New York, NY — Donors of Color Network (DOCN) – the first-ever cross-racial community of donors and movement leaders committed to building the collective power of people of color to achieve racial equity – today announced never-before-seen data from the cohort of climate funders that have taken Climate Funders Justice Pledge (CFJP). The new data signals massive improvements from some of the nation’s largest climate funders in building a more effective movement. Both the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and The David Rockefeller Fund have fulfilled requirements within two years of taking the CFJP, boosting their giving to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-led justice-focused groups to 35% and 36.62% respectively.
The improvements represent progress toward addressing the deep disparities in climate grantmaking, where BIPOC-led environmental and justice-focused organizations receive only 1.3% of U.S.-based philanthropic funding. Amid an influx of new money in climate philanthropy, including several recent billionaire-led climate efforts, the CFJP is laser-focused on pushing the field toward equity and justice as central components of grantmaking. The CFJP calls on climate funders to commit publicly to transparent reporting of their grants and increasing funding of BIPOC-led power-building groups to at least 30% within two years of taking the pledge.
“What makes the CFJP radically transformative is that it forces funders to be introspective by grounding pledge commitments in benchmarks and public transparency,” explained Abdul Dosunmu, campaign manager of the CFJP. “The work from the CFJP and its pledgers is helping to uplift the funding baseline for BIPOC-led groups and shift the philanthropic landscape to an inclusive, holistic climate approach. We call on the biggest names in philanthropy to join this movement.”
Today’s new data celebrates ten CFJP pledgers who have increased their climate giving toward BIPOC-led justice solutions. These foundations join inaugural signers of the CFJP, like the Pisces Foundation and Kresge Foundation, in responding to the pledge’s calls to embrace grantmaking transparency and redirect funding where it is most needed.
“Philanthropy has not adequately resourced all of the players that the climate movement needs,” said Rockefeller Brothers Fund CEO and president Stephen Heintz. “The RBF is aiming to do everything in our power to help build a movement that can effectively address the largest threat facing humanity—that effort has to include leaders and communities of color. We are proud to take the CFJP because it aligns with our commitment to become an anti-racist and anti-sexist organization, which is critical to achieving our vision of a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world.”
A number of top funders have shown what’s possible in taking the CFJP and reallocating investments to advance racial equity and build a winning movement. Updated data shows that the Ceres Trust increased its giving to BIPOC-led groups to 65.9%, and the Nathan Cummings Foundation has increased its equitable climate funding to reach nearly 80%. These substantial and consistent increases in giving to groups accountable to communities of color most impacted by climate change are helping build a more successful winning movement. However, far too many top funders remain on the sidelines and serve as a barrier to progress.
Top foundations that have signed on to the CFJP include the Kresge Foundation, the Pisces Foundation, the Schmidt Family Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Barr Foundation, the ClimateWorks Foundation, the Energy Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Wallace Global Fund.
Track the status of each funder and where they stand on the CFJP commitment here.
In April 2023, the campaign celebrated its two-year anniversary and milestone of mobilizing $120 million in funding from funders to create a new funding baseline for BIPOC-led groups and their solutions for climate change. Over 70 high-profile movement leaders, PhDs of color, members of Congress, and national networks like the Climate Justice Alliance and Power Shift Network, also touted their support of the CFJP’s efforts.
The window to address the climate crisis and reduce impacts on communities of color is rapidly diminishing. The CFJP’s work in the private philanthropic sector is rooted in the truth that no winning climate strategy exists without BIPOC-led, environmental justice climate groups having a seat at the table. That truth must also be acknowledged in the public sector. Considering the recent one-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act, the biggest legislative action US Congress has taken to address and combat climate change, we must ensure that this work is recognized so government investments are also allocated to BIPOC communities.
The CFJP is taking a stronger public posture in calling on all foundations to take the pledge to recognize that no winning climate strategy exists without justice. From this point forward, silence or lack of commitment from funders should be viewed as an abdication of their responsibility to address and mitigate our shared crisis.
Please find additional details about the CFJP at http://climate.donorsofcolor.org/.
ABOUT DONORS OF COLOR NETWORK: The Donors of Color Network is the first-ever cross-racial community of donors of color and movement leaders committed to building the collective power of people of color to achieve racial equity. The Donors of Color Network officially launched with their Inaugural Convening in March of 2019, building on three years of in-depth research, writing, and interviews. To learn more about Donors of Color Network, please visit: https://www.donorsofcolor.org/.
ABOUT THE CLIMATE FUNDERS JUSTICE: The Climate Funders Justice Pledge is a project of the Donors of Color Network, which seeks to shift the center of gravity in philanthropy towards racial and economic justice. The nation’s largest climate funders are challenged to commit to greater transparency and give at least 30% of their climate funding to groups led by BIPOCs who have succeeded most in fighting climate change. To learn more about the CFJP, please visit: https://www.climate.donorsofcolor.org/