We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to turn this moment of focused attention, collective commitment to social justice, and unprecedented wealth into big, lasting change for communities hardest hit by the triple crises of racism, COVID-19, and wildfires in the US West Coast.

Working hand in glove with government partners, philanthropy’s nimble capital can go where it’s needed most: to prevent nature’s hazards from becoming human disasters. Generations of disinvestment in communities of color, especially Black and Latinx communities, has left them in the deadly crosshairs of natural hazards. Funders have relational, political, and financial capital ready to deploy.

As a sector, we have the know-how to tackle vulnerabilities and hazard-induced racial inequities through investments that address challenges resulting from climate change and disasters. We must increase our investments upstream to reduce vulnerability by building power and mitigating natural hazard risks. Together we can do that by:

  • Building power for financial strength Decades of divestment in communities of colour mean the ability to attain economic security is determined largely by zip code. Turning policies around that advance economic justice requires philanthropic support to build community power. To shift the power, we must include people of color in the decision-making and ensure governments are accountable to them.
  • Reducing community risks to natural hazards Wildfires have affected over two dozen counties and millions of people across the state. In preparation for the wildfire season, Philanthropy California and our partners at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, Resources Legacy Fund, Vibrant Planet, and Smart Growth California recently hosted Building Wildfire Resilience, a series of programs to educate funders about building wildfire resiliency in the West.

Read the full article about how philanthropy can help in these dark moments by Alan Kwok at Alliance Magazine.