Charles Stewart Mott Foundation: Grants for Climate Change

OVERVIEW: The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation awards global development to organizations promoting civil society, sustainable energy, and environmental practices. Internationally, the foundation generally limits its funding to Central/Eastern Europe, southeast Europe, and South Africa. 

IP TAKE: The C.S. Mott Foundation’s international grantmaking spans various areas, but prioritizes projects that promote stronger civil society and those that strengthen nonprofit sectors in its regional areas of focus. 

PROFILE: Charles Stewart Mott, co-founder of GM and auto industry pioneer, established his Michigan-based foundation in 1926. The foundation seeks to enhance people's "capacity for accomplishment." Today, the Charles Steward Mott Foundation supports projects in the United States and elsewhere. 

Internationally, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has four programmatic areas. Among them is a focus on Flint, Michigan and education. It funds climate change causes throught its Environment program, which supports environmental institutions that are responsive and accountable. The foundation also focuses its invests in projects related to public policy and sustainable models of development that protect local communities and ecosystems. Additionally, the foundation has "exploratory and special projects" for worthy domestic and international projects beyond Mott's stated priority funding categories.

Mott's environmental program features two subprograms focused on climate change. 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 that work to remove barriers to clean energy. Moreover, its Transforming Development Finance subprogram seeks to "improve transparency, accountability, and social and environmental standards at the international finance institutions that fund major energy and infrastructure projects on shaping international investment and trade policies and practices that ultimately support sustainable, environmentally-responsible development." Sustainable regional development grants tend to prioritize South America. Some projects funded under this component include a focus on issues of climate change.

Mott's international grants range from $10,000 up to $600,000, but most range from $100,000 to $300,000. While Mott prefers projects with a focus on Central/Eastern Europe, Southeastern Europe, and South Africa, the foundation also supports NGOs that work in developing countries around the world. Past grantees include the World Resources Institute and the "Green Climate Fund and World Bank Energy Strategy Review." For more detailed information regarding the organizations Mott supports, refer to its grants database

Applying for Mott support is relatively straightforward. Grantseekers submit an online letter of inquiry to Mott on a rolling basis. An important note for first-time Mott applicants: its program officers tell us that about 80 percent of the foundation's grants are renewals. While competition is strong, grantseekers should note that if they secure a grant through Mott's, it is likely to result in a long-term relationship.

The foundation does not accept unsolicited applications. 

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