Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are NWEI programs only offered in the Northwest?

    Our name reflects our history: the NW Earth Institute was founded in 1993 in Portland, Oregon, and our organization builds on the ethos of sustainability that is at the heart of the Pacific Northwest region. But NWEI’s mission is universal, and NWEI programs are offered in workplaces, universities, homes, faith centers, neighborhoods, and community centers across the world. Participation is not limited by geography. Our discussion courses and our annual EcoChallenge have helped more than 170,000 people change for good, in ways both small and large. Learn more about our model for change.

  • Is my donation to NWEI tax-deductible?

    Yes. All donations you make to NWEI are tax-deductible. You will receive a tax receipt after you make a donation.

  • What is the EcoChallenge?

    The EcoChallenge is NWEI’s annual event that helps you kick-start change in your community. For two weeks every October, participants choose one action to reduce their environmental impact; the idea is to set a goal that stretches your comfort zone and starts conversations with the people around you. Examples include using alternative transportation to get to work, eating fruits and vegetables purchased from the local farmers market, and taking 5-minute showers. We connect you with other EcoChallengers before, during and after the challenge—and together, we prove that small actions add up to real change. Find out more about the EcoChallenge.

    *New* We also now offer the EcoChallenge as an employee engagement program. Custom EcoChallenge clients choose their event dates and we set up a custom web-based EcoChallenge event for employees. Customizing the EcoChallenge for your company allows you to integrate your company’s brand and sustainability/CSR goals, and run your EcoChallenge with added privacy for employees. Contact us for more information and pricing at 503-227-2807, or email

  • Are there volunteer or internship opportunities with NWEI?

    There are many ways to volunteer with NWEI—from organizing a course in your community to helping out in the office or tabling at a community event. Learn more here.

  • How can I connect with other discussion course participants?

    You can “like” our Facebook page, or join our new Facebook group for community organizers to connect with other people and organizations using NWEI programs to create change for good in their communities.

  • How do I sign up to be a course organizer?

    We have lots of resources to help you organize a course, and you can get started here if you’d like us to help you organize a course. We’d also love to talk to you and answer any questions you might have, and you can reach us  at 503.227.2807.


  • Are there currently courses happening in my community?

    The best way to get a course going in your community is to organize one! Click here for our Course Organizer’s guide and learn more here.

  • How do I sign up for the EcoChallenge?

    The EcoChallenge takes place the last two weeks of October. Click here to find out more and register to participate.