Baseline funding increase for BIPOC-led justice groups


Simon Hungin


The first-ever cross-racial community of donors and movement leaders, the Donors of Color Network (DOCN), recently announced a new funding baseline of $120 million through the Climate Funders Justice Pledge (CFJP) for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-led justice-focused groups, with two new pledgers, Pisces Foundation and Kresge Foundation dedicating more than 30 per cent of their climate giving towards BIPOC-led justice solutions.

The CFJP focuses attention on pushing the field towards equity and justice being key components of grantmaking, with only 1.3 per cent of US climate funding being provided to BIPOC-led justice groups, with this number not reflecting a necessary nor corresponding shift to support the outpouring of racial justice statements that have been made in the US over the last three years in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. The CFJP aims to push philanthropy towards racial and economic justice by challenging the nation’s top climate funders to give at least 30% of their U.S. climate funding to BIPOC-led groups and commit to greater transparency by sharing their funding percentages to BIPOC-led groups publicly. 

‘We’re out of time. Funders must take action and commit to justice as a critical component of building a more effective climate strategy. The CFJP will continue to make seismic shifts in a field that is historically resistant to change or transparency. We call on the biggest names in climate philanthropy to put their money where their public statements are. This is more than an equity commitment; it’s how we foster a winning movement’ said Isabelle H. Leighton, Executive Director, DOCN.

Many top funders, including the Schmidt Family Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and ClimateWorks Foundation, among others, have already signed on to the CFJP. New pledger Kresge Foundation currently provides 39.1 per cent of its climate grants to BIPOC-led organisations, while fellow new pledger The Pisces Foundation has increased its funding to BIPOC-led justice groups to more than 40 per cent, up from just 17 per cent, in just two years.

Pisces Foundation President, David Beckman stated that ‘funding frontline communities is a key part of any strategy to win on climate change, and so an equitable funding strategy is also the most effective way to fight climate change. At the start of this critical decade, we deepened our commitment to funding communities bearing the brunt of the climate crisis, alongside other talented advocates in the movement with a range of complementary talents. It will take everyone together, and all in, to win.’

The campaign has secured support from over 70 high-profile movement leaders, PhDs of colour, business leaders and members of Congress, and the CFJP is taking a stronger public posture in calling on all foundations to take the pledge in recognition of the fact that no winning climate strategy exists without justice.

The Donors of Color Network is the first-ever cross-racial community of donors of colour and movement leaders committed to building the collective power of people of colour to achieve racial equity.

The Climate Funders Justice Pledge is a project of the Donors of Color Network, which seeks to shift the centre of gravity in philanthropy towards racial and economic justice. The nation’s largest climate funders are challenged to commit to greater transparency and give at least 30% of their climate funding to groups led by BIPOCs who have succeeded most in fighting climate change.

Simon Hungin is a freelance writer that supports Alliance magazine.

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