Charles Stewart Mott Foundation: Grants for Climate Change

OVERVIEW: The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation is not a top climate funder, nor does it have a grantmaking program specifically geared toward climate change. The prospects here will be limited for most grantseekers. A major reason for this is because the foundation is just beginning to explore how it can become more fully engaged in climate change projects and causes. But its Environment Program does fund some work addressing climate change through its International Finance for Sustainability subprogram.

IP TAKE: While you won't find grantmaking program dedicated specifically to climate change at Mott, this funder has made grants with a focus on the intersection of global finance and climate change.

PROFILE: The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation was founded in 1926 by its namesake, who was an original partner in the establishment of General Motors. Mott also served as the mayor of Flint, Michigan twice. The Foundation now has assets worth more than $2.3 billion, and awards millions in grants annually. Its main mission is to support efforts that work toward creating a more just, equitable and sustainable society.


The foundation's Advancing Climate Change Solutions subprogram addresses clean energy in the state of Michigan and in developing countries. In Michigan it supports organizations promoting renewable energy. In developing countries it supports organizations working to remove barriers to clean energy.

But Mott's climate change funding doesn't stop there. The Transforming Development Finance subprogram focuses on shaping international investment and trade policies and practices that ultimately support sustainable, environmentally-responsible development. Mott has a few major funding priorities in this subprogram, including lending support for sustainable infrastructure and energy projects as well as sustainable regional development. Sustainable regional development grants tend to be geographically focused on South America. Some projects funded under this component include a focus on issues of climate change.

For example, Mott funding to the Institute for Policy Studies has helped explore the challenges and opportunities for financing the creation of low-carbon energy resources in developing countries. Grants to the World Resources Institute have supported efforts to engage international finance institutions, such as the World Bank, in adopting climate and sustainability safeguards when bankrolling major development projects, such as dams, highways, and similar projects.

Mott has also provided support to the World Resources Institute for its work on "International Financial Flows and the Environment," including development of the "Green Climate Fund and World Bank Energy Strategy Review." 

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation limits unsolicited proposals for its environment program. The Foundation requests that unsolicited grantseekers submit a brief LOI rather than a full proposal. Grants tend to range between $50,000 and $250,000 with the median grant coming in at the $100,000 mark. Mott's International Finance for Sustainability subprogram are typically invite only.