The mission: To protect human well-being by ensuring healthy oceans, fresh water, and a stable climate.
Why it stands out: Through its fieldwork in more than 40 countries, Conservation International studies how economic and human development affect natural habitats—including tropical rainforests, grasslands, watersheds, and the sea. Based on the findings, the group works with local, national, and global governing bodies to influence policy and increase awareness. In Brazil, for example, its researchers have been able to demonstrate that the marine-protected areas (including no-fishing zones) in local waters have been beneficial to marine life and to fishermen and the local tourism industry.
Your money at work: A $15 donation helps protect an acre of tropical rainforest.