How does philanthropy need to change?

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  • Hey everyone! We’re planning a roundtable hosted by APHA to bring together folks from EJ groups with environmental and health-focused funders to discuss the future of philanthropy in this space. Specifically what barriers frontline groups face in accessing funding and how those can be addressed. While we’re preparing for this discussion I’d love to know: what are some things you all think we should discuss? Some problems you would identify or solutions you would propose? We’ll be sure to post an invite link here once it’s live too!


    Philanthropy needs to support environmental justice organizations whose place based knowledge and movement building are led by people of color. However philanthropy remains overwhelmingly white and so are the groups they fund. For decades the environmental justice organizations have been leading the fights against the fossil fuel industry, energy burdens, housing insecurity, flooding and addressing environmental injustices and have a track record of wins, and earned trust that enables them to mobilize the communities where they live and work many times without funding. The environmental justice movement continues to only have access to 1% of grant funding opposed to white led environmental and conservation organizations whose leadership is not impacted by the climate crisis. Without engagement of those on the front lines, even the best-intended big green solutions who are supported by philanthropy can be ineffective or harmful, it is time to move the money to groups who are advancing environmental justice.

    Full transparency, I’m not from a fenceline community.
    That said, I’ve been working with a funding group on a passion project. What I appreciate about this partnership, in addition to the funding is that they provide some additional structure and partnership – beyond just the financials. I have experience and expertise in my fields, and money management and administrative paperwork was not part of my training. Getting support on the parts that are more technical is helpful and appreciated.
    I really cannot imagine getting through the admin pieces without extra support.

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