Climate change is a major focus of many large foundations. Just about any approach to climate change you can think of is getting funding, and organizations at all levels—local, regional, national, global—are receiving support. But competition for grants is also intense, so your project better add value in a crowded field or take a new approach to climate change.
We are tracking what climate funders are doing and what we're learning is captured in this guide. All the profiles of funders in the guide are updated regularly. Only paid subscribers can access this resource. (Subscribe here.)
The 11th Hour Project’s climate and energy program seeks to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and accelerate the use of renewable energy, focusing on activity in the United States. Most of its climate grants go to nonprofits that are building cross-sector coalitions and mobilizing them to press for long-term policy and market-based reforms.
Alcoa funds organizations and programs that advocate for climate change prevention and promote sustainable solutions to reduce the impact of climate change and increase resilience.
The Annenberg Foundation makes a significant number of grants for environmental work in the Los Angeles area. Annenberg’s environmental priorities are not specifically focused on climate, so most of the giving in this realm is connected to city sustainability and protecting resources in its geographic focus of Southern California.
The Ashden Trust aims to improve the quality of life in poor communities by focusing on sustainable development and climate change.
Besides its geographic preferences, the Ayrshire Foundation has very few hard and fast rules for giving. Climate change is at the forefront of the environmental focus area.
The Bancker-Williams Foundation broadly invests in climate change projects that occur in the United States and abroad.
The Barr Foundation is a big fish in the pond of Massachusetts-based environmental organizations, particularly regarding the issue of climate change. Making Boston and Massachusetts more environmentally sustainable is the Barr Foundation's primary environmental goal. But some regional and national efforts get Barr's support as well.
The Blue Moon Fund invests in a range of strategies to combat climate change, but is particularly keen on slowing the rise of greenhouse gas emissions from China.
The Boeing Company awards grants in 20 states and Washington, D.C. Its areas of focus vary by state, but in general, all include organizations working in the fields of environmental protection, conservation and climate change.
The Bullitt Foundation invests its climate change grantmaking in organizations that increase energy efficiency, replace dirty energy, promoting clean energy, eliminate toxic chemicals in products, and those that help to ensure equitable climate policies.
CIFF supports activities such as phasing out coal usage, increasing renewables, scaling decarbonization strategies in higher energy use industries, and supporting large-scale land restoration activities.
The Compton Foundation is a progressive funder committed to protecting the environment and curbing climate change, among other causes. It takes a unique approach to giving, making grants to groups based on two categories of work—leadership and storytelling.
The Nathan Cummings Foundation’s climate-related giving looks at the issue from an equity perspective through its Inclusive Clean Economy focus. The funder supports the transition to clean energy, with an emphasis on communities.
Supports organizations that work toward preserving and restoring biodiversity to wildlife habitats, and preserving flora and fauna threatened by the effects of climate change or industrial pursuits.
Ecolab Foundation, the philanthropic arm of its corporate namesake, gives to a broad swath of programs and interests. Ecolab has an Environment & Conservation focus area and is particularly interested in supporting "hands-on environmental learning programs."
The Energy Foundation invests in organizations that address clean energy, energy efficiency, and carbon emissions reduction.
The Flora Family Foundation focuses its climate change grantmaking on slowing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing short-lived climate pollutants.
Ford’s climate change giving comes from an inequality angle, focusing on natural resource rights of vulnerable rural communities and activities such as deforestation that contribute to climate change. Ford also supports efforts in climate change policymaking that benefit vulnerable rural populations.
The Grantham Foundation gives millions toward cultivating environmentally sustainable economies and climate-adapted communities. While all types of organizations receive funding from Grantham, those that excel at communicating with the public and working collaboratively with other groups will be its biggest winners.
Gund is interested in using cities to address climate change, giving to support clean energy, green business, smart growth and city sustainability. The foundation has a very strong focus on Cleveland, but still gives quite a bit to national or regional projects that share its interests.
The foundation of a Chicago trader and his eco-blogger wife gives to sustainability and clean energy projects focused in the Midwest, particularly those involving schools.
The Global Greengrants Fund invests in organizations that seek solutions to “climate chaos” and those fighting to save the planet.
Heinz environmental grantmaking focuses on the health and sustainability of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania; however, this also includes giving toward clean water and watershed protection.
The Heising-Simons Foundation supports organizations that advance sustainable climate change and clean energy solutions.
Hewlett is one of the biggest funders in the climate space. While much of its funding for climate change goes toward main grantee ClimateWorks, Hewlett supports other major NGOs. Hewlett is accessible to smaller groups as well.
The Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation directs its environmental giving toward climate change organizations. It also funds environmental organizations that work in other fields, such as in conservation.
In the climate change space, the Roy A. Hunt Foundation focuses on affordable and renewable energy sources and reducing demand for carbon intensive good and services.
The Joyce Foundation invests in organizations that address energy efficiency measures in the Great Lakes region of the United States.
Kaplan funds organizations that advocate for the reduction of greenhouse gases, carbon pricing, and decreasing coal-generating activities.
The JPB Foundation invests in climate and energy projects that benefit local communities across the United States.
The Kaplan Foundation's work centers on mitigating the effects of climate change, climate change education and promoting clean energy policies.
Kendeda tends to fly way under the radar, backed by an anonymous donor. It funds a mix of conservation, climate change and sustainable living projects, with an emphasis on building broad support.
The KR Foundation invests in organizations that address the root causes of climate change.
Kresge is one of the leading foundations funding preparation for the effects of climate change, especially as they relate to cities and vulnerable communities. Its environment program focuses on resilience, and curbing the worst effects of climate change while planning for inevitable consequences.
The Lawrence Foundation supports organizations solving pressing environmental challenges. Lawrence offers project specific and general operating support grants.
The Levinson Foundation’s Environment program supports organizations that are working toward the goal of converting from an oil economy and moving toward the development and implementation of alternative fuel sources.
Mac’s Climate Solutions program is concerned with limiting global warming, mainly through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Mars invests in a variety of climate change issues as they apply to CO2 emissions, watershed, and land use.
McKnight’s grantmaking focuses on mitigating “catastrophic global climate change.” The foundation does support global carbon pollution reduction efforts, but it has a soft spot for Upper Midwest organizations working on renewable energy technologies.
The foundation’s Climate Change Solutions program awards grants to organizations promoting clean energy usage, developing renewable energy sources, and those that are researching and studying climate change issues.
The Mize Family Foundation funds organizations that promote global environmental justice. It also funds organizations that advocate for increased diversity in the environmental movement.
The Frederick Mulder Foundation seeks climate change organizations that work to mitigate the threat of climate change.
The Laird Norton Foundation’s climate change grantmaking focuses on regenerative biological systems, reducing fossil fuel dependency, and promoting renewable energy.
The Mitchell Foundation supports sustainability, including research and policy. It limits grantmaking to Texas.
The Moore Foundation supports projects that work to save the Amazon and to preserve the role the region plays in the Earth's climatic function. However, Moore also supports organizations that address environmental and energy issues from various angles, specifically through scientific research.
Charles Stewart Mott divides its environmental funding into three parts—freshwater ecosystem conservation, international finance for sustainability, and its special initiatives. The foundation mainly addresses climate change through its finance program.
The New World Foundation invests in organizations that increase community resilience to climate change.
The Oak Foundation supports organizations working in an array of fields related to climate change, such as clean energy, pollution reduction, energy poverty, carbon reduction, and emissions reduction.
The Overbrook Foundation invests in organizations that address climate change and conserve the natural environment.
Overlook International takes a broad approach to its climate change-related funding and does not impose specific requirements.
Packard channels most of its climate funding through ClimateWorks, and it doesn't accept unsolicited proposals for climate projects. As a matter of practice, though, the substantial resources and breadth of Packard's huge Conservation and Science Program means there are a variety of ways to get Packard support for climate-related work.
Since 2009, Park has gradually shifted more of its funding to fighting fracking, and they don’t equivocate on goals—they want it banned. Park spreads anti-fracking grants across grassroots organizing and advocacy, research, and public education. Its media funding has supported a number of reporting projects related to climate change.
While this funder’s signature program is water, it also has a separate climate focus, and funds groups working in climate across programs. A handful of grantees receive most support in the form of large grants, but Pisces makes dozens of small grants per year, too.
The V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation invests in climate change organizations whose work is both national (U.S.) and international in scope.
The Robertson Foundation was founded by a retired hedge fund manager, and while it's a major climate funder, it's not easily accessible to grantseekers.
RBF takes a broad approach to climate change, funding a variety of approaches to this challenge. And it's not afraid of getting involved in a political fight.
Recently, RFF's environmental program has focused almost exclusively on climate change. That said, other environmental projects have received support, as well. This funder is often drawn to smaller groups doing policy and advocacy work with national implications.
The Rockefeller Foundation is tackling climate change from multiple angles, including backing high-profile policy work, scaling up clean energy infrastructure in rural communities, and adapting to the inevitable effects of climate change.
The Scherman Foundation focuses its climate change grantmaking on sustainability, a green economy, and sustainable drinking water.
The Sea Change Foundation is funded by Nathaniel Simons, the son of hedge fund wizard James Simons. It gives away millions every year to promote clean energy and reduce carbon emissions, mainly in the United States. But it also spends heavily on policy advocacy work.
Skoll money supports climate work in a variety of ways. The foundation supports the Skoll Global Threats Fund, which includes climate change as one of five priorities.
The Summit Foundation supports programs that help urban leaders develop frameworks that drive environmental sustainability and climate mitigation strategies.
Surdna’s Sustainable Environments Program goals are to give the country’s infrastructure a complete makeover by supporting organizations working on energy-efficient buildings, improved water system management, and improved transit systems.
Offers both national and international environmental and conservation grants. The Starr Foundation does not accept unsolicited letters of inquiry, preferring to investigate and invite prospective grantees to apply.
Threshold is actually a large collaborative of wealthy progressive donors. One of its ongoing programs is Sustainable Planet, which has a big focus on climate change, these days.
This is the foundation of Tom Steyer and Kathryn Taylor, a philanthropic power couple who have jumped into the deep end of the climate change fight. It focuses heavily on clean energy, but also funds a mix of movement building, policy work and public education.
The Wallace Global Fund awards climate change grants to organizations mitigating environmental resource depletion due to climate change. Grant seekers can submit a letter of inquiry through the fund’s website.
The bank made a $100 million commitment for environmental issues to be given by 2020. Grants have gone to dozens of nonprofits in annual bundles. One of two priorities is clean technology and innovation, and the corporate foundation just launched its own clean tech incubator.
WestWind is a small, Virginia-based funder. Grants primarily fund fighting climate change, with emphases on the American South and stopping new coal plants. While somewhat regional, this funder actually gives to groups all over the place.