Cool Earth

We back people to protect rainforest and fight the climate crisis.

aka Cool Earth Action   |   Chester , NJ   |


Cool Earth exists to back people, protect rainforest and fight the climate crisis. We transfer cash directly to Indigenous peoples and local communities living in rainforests in the form of a basic income or to fund projects that create choice, tackle the root causes of deforestation and protect the best carbon-storing technology that already exists: rainforest.

Ruling year info



Matthew Owen

Main address

P.O. Box 135, 1 Sentry Lane

Chester , NJ 07930 USA

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NTEE code info

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Community Improvement, Capacity Building N.E.C. (S99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Cool Earth exists to back people to protect rainforest and fight the climate crisis. Tropical forests have the highest carbon density of all forest types. The destruction of tropical forests accounts for around 18% of global emissions every year. Indigenous people and local communities (IPLCs) who have lived in the rainforest for generations are best placed to protect it. The immeasurable diversity in indigenous knowledge and resilience across the Amazon, and globally, should be embraced, protected and promoted. Despite their crucial role in conserving one of Earth’s most valuable ecosystems, IPLCs face injustices that often leave little choice when it comes to protecting trees or improving the quality of their lives. Cool Earth exists to change this by countering marginalization, securing land rights, improving health and livelihoods so that IPLCs can continue stewarding the forest as they always have.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Protecting rainforests, reducing emissions

Cool Earth tackles climate change at its root by supporting Indigenous peoples living in rainforests. These communities are the most effective stewards of these vital ecosystems, and their well-being is intricately linked to forest health. We:
Partner with communities: We work with communities in the Amazon, DRC, and Papua New Guinea. These partnerships are built on trust, empowering people to make choices that benefit their lives and their rainforest.
Provide financial support: Through our unique funding model, we provide communities with direct cash. This financial security allows people to pursue livelihoods, reducing the pressure and their dependence on activities that harm the rainforest.
Support development projects: We collaborate with communities on projects that enhance well-being and protect the rainforest. This can include initiatives like forest monitoring programs, education, health and sanitation projects.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples
Economically disadvantaged people

Historically, satellite data to study and monitor rainforest activity has been used by academics, NGOs and governments rather than those who live in the rainforest and depend on it for their survival.
Lack of data excludes people living in rainforest from valuable insights regarding forest loss and evolving drivers of deforestation, putting lives and homes at risk.
Public satellite data gives a real-time view of rainforest, showing everything from forest health, wildfires and areas where illegal extraction takes place. Rainforest Labs funds the tools, infrastructure and training needed to put land-use data in the hands of the people living in rainforest, uniting Indigenous knowledge, ground truthing and satellite data to drive climate action. Monitoring forest health gives the people living there the power, insight and evidence to protect their home and rainforest.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples

Cool Earth is embarking on an innovative project to establish an unconditional cash transfer programme that will provide a basic income to rainforest villages in the three largest tropical forests; the Amazon, Congo Basins and New Guinea.
Our goal is to provide the evidence needed to scale this approach as a viable method of climate change mitigation and an effective tool to counter the marginalisation of Indigenous peoples and local communities.
The pilot has been designed and delivered in collaboration with ONAMIAP, an all-female Indigenous-led organization. It will test the concept of unconditional cash transfers as a locally implementable programme and assess how our partners view this type of support and if it addresses the participants needs and priorities for a thriving future in the rainforest.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples
Economically disadvantaged people

The climate crisis poses a growing threat to Indigenous communities and their rainforests. Cool Earth works with rainforest communities on climate adaptation strategies alongside rainforest protection.
We do this by:
Partnering with local organisations: We work with organisations that are familiar with local issues and contexts. Our partnership with Indigenous-led NGO Central Ashninka del Ro Ene (CARE), for example, aims to prevent the spread of wildfire, through technology, tools and awareness raising.

Building resilience: We support initiatives that help communities adapt to changing weather patterns, such as introducing drought-resistant crops, developing early warning systems for wildfires or providing household access to safe water.
By empowering Indigenous communities to adapt to climate change, Cool Earth helps ensure the continued health of rainforests and the well-being of the people who call them home.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work


International Sustainable Community 2018

Global Good Awards

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of acres of land protected

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Because Cool Earth works with people who live in the forest, it doesn't create "protected zones". The metric corresponds to the rainforest that community partners protect with Cool Earth's support.

Number of groups brought together in a coalition/alliance/partnership

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

This metric details the number of forest communities or partners that Cool Earth works with.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Cool Earth's core aim is to reduce deforestation and its impact on climate change.

To achieve this, it works with local partners to develop new ways of community-based rainforest protection.

Cool Earth is a network of community-led conservation partnerships. It works alongside people living in rainforest to demand and deliver its protection. Cool Earth’s founding principle is that people who live in rainforest must determine its future. Without this, tropical deforestation will remain a key driver of the climate crisis.

Cool Earth has strived to put its planning, its decisions and its spending in the hands of people who live in rainforests and to ensure power lies within communities themselves. Progress has been made but there is still much to do.

Above all, six core values are being embedded into everything Cool Earth does to ensure it accomplishes our aims.

1. People who live in rainforest determine its future.
2. Funding decisions are planned, led and implemented by rainforest communities.
3. Conservation and development leadership is from the ground up and not imposed by Cool Earth or partner NGOs.
4. Conservation funding is a transaction that has consequences beyond its monetary value. As such, each transaction must be fair and transparent.
5. The use of evaluation and monitoring technologies must serve communities, to enhance our understanding of emerging threats to the forest through an equal exchange of knowledge.
6. When Cool Earth is privileged to have a presence in a community, it keeps intervention to a minimum.

Cool Earth’s strategy is community-led. Our approach is effective because it puts people, not trees first.

Our partnerships are located on the frontline of deforestation, in countries where the threat to the forest is greatest. Cool Earth grows by word of mouth, with neighbouring villages and new communities asking to work with us too. This is integral as partnerships are driven by the people we work with.

Cool Earth strategies include;

Building resilience - promoting and protecting indigenous and forest peoples wellbeing, self-sufficiency, self-determination and self-empowerment.

Livelihood and income generation - cash to access public services like education and health services and fulfill basic necessities such as food and leisure. Moving away from a westernised idea of development to indigenous-led development in which their livelihoods goals align with their worldviews.

Promoting, understanding and co-designing practices on regenerative agriculture (e.g inga) to address small-scale farming as a driver of deforestation.

Strengthen food sovereignty and security through means that do not degrade the forest by producing greater volumes of diverse highly nutritional foods and becoming less reliant on external markets.

Forest conservation - working to improve knowledge, attitudes and practices when it comes to forest land use. Focus on making information available and understandable to people so they have the resources they want to make informed decisions about land use. Integrating science and local knowledge. Includes the research visitor and any agroforestry/crop items that are asked for.

Cool Earth has in-country teams working directly with communities and local NGOs to develop their capacity whilst providing the necessary context for effective conservation.

While these communities still inhabit remote locations of the Peruvian Amazon, infrastructure and development are now at their doorstep. It is only natural and fair that local people also want to increase their household income so that they can support child education, gain access to modern healthcare and obtain economic opportunities.

Sadly, this has proved to be a threat to their survival and also the vital natural ecosystems they have been protecting and regulating for millennia.

As a result of this economic growth, cultural and environmental sustainability has been ignored, agricultural practices have been designed erratically and education and empowerment have been neglected. Indigenous resilience to financial and climatic shocks has been overlooked.

Cool Earth believes that local peoples' relationship with their surrounding environment, coupled with genuine and dedicated external support has the potential to change the course for all life on Earth.

Offices in the UK and US provide programming support to in-country teams, as well as fundraising, communications and governance.

Our increase in income and global reach is thanks to our committed donors who continue to make a difference and generous new supporters who, through word of mouth and online advertising, have connected with Cool Earth’s people-focused approach to conservation. From growing our in-house design capabilities to developing strategic approaches to reaching audiences right around the world, Cool Earth continues to take a digital-first approach and follow industry best practices to raise money and advocate for forest protection.

Cool Earth has two operational hubs in Peru and Papua New Guinea that operate as locally registered organizations. They are regional partnerships that work to ensure local people’s rights over the rainforest are exercised. Each hub is led by an in-country senior manager.

The Cool Earth network also includes three exceptional local organizations that are designing and delivering people-led approaches to forest protection, shaping the future of rainforest conservation in the Congo Basin.

Cool Earth is an organization that is continually evaluating and learning. Part of this process is partnering with experts to improve and refine the ways we work.

By donating to Cool Earth, you’re making a direct investment in rainforest communities. With your backing, we can help provide the tools they need to continue protecting their homes and rainforest.

We currently work with 12 rainforest partnerships, located around the world.
Protecting 107million Trees under the protection of local and indigenous people.
The rainforest our partners protect equates to 177million Tonnes of CO2 stored.

Cool Earth has made a strategic decision to accelerate its rainforest conservation work over the next five years to capitalize on the public’s current empathetic mood for climate mitigation. Time is tight, and people now expect rapid action.

We are proud of our record but realise we can be more effective, more transparent and more equitable. Like so many organisations, we have suffered from mission creep and too often have imposed rather than supported decisions. Our strategy going forward will be to focus on improving this.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback


Cool Earth

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Cool Earth

Board of directors
as of 03/27/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Stephen Brodbar

Board co-chair

Jed Freedlander

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 7/10/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


No data

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 07/10/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.