Our front lobby

Named for the man many consider the father of the modern environmental movement, the David Brower Center was founded on the idea that when diverse people engage, dream, and work together, they are more effective at finding solutions to today’s most pressing environmental and social problems.  The Center’s work is inspired daily by David Brower’s words that highlight both the power of passionate individuals and the universality of challenges like climate change:

“Truth and beauty can still win battles. We need more art, more passion, more wit in defense of the Earth.”

“[Environmentalists] have a large potential constituency: those who like to eat and breathe well.”

“I believe that the average guy in the street will give up a great deal, if he really understands the cost of not giving it up. In fact, we may find that, while we're drastically cutting our energy consumption, we're actually raising our standard of living.”

Thus situated, the Center’s mission is to inspire and nurture current and future generations of activists, with the goal of making sustainable thinking and practices mainstream.  Working at the intersection of art, environment, and social justice, the Brower Center’s vision is fundamentally optimistic.  It is based on the belief that when equipped with knowledge, a supportive community, and the tools to act, more people will be inspired to participate in creating a more just and healthy world.

The Brower Center accomplishes its mission through a distinctive combination of permanent infrastructure and ongoing public programs, providing a holistic support system to help established and emerging advocates thrive.  The Center is a building with a brain, one of the greenest, most energy efficient in the Bay Area, and home to a contemporary art gallery, theater, conference center, and resident organizations working on sustainability.  The combination of these resources with a suite of public, educational programs make the Brower Center a unique civic institution that brings together nonprofit organizations, social entrepreneurs, artists, activists, and the general public to engage in creative dialogue and action.

The Brower Center’s activities are grounded in three commitments:

  • Inform the public about the environmental challenges we face and the bold actions we must take if ours is to remain a living planet;
  • Inspire people to recognize their own power and responsibility to act on behalf of the Earth; and
  • Connect individuals and organizations dedicated to social equity and ecological sustainability.

The Brower Center fulfills these commitments through its three core programs:

  • Art and Education, which pairs three museum-quality exhibitions with 20-25 public programs annually, serving to educate audiences about a wide range of environmental issues and foster a more engaged citizenry;
  • Resident Organizations, which allows the Center to house over 30 nonprofits and social enterprises, as well as to provide capacity building and networking opportunities; and
  • Conference Center, which hosts over 300 events every year for a mix of nonprofits and private businesses, and strengthens the green event industry by requiring clients to abide by low-waste, green principles as a part of all rental contracts. 

Together, these programs bring over 25,000 people into the Center each year and draw a wide variety of professionals, activists, and artists to participate in shaping our society.


The David Brower Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization; our taxpayer ID number is 94-3385643.