FAQ

The Donors of Color Network’s new climate campaign shifts the center of gravity in philanthropy towards racial and economic justice, challenging the nation’s largest climate funders to commit publicly to greater transparency and give at least 30% of their climate funding to the BIPOC-led powerbuilding groups who are the most successful in fighting the climate crisis. 

We will spotlight funders who Take the Pledge to:

Transparency

  • Within two months, share your complete FY 2019 and 2020 grants data via the long standing Candid eReporting program – already used by many foundations – and annually report on your grants going forward.
  • Within three months, share what percent of your foundation’s U.S. environmental/climate funding over the last two years has gone to organizations with a justice mission that are run by, serving, and building power in communities of color, and where the board *and* executive staff are over 50% people of color.


Scaling Up Inclusive Climate Grantmaking

  • Within 12-24 months, direct at least 30% of all U.S. climate giving to U.S. organizations with a justice mission that are run by, serving, and building power in communities of color, and where the board *and* executive staff are over 50% people of color.

The campaign calls on funding organizations who hold the power to put climate dollars where they will be most effective: in the hands of BIPOC-led powerbuilding groups.

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. Because racial justice, economic justice, and climate justice are intrinsically linked — all must be achieved, or none can be achieved — DOCN created the Climate Funders Justice Pledge.

The greatest successes in battling climate change and centering justice — shutting down oil pipelines; stopping new gas plants; raising revenue to fund clean energy construction and jobs; winning billions in funding for underserved communities in state climate legislation — have relied on BIPOC activists and organizers in the communities that bear the brunt of climate disasters. Support for climate intervention is highest in these communities compared to Whites. Yet BIPOC-led environmental organizations see significantly less funding than their white counterparts and their contributions are underappreciated. 

  • A recent study by The New School looking at 12 national environment grantmakers found that of the roughly one billion dollars that they granted, only 1.3% of funding goes to justice-focused organizations. But BIPOC-led organizations make every dollar count, scoring victories to protect resources and usher in a green jobs revolution. The boldness and genius of BIPOC movement organizations, met with greater resources, holds the solutions to building the power we need to battle entrenched interests and solve the climate crisis.
  • Now is the time to act. Over the past year, major foundations have made statements of support for racial justice and some have made strides towards addressing diversity, inclusion, and racism in their ranks. The Climate Funders Justice Pledge presents a concrete opportunity to act on those commitments and redirect funding to where it is most needed and most effective.
  • We know there is at least $3B in philanthropic climate funding coming down the pike. It is high time that an equitable share of that funding went to the frontline groups fighting climate change on the ground, with the greatest return on investment.  

The Climate Funders Justice Pledge takes its inspiration from the thousands of BIPOC activists and organizations who have been working for decades to make climate, racial, and economic justice a reality. These groups have been the most effective in securing victories in the fight for the future of our planet. From the fight against oil pipelines led by the Indigenous Environmental Network, to the defeat of new gas plants spearheaded by California Environmental Justice Alliance, to the 35% of clean energy funding for vulnerable communities in New York’s climate bill secured by NY Renews — it is clear who has done the most good with the fewest resources. These groups, though they represent just a slice of the revolutionary work being done by BIPOC-led, BIPOC-powerbuilding climate justice groups across the U.S., are among the examples the Climate Funders Justice Pledge will lift up as it draws attention to the effectiveness of a justice-centered approach to climate change.

In the long term: a powerful climate movement capable of winning the battle to save humanity and the planet from disaster.

  • A powerful climate movement must be – but is not yet – economically just, diverse, and capable of mobilizing and sustaining support in the face of enormous corporate opposition. That cannot be achieved with the status quo of having such a small percentage of philanthropic dollars going to the communities of color who support climate action the most, have innovated to ensure equity is part of climate policy, and who bear the brunt of climate disasters.

In the short term, we hope to secure the commitment of as many funders as possible. The more philanthropic organizations take the Climate Funders Justice Pledge, the more we will have achieved together. 

  • Data is important — it keeps funders accountable — but it is also a means to an end: wider recognition of movement organizations and wins led by and serving people of color in the fight for climate justice.

The Donors of Color Network is proud to have the support of movement leaders and organizations, funders, elected officials and many more for the Climate Funders Justice Pledge. For an initial list, please see below. If you would like to be added as a supporter, please sign up at: xxxx

We are most proud of the support we have received from the movement leaders and organizations who inspired the Climate Funders Justice Pledge. These groups are at the forefront of the battle against climate catastrophe. Their belief in the value and mission of our campaign is the most important endorsement of all. They include national organizations, as well as those in regional networks — including hundreds of local organizations — that serve as powerbuilding ecosystems.

We are also thrilled to have the support of leaders from the business community, philanthropic sector, academia, and more. For more on our supporters, click here.

We encourage anyone — individuals and organizations alike — who cares about climate change to publicly support the Climate Funders Justice Pledge. Whether you have already made the link between climate change and racial justice, or are just learning about the ways in which environmental degradation, economic inequality, and racism intersect, your voice matters.

For the top 40 donors in particular, who give away the bulk of climate grantmaking dollars, we encourage all who have an environmental/climate portfolio to Take the Pledge.

No! Supporters of the Climate Funders Justice Pledge can and should be everyone, whether they have a great deal of experience in environmental/climate activism and racial justice work, or are just beginning to get involved.

While our targets in the philanthropic sphere are those with a history of giving to environmental/climate change organizations, we welcome and encourage any funder to Take the Pledge, whether their portfolio already includes green giving or not.

Many have; some have not. Below is a list of top funders, with links to their statements (if any) on diversity and inclusion, and on Black Lives Matter, the murder of George Floyd, and/or racial justice broadly. 

The Climate Funders Justice Pledge demands transparency — evidence that the funders who have made commitments to economic and racial justice actually follow through — so that we can hold these powerful institutions accountable.

FUNDER

STATEMENT ON DIVERSITY & INCLUSION?

STATEMENT ON BLACK LIVES MATTER/GEORGE FLOYD/RACIAL JUSTICE?

Barr Foundation

Yes

Yes

Bloomberg Philanthropies

Yes

No

ClimateWorks Foundation

Yes

Yes

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

Yes

No

The Energy Foundation

Yes

Yes

Ford Foundation

Yes

Yes

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Yes

No

Heising-Simons Foundation

Yes

Yes

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Yes

Yes

The Kresge Foundation

Yes

Yes

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

No

Yes

McKnight Foundation

Yes

Yes

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

No

No

Oak Foundation

No

No

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Yes

Yes

The Pew Charitable Trusts

Yes

Yes

Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Yes

Yes

Rockefeller Foundation

Yes

Yes

Sea Change Foundation

No

No

Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Yes

Yes

The Skoll Foundation

Yes

Yes

No other entity has an accountability campaign aimed at ensuring transparency and equity in the climate philanthropy sphere. We hold that commitments — while a necessary first step — are empty without data to confirm that they are being met. By challenging donors to “name their number” and maintain openness via Candid’s eReporter program, the Climate Funders Justice Pledge will be able to ensure accountability.

In order to qualify under the Climate Funders Justice Pledge, over half of an organization’s board and senior staff must be BIPOC. Additionally, building power within BIPOC communities must be an explicit commitment of the organization.

We applaud the “Big Green” NGOs as they work to address their well-documented historical challenges regarding diversity, equity, inclusion, and their lack of attention to justice. But the full context is critical. The BIPOC-led, BIPOC-serving powerbuilding groups centered by the Climate Funders Justice Pledge are best positioned to engage communities of color, and have been the most effective in the struggle against environmental degradation. They have the deepest, longest experience working on environmental and climate justice as a core concern — not as a separate project siloed away from the overall work. These organizations’ boards and senior staff are majority BIPOC, making them accountable to — and best positioned to engage — the communities most affected by climate change.

30% is a floor, not a ceiling. BIPOC communities make up more than 40% of the U.S. population. They poll higher than whites in support for climate intervention. Their communities are hit first and hardest by climate disaster. Climate philanthropy should respond to where the greatest needs are and where the dollars can have the most impact — this should have been the case all along.

By insisting on data reporting, the Climate Funders Justice Pledge ensures public visibility and accountability to confirm that foundations’ funding is going to the BIPOC-led groups they have pledged to support.

We understand! Candid has an excellent FAQ page, and offers webinars that explain the details of their software. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and a number of other top philanthropies use the software already. If you have any additional questions, please contact Candid at egrants@candid.org.

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