The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

Honoring the Legacy. Empowering the Future.

Donate to Environmental Futures Fund

Support the University of Wisconsin to help continue the tradition of excellence in teaching, research, and public service.

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The Nelson Institute – named after Earth Day founder, U.S. Senator and Wisconsin Governor Gaylord Nelson – is training New Environmental Citizens. These future leaders seek not only to conserve the Earth’s last best places, but to create the next best places. They draw knowledge from outside the walls of the academy, within diverse communities. They understand that the environment is at work everywhere, especially in cities. They cultivate skills not only in the Earth sciences, but also in history and culture. They know how to integrate business with the environment. They translate complex scholarship into intuitive action and are collaborative problem-solvers.

For nearly 50 years, the Nelson Institute has been an incubator, laboratory, and model of collaborative education, research, and public service. Interdisciplinary by design, the Nelson Institute has gathered the best and brightest from all corners of the university – scientists, engineers, health and legal experts, economists, historians, artists, ethicists, political scholars, and more. We have reached beyond the campus to build partnerships with stakeholders in government, municipalities, business, the nonprofit sector, and other academic institutions. We are particularly proud of our engagement and partnerships with the Sovereign Tribal Nations of Wisconsin.

In the Nelson Institute, the Wisconsin Idea is more than just a concept, it is a philosophy that is woven into the fabric of every Nelson experience. Global citizenry and change agency requires an interdisciplinary approach and willingness to collaborate. We know that the Earth is changing and there’s no going back. Therefore, the Nelson Institute is training students to find innovative ways to address the challenges that lie ahead, adapt our societies, mitigate undesirable change, and to imagine new environments and economies. We are developing visionaries and equipping them with the tools they need for success.

Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies' 50th anniversaryIn honor of the 50th anniversary of the Nelson Institute and the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, our goal is to raise a brand-new $2M endowment that will support top-notch student programming and public engagement for the next 50 years and beyond. We invite you to become part of the legacy!

Gifts in any amount are needed and appreciated and will be used to enhance or expand the Nelson Institute’s teaching, research, and public service roles; pursue new opportunities; and address strategic priorities, including the ability to offer student scholarships and support faculty, staff, and student recruitment, retention, and morale.

Have questions or would like more information? Contact Ann Swenson, the Nelson Institute’s Director of Advancement and Donor Relations (Nelson Dean’s Office, Room 122 Science Hall) or Dan Fallon, the Nelson Institute’s Director of Development (UW Foundation, 1848 University Avenue).

Priority Programs and Funds

  • Dean’s Annual Fund: The Environmental Futures Fund

    This fund provides general support for the Nelson Institute’s highest and emergent priorities as well as its teaching, research, and public service roles. Funds are also used for faculty, staff, and student recruitment, retention, and morale.

Centers and Institutes

  • Give to Center for Climatic Research Fund
  • Give to Land Tenure Center Fund
  • Give to Nelson Institute Culture, History, and Environment Fund
  • Give to Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) Incubator Fund

Special Programs and Funds

  • Give to Community Environmental Scholars Program Fund
  • Give to Earth Day Event Fund
  • Give to Energy Analysis and Policy Program Fund
  • Give to Environmental Conservation Program Fund
  • Give to Environmental Observation and Informatics Program Fund
  • Give to Nelson Institute Academic Programs Fund
Show all 9 Special Programs and Funds