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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

SustainUS, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Economic Development, Environment, International, International Economic Development, Microfinance, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection

Mission: SustainUS is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of young people advancing sustainable development and youth empowerment in the United States. Through proactive education and advocacy at the policy-making level and at the grassroots, we are building a future in which all people recognize the inherent equality and interdependence of social, economic, and environmental sustainability. We strive to reflect our values through the diversity of members and projects, our ongoing commitment to educating ourselves and others, and the way we live our lives.

Target demographics: youth 13-26

Geographic areas served: United States of America

Programs: Sustainus agents of changes delegates attended the united nations cop19 conference in warsaw, poland to bring youth voices to the international climate negotiations. Our total donations for this event were $3,396. We provided stipends to youth attending retreats and planning sessions in preparation for the conference.

Community Stories

45 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 adamhasz

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SustainUS is a nimble and innovative non-profit, accomplishing many great things all through the efforts of committed volunteers. I attended the UN Rio+20 Earth Summit with the group, and I was blown away by the passion, dedication, and brilliance of my fellow SustainUS delegates. I don't know of any other organization in the US that allows for young people to engage with the international policy process so deeply and in such an impactful way. Because of my amazing experience with SustainUS at Rio+20, I plan to stay involved with the organization for many years.

Emily32

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a delegate to Rio+20 in June 2012 through SustainUS. I can honestly say that I have never met a more committed, passionate and intelligent group of young adults. They kept me inspired through the disintegration of the UN process, and they continue to inspire me. SustainUS itself provides both valuable training for budding activists and a credible organization from which more experienced delegates can conduct policy analysis, write about their experiences, and meet with governments and other non-profits.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SustainUS is an organization I hold close to my heart. SustainUS is an organization that empowers young people to become well-versed advocates for sustainability through the international arena, a network that connects young Americans around issues that matter most, and a launching pad for careers in development, sustainability, clean energy, and international relations. I owe so much to SustainUS, which opened my eyes to the possibilities in international development, education, and advocacy.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of working alongside the youth of SustainUS through the UNFCCC, COP/MOP processes as global youth representatives - I myself am from Canada.
The team is amazing. The people I met from SustainUS were serious and committed to their work passionate about being the strong sustainability catalyst that they are all while being fun and a pleasure to be around.
This group of well rounde, well read and true gold youth will run their country one day, and will do so with altruism and service for the greater good of all.

Board Member

Rating: 5

To me SustainUS is synonymous with two important qualities. First, giving youth an unprecedented voice at International forums. Second, providing a nurturing support system to explore opportunities in sustainable development and the environment.

My first brush with SustainUS was as a delegate to United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development in 2007. Coming from a staunch engineering background, I was a little apprehensive venturing into the policy arena. However, SustainUS worked with me and before long I was at ease. I loved this experience so much that ever since I have been actively involved with SustainUS and the organization has lived up to its potential and beyond. SustainUS is a fantastic motivated group of people who are a pleasure to work with.

I would highly recommend SustainUS to any individual passionate about environmental issues and who is eager to make a contribution not just locally or nationally but globally.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

They are soooooooo great. Really good actions internationally.

Board Member

Rating: 4

Sustain US is run entirely by volunteer members, and brings together a unique group of committed young people to work on some of the most pressing issues of our time.

Board Member

Rating: 5

SustainUS is a great organization that does inspiring work for youth in the USA, and beyond. I have been involved with SustainUS since 2004 and have found that everyone involved in the organization is passionate about ensuring a more sustainable future.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an Australian Youth Delegate, I engaged with youth from SustainUS at the UN Climate Conference in Indonesia in 2007. I was overwhelmed and utterly inspired by their professionalism, optimism and extraordinary work ethic. These young people are not simply aware of the problem, they are proactively and passionately making the world a better place, every day. My full support lies behind all of their endeavours as it's my firm belief that if they continue to do what they're doing, the world will thank them forever.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Working with SustainUS is inspiring. I have advised and supported the organization since its early beginnings and watched it grow to become a successful voice for youth in many United Nations processes. SustainUS attracts people that are truly out to improve the state of the world - and the organization provides them with an opportunity to connect with others and advance sustainability.

Board Member

Rating: 4

The amount and quality of the work that SustainUS produces is quite high, particularly since it is largely a volunteer led organization. I've had the opportunity to talk with previously engaged individuals and they uniformly provide clear examples of how their engagement with SustainUS helped clarify or enhance future professional goals. SustainUS's efforts have also been helpful with give capacity to groups around the globe.
One area where SustainUS is working on, and needs further institutionalization, is capturing what it acheives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SustainUS does amazing work in the US and internationally to raise awareness about climate change and important issues faced by the global community today. It is an inspiring network of youth advocating for change and showing how young people truly do care about world affairs.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

SustainUS has been doing tremendous through the years to help build capacity of young people in the US in areas of energy policies on campus, UN negotiations on climate change (SustainUS was responsible for training and sending the US youth delegations to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations for the past decade, and their delegation has always been among the best prepared and the most professional ones). SustainUS has helped to raise a whole new generation of young engaged leaders, working in different areas – science, education, politics, community organising, civil society organisations, business and culture – showing the way to a greater sustainability in the US and on the global scale.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was introduced to SustainUS by my students at College of the Atlantic in 2006, and quickly found the commitment and vitality of SustainUS to be amazing. It is one of those rare "organizations" that is totally volunteer and yet LIVES its purpose in a sophisticated and effective way.

I don't know of another association of young people capable of such leadership on the major challenge of our times -- the transition to a sustainable, fair and just society.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SustainUS is an incredible organization that empowers youth to be involved on the international stage, advocating for action on climate change. They promote education and bring a knowledgeable team of youth to the UN Climate Negotiations. They are known , even in the US government, as being educated on par with high level NGO representatives and other government observers. They give US youth a voice in the international policy making arena.

Board Member

Rating: 5

It's not an overstatement to say that being involved with SustainUS changed my life. As a SustainUS delegate to the Commission on Sustainable Development in 2005, a world of smart, motivated, amazing young people doing world-changing work was opened to me that I had never really seen before. I went on to serve as a delegation leader for another CSD conference, as the program coordinator for the Agents of Change program, and then as the president (or 'steering wheel') of the organization.

To this day I have yet to see an organization that does so much with so few financial resources. SustainUS is a shining example of a new kind of organization, one that uses technology to bring together people who are passionate about sustainability not just to sign a petition but to operate programs that have a real impact. I love the fact that SustainUS is run by volunteers and by people who are actually youth (26 and younger).

SustainUS isn't run by experts, doesn't have the biggest budget, and isn't the biggest youth-oriented sustainability organization, but its emphasis on 'learning-by-doing' and focus on allowing young people real access to policy processes means that the organization offers incredible opportunities to its members. I know I personally was very empowered and inspired by my experience as a part of the organization. It's also worth noting that SustainUS not only benefits those who are a part of the organization, but also fills a vital role and makes a real impact on advancing sustainability, particularly in regard to the various United Nations policy venues. All in all, an amazing organization.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

passionate youth determined to create a better world - what could be more effective and inspirational?

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I traveled with SustainUS to Mexico for COP16. It was an amazing experience. Even before, I was impressed with everyone's dedication and passion for sustainable development. Not only does this organization empower young people to have their voice heard but it also works with youth from around the world to tackle the climate change crisis and make a difference on in international forums.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a student leader with SustainUS at Cop 13 in Bali. SustainUS helped me to connect to countless leaders in the field and work together to achieve great things! I would work with them again and they deserve everyone's support!

Review from Guidestar

Michael G.

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a youth volunteer in 2004, SustainUS provided a phenomenal leadership opportunity, direct access to political processes important to me, and the best support group personally and professionally I have ever had.

Now I am honored to serve on the Board of Directors, and I'm always amazed at the generations of talent and leadership that continue to find the organization just as empowering.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SustainUS is a fantastic organization - the best I have worked with in the environmental and international political fields. The fact that is in all volunteer run makes for an amazingly robust and cooperative organization. A fantastic model that more non-profits should follow.

Review from Guidestar

Jinny J.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SustainUS gives youth the opportunity and a platform, such as UN Conferences, to become engaged with local, national, and international social issues. The organization is led by a team of volunteers that are full-time professionals, students, etc who devote their time to make this organization operational. Their level of community action and their presence in the youth activism movement is quite impressive.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SustainUS is an incredibly successful grassroots organization which facilitates amazing opportunities. I was able to attend the UN climate talks in Mexico through SustainUS and had the tools and knowledge to not only get information from the conference, but I was also able to participate in a meaningful way.

Review from Guidestar

Advisor

Rating: 5

I had a great experience participating as a youth delegate with SustainUS at the Commission on Social Development and the Commission on the Status of Women. I learned about international politics and how the UN works while meeting dedicated people from around the world who care about creating a better world. Now I am one of the policy advisors for the Commission on the Status of Women. We are excited to attend this year's commission this week!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SustainUS is a great organization that has allowed me to connect with amazing young people throughout the US and the world working on sustainability issues. It's augmented my work in my undergrad program and given me experience and perspective on international sustainability issues that I couldn't have gained elsewhere.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SustainUS is an incredible organization made up of the most hard working, dedicated, and passionate young people I know. I love that it is entirely youth run and all volunteer. It's also the only organization I know that really strives to connect young people to policy process at the international level on sustainability issues to enable them to make real differences in their communities and beyond. SustainUS is amazing people doing amazing things to ensure a better, more sustainable future.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SustainUS is an awesome organization that builds capacity among young people working toward [genuine] sustainable development solutions. Check it out!

Review from Guidestar

Josh

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SustainUS allowed me to participate in international negotiations and ultimately led me to a career in sustainable community building. It felt very empowering to build a collective voice among international youth and speak our truth to delegates and stakeholders from around the world.

My vote is in!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SustainUS is rocking. I am continually impressed that a group of passionate youth that aren't paid a dime can run an internationally prominent organization that is respected for it's cutting edge policy positions and strong engagement at UN meetings.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Very organized and passionate people are involved with SustainUS. Pure dedication to the international climate movement!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SustainUS is an incredible organization full of brilliant and inspiring young people. SustainUS provides the opportunity to live what you are passionate about!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SustainUS is one of the most unique organizations I have ever been involved with, bridging two very diverse worlds of high level international policymaking and local political participation and awareness raising. The opportunity that SustainUS provides for U.S. youth to be truly engaged as global citizens is invaluable.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SustainUS does a better job connecting young people to actual important policymaking decisions than any other organization. In all seriousness, SustainUS exposes young changemakers to situations that youth would have been excluded from without such a well-meaning organization. Access to politicians and deliberations about the futute is key to all young people looking to make a difference, and SustainUS provides that inside access. Truly a phenomenal organization

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SustainUS is the most effective youth empowerment organization I have ever encountered. I have never seen so many intelligent, deeply committed young people so organized. The young volunteers who run the organization consistently make strategic, consensus-based decisions that empower more youth to become environmental leaders.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

A fantastic example of an effective, youth led organization. I attended the UN climate conference (COP 16) with Sustain US, and was impressed by the level of organization that went into preparing for the conference; we had regular conference calls and wrote policy statements prior to the conference. I was honored to be a part of this youth delegation, because of its professional nature. At the conference, we had daily meeting as we coordinated our efforts and kept updated on the conference's progress. I was able to have accreditation to COP16 and to be involved in an ambitious youth-led delegation because of SustainUS.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My involvement with SustainUS has been very rewarding on two fronts. First, as a member of one of its US youth delegations to the United Nations climate change talks, I had the opportunity to take part in a very enriching program. I not only had the chance to participate in a UN conference, but I also gained from the six-month preparation process with other young people who had already been to such conferences. The informal, peer-to-peer education that SustainUS's Agents of Change programs foster was invaluable for me.

I was so impressed by the strength of its programs that I decided to become a volunteer program coordinator. Filling this role has been equally enriching, as I have had the pleasure of bringing new young people into the organization and presenting them with the resources and opportunities associated with the Agents of Change program.

SustainUS is providing a highly valuable service to young people in the US. Also, in engaging internationally, whether with other youth or with governments, the organization is furthering the impact of youth engagement in sustainable development and therefore contributing in a much broader way.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Volunteerism at its best. SustainUS is a youth-run organization that empowers individuals to have their voices heard in the international environmental policy-making process.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SustainUS has had an influential role in empowering international climate action. A youth inspired, youth led organization, it has engaged with members of President Obama's cabinet, International Ambassadors, United Nations NGO Observers, and youth from around the world.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

SustainUS is one of those organizations that is so grassroots and real and necessary that it grew organically without any top-down control. In 2001 I saw the collective voice of US youth come together and, seeing that they were unrepresented in the bickering over sustainability and the future of humankind, and that it was THEIR future that all the bickering was about, they decided to do something about it. And they used the internet to make it happen, forming formal and informal networks responsive to the needs of the times until it grew into what it is today: an incredible nonprofit organization that provides youth with a formal voice, access, and representation at international meetings and affairs related to sustainability, while also providing youth with experience and training in advocacy and organizing. It is a wonderful nonprofit to support!

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

SustainUS gives youth a voice for their future like no other organization. I have been a member of SustainUS since 2002 and a leader in the organization since 2007. I am proud to now serve on SustainUS's Board of Director. SustainUS empowers young people to advance sustainable development in a nonpartisan and inclusive process that brings in young scientists, policy makers, social and environmental justice advocates, business students, and youth from other countries working or studying in the U.S.A. It's role in helping to build youth power, especially at international negotiations, is impressive.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

SustainUS is simply the most organized, prominent, and knowledgeable youth organization that attends United Nations negotiations. Their role in organizing youth from the United States and around the world to speak about issues that concern youth is unparalleled.

Review from Guidestar

Gabriel F.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We at Clemson University Students for Environmental Action have looked at SustainUS for leadership and guidance in countless issues.

SustainUS is a fantastic NonProfit and is critical to the growth of the youth movement.

Review from Guidestar

Amanda F.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I was first involved with SustainUS in 2005, as a college sophomore excited about the opportunity to go to the UN headquarters and observe the processes there first-hand. Six years later, I'm still involved because I believe in SustainUS' mission of empowering youth and bringing youth voices to UN proceedings. SustainUS, while fulfilling this objective beyond expectations, still needs to find a way to a) engage youth who are interested in these issues on an ongoing basis, not just around UN delegations and b) reach out to youth, who would otherwise come, were it not for financial reasons, and access appropriate grants etc. to support their attendance.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

SustainUS is a fantastic learning experience, and a great way for youth to make their voices heard in international policy. I've worked with the organization for three years, and have always been impressed by what amazing things our all-volunteer staff is able to accomplish. SustainUS has really put youth on the map for international policy making.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I'm impressed with the membership's passion and dedication. This is an organization of committed, intelligent youth trying to make a brighter more sustainable future. The organization is 100% youth run, 100% volunteer based.

We have members all over the country, which is both a strength and a weakness. At times, organization can be a challenge especially when we have to work around different schedules and time zones.

Review from Guidestar