Grantham Foundation: Grants for Climate Change

IP OVERVIEW: 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.  

IP TAKE: If encouraging more green business or more environmental news coverage is in your mission statement, apply to this foundation. 

PROFILE: Founded in 1997 by a hedge fund manager with a knack for predicting disaster, the Grantham Foundation seeks to "protect and improve the health of the global environment" by supporting "communication and collaboration in environmental protection, with an emphasis on climate change." A hedge fund manager with a keen eye for long-term risk, Jeremy Grantham gained renown for accurately predicting every major market bubble of the last few decades. And the worst bubble of all, he is convinced, is yet to come: the “carbon bubble” of runaway greenhouse gas emissions and unsustainable resource use. He oversees the foundation with his wife, Hannelore Grantham.

The foundation does not appear to conduct grantmaking through programs but rather chooses to broadly support the environment with an emphasis global climate. While its website offers terse information regarding its environmental and climate change strategies, Grantham has built substantial assets: with a trust now surpassing $376 million, it awards $15 million to $20 million yearly toward efforts to organize collaborative, grassroots-led solutions for cutting humanity’s carbon footprint down to size, while adapting to the climate turbulence that has already begun to unfold. The foundation lists three overriding principles that it says guides its grantmaking. Climate Change is one of these—both mitigating it and adapting to it. Communications and Collaboration are the two others. Grantham places high value on organizations that inform the public of environmental ills, and organizations that team up effectively with partners and supporters to build critical masses that get things done.

Grants range from about $25,000 to $50,000; however, many grants go up to $500,000. While Boston-based Grantham’s giving remains nationwide, and sometimes international, it prioritizes groups based in the Northeast. All grants are invitation-only. Like any good hedge fund manager, Grantham is highly attentive to risk and return on investment, and shows keen discretion in which operations he will and will not fund. Past grantees include Yale University’s Forum on Climate Change and the Media, which trains student journalists in environmental reporting—countering misinformation from climate-change deniers is a big priority for Jeremy Grantham. Explore Grantham's grantee list for a deeper understanding of what kind of organizations it funds. 

Given Jeremy Grantham’s hedge fund background, this foundation appreciates nonprofits that work collaboratively with businesses to lay out the groundwork for environmentally sustainable economies and enterprises. Since 2013, the foundation has also increased investment in technologies for sustainable farming, including genetic modification. In this area, Grantham differentiates itself from many other environment groups that have come out against GM foods, despite the body of research that has found them safe. GM crops’ potential to better endure drought and disease compared to standard crops outweighs the controversy that they brew in the environmental community, in Grantham’s book. 

Grantham funds organizations by invitation only. As a result, grantseekers should contact the organization to introduce themselves and their projects. 

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