Environmental foundations in Germany and the United States were examined for differences in financial settings, professionalization and fields of action. Data from an online survey shows that US foundations have greater financial strength and act more professionally than German environmental foundations. Furthermore, the fields of action show significant differences. In both countries captivating topics that have a positive connotation dominate financial spending, while there is a significant difference in orientation towards nature conservation and environmental development. Together, these findings suggest that beyond the financial power of the foundations the tradition of civil society organizations influences the fields of action and the thematic orientation.