In the wake of the widespread racial justice protests of the past year, environmental funders are reckoning with their history.
For generations, communities of colour have borne the brunt of the pollution of their air, land and water by chemical plants, toxic-waste sites, minxes and refineries. Meanwhile, foundations and donors have poured disproportionate resources into environmental nonprofits headed almost exclusively by white leaders – investments that have reinforced the inequities that have plagued the conservation sector since its earliest days.
Several encouraging and important new efforts – like the Donors of Color Network’s recently announced push to get large foundations to pledge to direct at least 30 percent of their climate-change grants to groups led by persons of colour – offer hope that philanthropy is finally beginning to embrace climate justice. Other efforts, such as the Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice, are raising and granting money to support women’s organisations that are hardest hit and working to address climate, gender, and racial justice.
For those of us who have been working on the front lines to make racial equity a key component of climate change and conservation work, such pronouncements are both overdue and significant. They are also not nearly enough.
If funders are genuinely going to make a lasting impact in communities of colour, they must do more than simply look at the board and executive office makeup of the organisations they intend to support.
Here are five ways philanthropy can take real, meaningful action on climate justice:
- Support organisations that embed equity into their work
- Learn from overseas successes
- Focus on community-based approaches
- Empower the people in the community
- Listen to new voices
Read the full article about climate justice by Rt Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton at Alliance Magazine.
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