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July 22, 2021

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Donors of Color Network to Help Shift Millions to BIPOC-Led Groups; Seven Top Climate Funders Release Never Before Seen Funding Data

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Barr Foundation, and more publicly share funding percentages dedicated to BIPOC-led justice groups 

New York, NYDonors 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 released new funding data from seven foundations who have fulfilled the transparency portion of the groundbreaking Climate Funders Justice Pledge (CFJP). The latest funding numbers from top 40 foundations – which detail 2019-2020 U.S. climate funding to Black, Indigenous, and people of color-led, justice focused groups – range from approximately 10 percent to over 30 percent.

Since the CFJP launched in February, twenty-one foundations – including seven of the top forty climate funders – have committed to fulfilling at least the transparency portion of the pledge. The seven funders below are the latest to fulfill the transparency portion of the CFJP, reporting their 2019-20 funding allocation to BIPOC-led groups within three months of the original pledge. 

Foundation (*top 40 funder)

2019-2020 U.S. climate funding to BIPOC-led groups meeting CFJP definition

Percentage of 2019-2020 U.S. climate funding going to BIPOC-led groups  meeting CFJP definition

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation*

$20.341 million

10%

Barr Foundation*

$5.232 million

10%

The JPB Foundation*

$53.975 million

31%

Bullitt Foundation

$3.395 million

35%

Chorus Foundation

$7.999 million

66%

Nathan Cummings Foundation

$4.101 million

47%

NorthLight Foundation

$2.001 million

24%

The pledge asks funders to transparently report how they allocate climate funding to BIPOC-led organizations and to direct at least 30 percent of their United States-based climate funding to BIPOC-led, justice-focused groups within two years. A number of pledgers releasing their funding percentages to BIPOC-led groups are currently below the 30 percent pledge threshold. Their transparency is critical to shifting the philanthropic sector towards racial justice. A 2020 study found that of the $1.34 billion awarded to twelve national environmental funders, only 1.3 percent goes to BIPOC-led justice-focused groups. 

“The Climate Funders Justice Pledge is a tool to help climate funders remedy an urgent systemic failure. As we see top 40 funders showing the courage to publicly establish their baseline funding numbers, even when they are well below 30%, it begs the question of what other funders are waiting for?” said Ashindi Maxton, Executive Director of DOCN.The Climate Funders Justice Pledge doesn’t ask for perfection. It asks for public accountability and fair resourcing of people of color doing winning climate work. We are facing a new climate crisis every day, and there is no excuse for doing less than what we know is needed. Silence is not a solution.” 

The CFJP aims to move the center of climate philanthropy towards racial and economic justice, shifting hundreds of millions of dollars in new resources toward a winning climate movement that champions racial and economic justice. The need has never been greater – BIPOC-led climate justice groups are consistently overlooked and under-resourced by the philanthropic sector, particularly by the top 40 climate foundations. 

“Only 1.3% of U.S. climate funds going to BIPOC-led organizations and leaders is a sure way to lose on climate, which would have catastrophic consequences. We need ways to change that, and transparency is a critical tool to root out unintended biases in philanthropic practices and hold us to our commitments to do better,” said Larry Kramer, President of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. “That’s why we signed the Climate Funders Justice Pledge, why we release independent assessments of our progress, and why we encourage others to share their data. I strongly urge funders to join at least the transparency portion of the CFJP and to increase their funding of BIPOC-led organizations and leaders.”

As pledges are fulfilled, DOCN will publicly share data on its campaign website about how much money funders currently give to BIPOC-led climate groups, as well as the projected amount that will be moved to these groups in the next 12 to 24 months. For an updated list of where other top funders stand and to learn more about the Climate Funders Justice Pledge, please visit: https://climate.donorsofcolor.org/

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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/

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