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Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is an American non-profit organization based in Oakland, California.



The Sierra Club was founded in May 1892 by John Muir, a “legendary naturalist” who held openly racist views towards Indigenous and black people.1) He became the first president and longest serving president, at approximately 20 years in this leadership position.

David Starr Jordan, who was on the club’s board during Muir’s presidency, was a “kingpin” of the eugenics movement, including advocating for the forced-sterilization laws that affected predominantly Black, Latina and Indigenous women. He also co-founded the Human Betterment Foundation, which produced research later taken up by the Nazis.


In 2008, the Sierra Club endorsed a commercial product for the first time in its 116-year history: Clorox’s Green Works™ product line, receiving $1.3 million in exchange.2)

In September 2014, David Schnare of the Energy & Environment Legal Institute published a report arguing that the Club and its subsidiary, the Sierra Club Foundation, were operating in violation of non-profit tax law.3) A follow-up report in July 2015 by the Institute's Executive Director, Craig Richardson, accused the Club of operating as a “front group for donors’ financial interests.”4) 5)

2020 Presidential election

During the 2020 United States Presidential Election, the Sierra Club joined the Protect the Results coalition in order to respond to any action taken by President Donald Trump “to steal the election.”6)



Jacobs, J. P. (2020, July 22). Sierra Club takes on the racism of founder John Muir. E&E News.
Barringer, F. (2008, March 26). Clorox Courts Sierra Club, and a Product Is Endorsed (Published 2008). New York Times.
Schnare, D. W. (2014). How the Sierra Club and the Sierra Club Foundation Violate Non-Profit Law. Energy & Environment Legal Institute.
Johnson, D. (2015, July 20). Sierra Club has become front group for donors’ financial interests. The Washington Times.
5) , 8)
Richardson, C. (2015). Big Donors… Big Conflicts: How Wealthy Donors Use the Sierra Club to Push Their Agenda. Energy & Environment Legal Institute.
Ball, M. (2021, February 4). The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election. Time.
About the Sierra Club Foundation. The Sierra Club Foundation. Retrieved January 4, 2023, from
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