What You Don't Know About Sea Change Foundation: Big Quiet Money for Clean Energy

In early 2013, the concentration of climate-warming carbon dioxide exceeded 400 parts per million for the first time in human history. That's a lot of CO2 that humanity has pumped into the air, and the effects will likely be long lasting. In the hopes of mitigating some of these effects, numerous groups have refocused their efforts on promoting energy efficiency and investing in renewable sources of energy. Such efforts do, of course, take a significant amount of funding. The Sea Change Foundation has not been the most accessible of organizations, but it has shown an impressive commitment to clean energy. (See IP's profile on the Sea Change Foundation.)

The Sea Change Foundation website is sparse at best. Visitors will find a short blurb about the organization on one page, and little else. Not to be confused with the Seachange Foundation (a microcredit funder working out of Dublin), the Sea Change Foundation pours millions of dollars into clean energy every year. Recipients of these grants include the Sierra Club, the World Wildlife Fund,  the Energy Foundation, and many others. Nearly all of Sea Change's grants have been aimed at promoting clean energy, promoting energy efficiency, or educating the public about the climate and clean energy.

Promoting clean energy and energy efficiency will help move communities away from polluters such as coal and oil. This will, in turn, reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. The big organizations that Sea Change has so far supported have focused on a few different strategies to promote clean energy. For example, the Sierra Club has invested heavily in a Dirty Coal Campaign, with the goal of retiring one-third of U.S. coal plants by 2020, while the World Wildlife Fund has worked a good deal on advocating better climate policies, climate finance, and business engagement. The Energy Foundation has a number of programs, including ones to increase building and transportation efficiency and promote better climate policies in China. (Read Sea Change Executive Director Stephen Colwell's IP profile.)

There are numerous ways to promote clean energy, and it appears that the Sea Change Foundation is amenable to various approaches. The foundation has supported a broad swath of organizations working on clean energy issues. Although the foundation remains a mystery to many, its work is substantial. Grantseekers working on energy issues would be smart to keep the Sea Change Foundation in mind.