The Earlier in the year,
Foundation, a Troy, Mich.-based nonprofit that has a $3.6B endowment and seeks to expand opportunities for U.S. cities, signed Climate Funders Justice pledge. The Climate Funders Justice Pledge was created by the Donors of Color Network. This group of high-net worth people of color involved with philanthropy and has committed to publicly committing 30% of their funding to organizations that are led by Black, indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC). They also promise greater transparency about where their money is going.
“Philanthropy’s investments in climate change advocacy historically have undervalued the contributions of BIPOC-led organizations, and the work has been less effective because of that miscalculation,” says
Kresge’s managing director on the environment. “To make progress with the urgency required, we need all hands on deck, which includes organizations that authentically represent the interests of communities of color disproportionately impacted by climate change.”
Kresge’s commitment builds on its prior announcement to support nearly 60 racial justice and community-led efforts across the U.S.—$2.3 million of the $30 million grant will be “directed toward environmental organizations rallying for climate change,” DeBacker says. The foundation was already focusing on what percentage of its grant-making went to organizations with boards and executive staff that are majority people of color (for 2019-20, 33% of Kresge’s climate change funding went to these groups), and it hopes the Climate Funders Justice Pledge will encourage similar funding institutions to do the same.
Donors of Color Network
Currently, just 2% of climate funding from the nation’s top philanthropies goes to BIPOC-led organizations fighting climate change, says Donors of Color Network’s senior advisor,
“We have not been playing with all of our players on the field, and it is why we have not built enough power to make the progress we need to win in the battle against the climate crisis,” she adds. Other early signatories to the Kresge Foundation include the Grove Foundation (a California-based grant-making agency) and the Schmidt Family Foundation (created by Google co-founder).
He and his wife.
A leading philanthropist.
With a growing sense of urgency about issues such as natural disasters and access to clean drinking water, Deane-Ryan says the 30% pledge is a “floor—not a ceiling” that needs to be met as quickly as possible. Although some people may be reluctant about sharing their records, it is vital to ensure that the pledge leads to positive change. “You can’t improve what you don’t measure, that is why engaging funders to be transparent and publicly share their data is so crucial.”
The Hive Fund
The Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice, another prominent supporter of BIPOC and women’s-led groups protecting their communities at the frontlines, is also supported by The Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice. “We raise money and we make grants to the folks who are doing the work to transform flawed legal and other systems,” says co-director
“They are resisting the immediate harms and threats of polluting facilities, voter suppression, and state violence while helping to build the future that we hope to live in.”
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Women Donor Network provide grants to groups that are headed by Black, brown, and native women and are based within the South.
“Twenty percent of all the U.S. climate pollution comes from just two states, Louisiana and Texas,” says Hive co-director
“And that is mainly because the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries there are so big and so polluting, and so much of that pollution is really harming communities of color.”
Current grantees include the Air Alliance Houston, which is working to implement policy changes that will improve air quality in the region, and the Alliance for Affordable Energy, which includes 80 organizations dedicated to making Louisiana’s primary source of energy green.
The MacArthur Foundation
The MacArthur Foundation has made it a priority to support what it calls “community power-building” among BIPOC-led organizations, as well as individuals and groups who represent those often left out when it comes to the country’s transition to a clean-energy economy. “We know climate change affects all of us, but not equally,” says Mijo Vodopic, senior program officer, Climate Solutions, MacArthur Foundation.
“The climate emergency is not happening evenly across the world, and the level to which communities are prepared to respond and recover from this crisis varies dramatically,” Vodopic adds. “That inequity is exacerbated when cities overheat, oceans rise, drought consumes crops, and fires rip through communities.”
This article appeared in the December 20,21 issue of Penta magazine.