Donors of Color Network has illuminated what BIPOC-led groups have always known: if philanthropy wants to save our planet, then we need to fund those who are being disproportionately harmed. They cite a recent New School study, which finds that of the roughly $1 billion awarded by a dozen national environmental grantmakers, only 1.3 percent went to environmental justice organizations.
Let’s be honest: structural racism and bias within the philanthropic sector has long kept climate funding in the hands of a few white-led organizations. As Donors of Color points out, failing to fund frontline groups is not a formula for victory against the climate crisis.
Encouragingly, more foundations are heeding this call. Since the campaign launched, several prominent new foundations have joined the pledge and committed to its key step of transparency — revealing what proportion of their grants have gone to organizations “run by, serving, and building power in communities of color.” That kind of truth-telling can be tough, but these foundations know it is required as an initial step to galvanize deeper change.
“BIPOC communities are in a historic moment, and the core mission of the pledge is to re-organize and re-center the conversation of what a winning climate movement looks like with communities of color that are on the frontline,” said Ashindi Maxton, executive director of the Donors of Color Network. “We have already helped move millions of dollars to groups and programs that will play a central role in hitting our ambitious climate goals.”
Racial justice and fighting climate change are inextricably entwined. At the Libra Foundation, we have removed the silos in our own work and are bringing together strategies that cross portfolio lines and serve the needs of the communities we seek to reach.
Read the full article about centering frontline communities by Crystal Hayling and Angie Chen at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.