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.

Yes! To work out your numbers before entering data into the submission form to fulfill the transparency pledge, some foundations find it helpful to use this short  template that we created with formulas to help with the calculation. Please do not hesitate to email climate@donorsofcolor.org with any questions.

Yes. You would ask your intermediary to let you know what share of the grant went to organizations that met the pledge criteria.

Yes. As noted in the Take The Pledge page online, the calculations will include only U.S. grantmaking.

Please note, the Donors of Color Network does not need detailed information on a foundation’s individual grantees diversity data. The pledge asks for summary information on the share of U.S. grantmaking dollars going to BIPOC-led organizations (see Take The Pledge for data). Nonetheless, since foundations need to internally gather diversity to calculate the transparency data requested, we are pleased to share illustrative examples of how to efficiently collect diversity data.

 

We have seen three approaches:

  • One foundation, sent a brief survey form asking their grantees executive director the following:

    Please select all of the attributes that apply to your organization from the list below:
    (a) Over 50% of my organization’s Board is comprised of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) members
    (b) Over 50% of my organization’s senior staff is comprised of BIPOC members
    (c) My organization’s mission statement, guiding principles, strategy, or other foundational texts explicitly commit to building power within BIPOC communities

    It would be unusual for an executive director to not know the answer to these questions or to not be able to get that information quickly. It’s not burdensome since an ED would need just a couple of minutes to complete the survey. The survey form would then feed into a spreadsheet for your review.

  • Other foundations leverage Candid’s well-vetted, public GuideStar diversity data form, and encourage grantees to complete their diversity profile.

    That one diversity form profile is then available to anyone, reducing the grantee burden to fill out multiple foundations’ forms. A foundation could ask their grantees on their application form to include the link to the profile if they have completed it.

    An NGO example of a completed diversity data profile on Candid is the Sierra Club’s, here. The Hewlett Foundation’s Candid profile is here – more and more foundations are completing the diversity data profile as well, as part of their commitment to DEI and transparency.  When one hovers over the “Board” or “Senior Staff” bar, it will show you the demographic percentages. 


Candid also has “how to” videos and trainings to help non-profits through the process of completing the diversity data profile. See their blog on this here. An organization gets an extra transparency seal for completing the diversity data profile. Candid’s help page is here.


  • Some foundations have engaged the Center for Effective Philanthropy to gather data from grantees and display data on their own website.
    The Hewlett Foundation was one such foundation. Its president, Larry Kramer, wrote about their process here.

 

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Contact Us

Ready to take the pledge? Click here. Other inquiries, complete the form below.

GreenLatinos

GreenLatinos is an active comunidad of Latino leaders, emboldened by the power and wisdom of our culture, united to demand equity and dismantle racism, resourced to win our environmental, conservation, and climate justice battles, and driven to secure our political, economic, cultural, and environmental liberation.

It convenes a broad coalition of Latino leaders committed to addressing national, regional and local environmental, natural resources and conservation issues that significantly affect the health and welfare of the Latino community in the United States.

GreenLatinos is an inclusive space for members to foster collaborative partnerships to improve the environment, protect and promote conservation of land and natural resources, amplify the voices of low-income and tribal communities, as well as empower future generations of Latino environmental leaders through training and mentorship for the benefit of the Latino community and beyond.

Of the CFJP, Mark Magaña, founding president and CEO of Green Latinos said, “Let’s acknowledge a truth: communities of color are receiving pennies on the dollar compared to other big groups and that’s just not an effective strategy to win. We’re creating a new minimum expectation for funding that will finally begin to create an equitable landscape and provide the resources for our communities to take on and win more battles.” 

Recent Wins: