A Public Resource Compiled by the


50 California Street, Suite 500 San Francisco, CA 94111
501c3 nonprofit

Recipient: Focus on climate change, air pollution and biotech-related topics

Key People

  • Trip Van Noppen, President
  • Drew Caputo, Vice President of Litigation for Lands, Wildlife & Oceans
  • Martin Hayden, Vice President, Policy & Legislation
  • Patrice Simms, Vice President of Litigation, Washington, D.C.
  • Lisa Garcia,Vice President of Litigation for Healthy Communities

EarthJustice is an environmental nonprofit headquartered in San Francisco, California. The organization represents other prominent anti-GMO groups—including Greenpeace, The Sierra Club, and Natural Resources Defense Council—in lawsuits against state and federal government agencies and private corporations. Founded in 1972, EarthJustice maintains 15 regional offices around the U.S. staffed by 300 attorneys and other personnel. With total assets topping $130 million as of 2017, EarthJustice is one of the largest environmental nonprofits in the world.


The organization argues that the combination of pesticides and crops genetically engineered to tolerate the chemicals could lead to an “environmental disaster,” citing the work of agricultural economist Charles Benbrook to justify this prediction. Benbrook’s studies on the environmental impact of pesticides are primarily funded by organic food companies, and EarthJustice says his work shows “genetically engineered crops have spawned the creation of superweeds that destroy entire crop fields.” In 2015, EarthJustice filed a lawsuit alongside the Center for Food Safety and the Natural Resources Defense Council to block the introduction of a pesticide designed for use on GMO corn and soybeans, approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. EarthJustice said of the lawsuit, “chemicals known to be harmful to human, animal and plant life should not be flippantly rubber-stamped at the behest of the companies that profit from them.”


In spring 2018, the environmental group Rachel’s Network, run by former EarthJustice attorney Fern Shepard, paid the University of California, San Francisco $55,000 to archive U.S. Right to Know’s (USRTK) “Monsanto Papers” collection. Established with seed money from the organic food industry, USRTK alleges these documents prove Monsanto knew its herbicide Roundup causes cancer and covered it up. “This project honors the spirit of our namesake Rachel Carson, and her quest to shed light on health and environmental impacts of toxics,” Shepard said. “As the chemical industry and the current administration hobble the EPA, it is imperative that this important research lives in a secure, impartial, and reputable public database.”


 Financial Data


Annual Revenue: $85,381,770 (2017)

Total Assets $132,970,573 (2017)    


Major Donors (total contributions 2012-present)

Foundation for the Carolinas $48,430,000

Sandler Foundation 4,000,000

Energy Foundation: $2,100,000

Panaphil Foundation $1,200,000

The Brainerd Foundation $1,113,000

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation $1,112,000

444S Foundation $850,000

Wallace Genetic Foundation $800,000 

Goldman-Sonnenfeldt Foundation $600,000

Nick and Leslie Hanauer Foundation $500,000


Contribution totals only reflect publicly reported donors and may not include significant contributions from corporations, litigators and governments, domestic and foreign, through percent of sales agreements and allocations through various arrangements such as state lotteries and aid programs. Many claims by nonprofit organizations that they receive no contributions from governments or corporations are misleading or false.

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Note that there are three “levels” of both donors and recipients.

Donations to advocacy groups are sometimes designated to support a specific cause, such as organic agriculture or mitigating climate change. There is no way for us to know from publicly-available documents on what the money will be spent, as we can only see the total amount donated. When we assign the levels below to donors and recipients, we assume that all donations are available to the recipient for all advocacy, including anti-GMO advocacy.

  • Level 1: Donates primarily to dedicated anti-GMO organizations
  • Level 2: A large portion of donations go to anti-GMO organizations; some donations go to organizations without a position on GMOs
  • Level 3: A small portion of donations go to anti-GMO organizations
    * Most donations go to organizations without a formal position on GMOs but which have aligned themselves with anti-GMO activists

For Level 1 recipients, all donations are used for anti-GMO advocacy. For Level 2 and 3 recipients, we don’t know how much of each donation is used for anti-GMO advocacy.

  • Level 1: Dedicated to anti-GMO advocacy
  • Level 2: Involved in anti-GMO advocacy along with other causes
  • Level 3: No specific anti-GMO advocacy, but general support
    * Organizations without a formal position on GMOs but which have aligned themselves with anti-GMO activists
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