Posted on April 10, 2022

Donors Secure $100M to Benefit Minorities on Climate Change

Glenn Gamboa, Associated Press, April 5, 2022

A group of financial donors committed to racial equity plans to announce Tuesday that it has secured at least $100 million annually to benefit minority groups that are disproportionately harmed by extreme weather events.

The group, the Donors of Color Network, will also announce that 10 of the nation’s top 40 donors to environment causes have now signed on to at least a portion of a pledge the network established last year. The Climate Funders Justice Pledge commits the donors to make their climate-related grants transparent and to direct at least 30% of their donations to groups that have Black, Indigenous or other people of color as their leaders.


Twelve national environmental grant makers awarded $1.34 billion to organizations in the Gulf and Midwest regions in 2016 and 2017, according to a 2020 study by The New School’s Tishman Environment and Design Center. But only about 1% of it — roughly $18 million — was awarded to groups that are dedicated to environmental justice.

In its 2020 “State of the Air” report, the American Lung Association found that people of color were 1.5 times more likely to live in an area with poor air quality than white people were.

For this reason, environmental justice groups have pursued solutions with racial equity in mind. If minority communities receive help in achieving long-term solutions to perennial problems like flooding or erosion, for example, the projects can benefit both the environment and the community.


Mark Magaña, founding president and CEO of the environmental nonprofit GreenLatinos, says the Climate Funders Justice Pledge should be seen as the equivalent of the National Football League’s Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview candidates from underrepresented demographic groups for all top jobs. By encouraging donors to seek out minority-led environmental groups for their grants, Magaña said, they will naturally find more programs that they want to fund.


Magaña said major donors should recognize that climate change has already reached many minority communities and that action needs to be taken immediately.

“We’re the most affected by climate change,” he said. {snip}