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 four new funders have joined the Climate Funders Justice Pledge (CFJP), which established a $100 million funding baseline for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-led climate justice groups in its first year. Top 40 funder The David and Lucile Packard Foundation has taken the transparency portion of the pledge, while The Climate Initiative, Solidaire Network and The Christensen Fund have committed to the CFJP in its entirety.
“Every foundation that takes this pledge is helping push climate philanthropy to center racial and economic justice in pursuit of a winning climate movement,” said Isabelle Leighton, Executive Director of Donors of Color Network. “But 28 of the top 40 foundations remain silent and that is unacceptable. There is no reality in which we effectively tackle climate change without resourcing BIPOC-led organizations, who are often closest to the solutions. It’s critical that climate philanthropy steps up and makes a tangible commitment to equitably resource BIPOC-led justice work.”
New funding data is also available from two foundations, including top 40 funder Heising-Simons Foundation, detailing the percentages given to BIPOC-led organizations. Since the CFJP launched in February 2021, 32 foundations – including 12 of the top forty climate funders – have committed to at least the transparency portion of the pledge. The foundations below are the latest to fulfill the transparency portion and report their 2019-20 funding allocation to BIPOC-led groups. Today’s public funding data release is the fourth since the campaign’s launch.
A New School Study, in collaboration with Building Equity and Alignment, found that of the $1.34 billion awarded to 12 national environmental funders, only 1.3% goes to BIPOC-led, justice-focused groups. Transparency is an important first-step in holding funders accountable and shifting the center of gravity in philanthropy towards racial justice.
“Climate change is an urgent and undeniable threat. To meet this moment, we need
everyone’s voice at the table,” said Nancy Lindborg, President and CEO of The David and
Lucile Packard Foundation. “Transparency is a critical step to bring faster positive change
for a more just and equitable world. We hope other funders will join us.”
“Supporting the people who have suffered the worst impacts of climate change is critical to creating a clean, equitable future for all communities,” said Roland Hwang, Climate and Clean Energy Program Director at the Heising-Simons Foundation. “BIPOC-led climate justice organizations are at the core of this effort, connecting us to the people who are in the best position to create solutions. As a foundation that embraces transparency, we are excited to join the Climate Funders Justice Pledge.”
The CFJP pushes philanthropy towards racial and economic justice by challenging the nation’s top climate funders to give at least 30% of their U.S. climate funding to BIPOC-led powerbuilding groups and to commit to greater transparency by publicly sharing their funding percentage towards such groups. Engaging the expertise, talent and power of communities and leaders of color is critical to meeting the urgency of the global climate crisis. Funneling the same millions into the same organizations each year — groups that largely exclude BIPOC leaders and communities — has not worked to save our planet.
"The West is finally catching up on the fact that protecting the rights and sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples is not only a human rights imperative, but a climate change imperative as well," said Carla Fredericks, CEO of The Christensen Fund. "Yet still, philanthropy has some catching up to do in its investment in Indigenous leaders, organizations and communities. Only 0.4 percent of large U.S. philanthropic giving is directed to Native communities, and even fewer of those dollars are directed to Tribal-led conservation efforts. We're proud to join the Climate Funders Justice Pledge toward significantly increasing transparency and the amount of direct philanthropic investment in Indigenous rights and self determination."
“BIPOC-led justice organizations and movement leaders consistently have an outsized impact on our climate crisis, despite being underfunded and overlooked by philanthropy. With the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes measures that perpetuate dependency on fossil fuels and continue to harm frontline communities, combined with the Supreme Court’s decision to curb the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions, prioritizing grassroots-led approaches bolster winning, equitable climate strategies has never been more crucial,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of UPROSE and Board Co-Chair of Climate Justice Alliance. “More top funders must commit to the CFJP and resource BIPOC-led organizations at scale — we have no more time to waste.”
Additional top 40 foundations that have signed the CFJP are: Kresge Foundation, Pisces Foundation, Schmidt Family Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, The JPB Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Barr Foundation, ClimateWorks Foundation, the Energy Foundation, and the Heising-Simons Foundation. You can track the status of each funder here.
In year two, the CFJP will continue to challenge funders to put BIPOC-led climate movements at the forefront through continued outreach and by leveraging existing philanthropic supporters to encourage more funders to take the pledge. CFJP will heavily focus on promoting and empowering the transformative work of BIPOC-led organizations and their impact and demonstrating how that impact can scale if given a more equitable share of US-based climate funding. For more on the CFJP, please visit: 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/.