Park Foundation: Grants for Climate Change

OVERVIEW: Park is a progressive family foundation that supports work to ensure drinking water in the United States is clean, affordable, accessible, and protected. Park geographically prioritizes grantmaking to the eastern U.S., specifically, New York State and North Carolina.  

IP TAKE: Since 2009, Park has gradually shifted more of its funding to fighting fracking, and they don’t equivocate on goals—foundation President Adelaide Gomer wants it banned. Park spreads anti-fracking grants across grassroots organizing and advocacy, research, and public education.

PROFILE: Established in 1966, the Park Foundation was created by Roy H. Park, Sr., who founded, chaired, and served as chief executive officer of Park Communications, Inc. The foundation's grantmaking originally emphasizes education; however, since then, the Park Foundation's priorities have evolved. The foundation grantmaking approach seeks to "[make] a difference in the world [holistically]." Its key priorities include thirteen separate areas, which include water, nuclear power, the environment, community, Democratic causes, and hydraulic fracturing, among other interests.

While the Park Foundation maintains an environment program, it does not maintain a program strictly dedicated to climate change. Its environmental giving overlaps both drinking water and energy. For years, it has found itself in the spotlight for its staunch opposition to fracking in New York, the greater Marcellus Shale region, and North Carolina. The foundation's grantmaking to oppose fracking has taken several forms. In the past, it has funded grassroots advocacy groups, public education, and research to determine the threat to water supplies. While it’s conservation funding prioritizes New York and North Carolina, Park has opposed fracking in the greater Marcellus Shale area, which spans Pennsylvania, into Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. The Park Foundation supports a broad range of climate change related issues. The foundation encourages applicants to contact them with questions. 

Park grants typically however around $50,000, but range a bit. Most large grants do not exceed $100,000, and the foundation makes rare grants in the millions for its scholarship programs. To see a full list of its grantees, click here.

Park accepts proposals with quarterly deadlines, and accepts letters of inquiry or just preliminary phone calls and emails to program staff. The foundation does not currently accept emailed or faxed proposals. This is of course, subject to change in the future. It does recommend potential new grantees send LOIs first, and, of course, stay within program interests to save everyone time. Grantseekers can find information regarding submission deadlines here.

One final note on the Park Foundation, it's heavily involved in the movement toward mission-related investing, which means moving a foundation’s trust away from companies that conflict with program goals. Park is one of 17 original foundations of Divest-Invest Philanthropy, an initiative to have funders publicly pull their assets from the fossil fuel industry. 

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