Our Mission and Model

EcoRise mobilizes a new generation of leaders to design healthy, just, and thriving communities for all. We work at the intersection of sustainability education, climate resilience, and environmental justice by elevating youth voices and advancing student-led solutions to real-world challenges. We offer a range of curricula and programs for students, teachers, school districts, and partners, designed to advance environmental literacy, sustainable schools, and equitable access to green career pathways.

We updated our mission to build upon years of transformational work with K–12 teachers and students and refocus our efforts to ensure that environmental justice communities are well represented in our movement and are an integral part of the solution.

Our Values

Our Vision

At the crossroads of the enormous environmental and social inequities we face, there is an unprecedented opportunity to transform education and redesign our world to reflect our shared values and boldest dreams. With the right resources, our youth are perfectly positioned to lead the way.

a young asian girl in braids holding a clip board smiles at the camera while her classmates tally how many students brought their lunch from home in the school cafeteria
a group of 5 diverse students are looking at and discussing blueprints
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Our children are inheriting a world rife with enormous change and uncertainty—a world that calls into focus the systems and attitudes that produced the climate crisis and deep racial, social, and economic inequality. While all corners of the globe increasingly endure extreme weather events and the disruptions that follow, the risk and vulnerability are shouldered unfairly across society, placing the largest burden on the very communities that have the fewest resources to respond.

Despite how insurmountable these challenges may feel, the future has not been written. With imagination and the courage to take action, a better world is possible. At the crossroads of the enormous environmental and social inequities we face, there is an unprecedented opportunity to redesign our world to reflect our shared values and boldest dreams.

At EcoRise, we believe that K–12 education demands radical transformation, centered in climate justice. And, with the right resources, our youth are perfectly positioned to lead the way. We envision schools as crucial hubs for climate resilience, environmental justice, and student-driven innovation, where new generations of young leaders are galvanized to build healthy, just, and thriving communities for all.

Anchored in our vision for a brighter future, EcoRise has worked alongside thousands of teachers to create opportunities for transformative education, engaging youth in the work of designing a more sustainable world. Like our teachers, we are deeply invested in their futures and witness every day the power of young people to interrogate broken systems, lead with conviction, and awaken the moral compass of those around them.

Our Approach

We are focusing our efforts on the following impact areas through 2025:

Elevating youth voices

With a focus on civic engagement and green career pathways, EcoRise is providing opportunities for a diverse network of student leaders to influence environmental policy, cultivate climate resilience, and participate in the new green economy.

  • Expand youth climate councils to regional hubs nationally to amplify youth voices and accelerate action to address climate change and strengthen resiliency.
  • Develop a youth-facing alumni network to facilitate ongoing support and measure impact over time.
  • Enhance green-career exposure initiatives for students of all ages through connections to green professionals and workforce development opportunities.
  • Facilitate immersive, paid summer internship experiences for high school youth in multiple regions to increase equitable access to green careers.

Expanding educational programs

EcoRise is enriching and expanding our K–12 offerings with an emphasis on customized teacher support that advances local community action and environmental justice.

  • Create a national student innovation fund to support all communities, especially those disproportionately impacted by climate change.
  • Facilitate leading-edge, hyperlocal professional development for K–12 teachers through authentic collaborations with diverse community-based organizations.
  • Streamline and enhance technology and existing curriculum library to be more relevant and interactive, and to elevate environmental and climate justice.
  • Transition to regional impact hubs to help teachers address local climate, environmental justice, and sustainability needs through the creation of grade-level and content cohorts.

Advancing systems change

Through strategic partnerships, data, and technology, EcoRise aims to accelerate the movement for climate resilience and equity in K–12 schools and build coalitions at the district, state, and national levels.

  • Forge national and local alliances to advance environmental justice and climate resilience across the movement.
  • Promote and elevate racial equity and diversity in the field, including among youth, educators, green professionals, and nonprofit leaders.
  • Expand and integrate Gen:Thrive’s technology tools and data collection to build movement capacity, mobilize resources, and influence policy across all 50 states.
  • Expand services and support to school district administrators to advance leadership in sustainability, equity, and climate resilience.

Building a thriving organization

EcoRise invests in the growth of our team and our school programs through continuous reflection and data-informed improvements with a deep commitment to building an inclusive, diverse organization that advances equity both internally and externally.

  • Expand and diversify our team across all organizational levels and work toward an inclusive organizational culture.
  • Build an engaged board that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve and actively engages in programs and fundraising.
  • Design a more rigorous data collection and evaluation system to measure and compare short- and long-term outcomes across programs and regions.
  • Develop a long-range financial plan that advances growth and maintains a healthy operating reserve.