toxic waste sites and truly experiencing the dreadful conditions that exists worldwide. Ultimately the visions, stories and data from visiting toxic sites are integrated into my graduate courses where students are made aware. They are shocked when they see the conditions and motivated to pursue public health.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in... that BI produces results, i.e the interventions I suggested have lowered Blood Lead levels, have triggered remediation activities and more. They don't just talk about Toxic Sites, they do everything to fix them. That's why I still volunteer.

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

..encourage BI to focus on a few specific areas of env concern. There are so many toxic sites worldwide and hundreds of toxins. They can't clean the world (nice goal though). With limited resources they may have to limit their activities.

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

they are outcome motivated. Not just talk or meetings, they want results.

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

Full time staff (several) and many very capable college interns.

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

clean up thousands of toxic waste sites that they identified. There Global Inventory Project has identified sites worldwide that are impacting public health and need remediation. 10 Million Dollars would go a long way to reduce morbidity and mortality.

Ways to make it better...

They had the resources to purchase state-of-the-art environmental monitoring / sampling equipment.

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

workload. There are thousands of toxic waste sites that needs action. Many are contaminating communities and impacting public health.

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

I absolutely love the collaborative approach BI has adopted. Yes, toxic sites were essentially created by human greed, but BIs philosophy is "lets get all the parties together and clean it up".

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Review from Guidestar