Views environmental activism as a theologically derived moral imperative
Seeks to establish environmental activist groups in religious congregations in all 50 states
Is funded by the Environmental Defense Fund, the Sierra Club, and the Tides Foundation
The Regeneration Project (RP) is a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to “deepening the connection between ecology and faith.” Headquartered in San Francisco, California, RP is singularly focused on the Interfaith Power and Light (IPL) campaign, a nationwide initiative designed to introduce environmental activism into religious congregations in all 50 American states. In 2008, RP donated $132,000 to IPL groups, typically in disbursements of $10,000-$15,000. As of 2009, RP had established IPL groups in 31 states, many of which oversee their own networks of IPL congregations.
RP began life as “Ecoventure,” a nonprofit group which, from 2002-2006, undertook a number of environmentalist projects. Ecoventure was founded by Douglas Linney, a California environmental activist and consultant. Currently the board president of the East Bay Municipal District (Alameda County, California), Linney is also the founder and president of The Next Generation (a progressive campaign-consulting firm) and a board member of the California League of Conservation Voters.
In 2005 Ecoventure hired several lobbyists, one of whom was Susan Stephenson, a specialist in nonprofit-organization management. Between 2006-2007, Ecoventure went through a major transformation. Stephenson was hired as executive director, the Reverend Sally Bingham came onboard as president, and the board of the directors completely changed hands. The name of the group was also changed to the Regeneration Project.
In addition to movement-building activity, RP engages in state and federal lobbying, especially through its network of IPL groups. In 2006, RP lent heavy support to the effort to place a mandatory cap on carbon emissions in California. Rev. Bingham was present when then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the bill passing this policy into state law. RP has taken a particularly strong stance against coal and oil, which the group has characterized as “fuels from Hell.”
In 2007, RP received an EPA grant to initiate its online “energy efficient store,” which helps fund state IPL groups. Also during 2007, RP:
In 2008 RP increased its lobbying efforts, especially with respect to the American Clean Energy and Security Act (aka “Cap and Trade”), which was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009. RP described itself as one of the “lead groups” that had made possible the bill’s passage by the House.
In 2009, RP was one of 31 organizations honored by the Alliance of Religions and Conservation and was presented with an award by United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon. RP also had representation at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen that same year.