A group of philanthropists is calling on other grantmakers to “substantially increase funding for environmental and climate solutions”, arguing that there is “no higher calling for our wealth”.
Fourteen philanthropists, who are already actively funding environmental causes, have written an open letter to the 100 richest families in the UK; and the chairs and CEOs of the largest 100 foundations ahead of the COP26 international climate talk, hosted by the UK.
“What we do, or don’t do, in the coming months will set the terms of the future for everyone, now and for generations to come,” the letter says.
Their letter refers to a previous warning from scientists about the lack of funding for environmental causes. In 2019, 11 of the UK’s leading scientists wrote to the same group of grantmakers to express concern about the fact that just 3% of funding from trusts and foundations is directed towards environmental causes.
This week’s letter says: “Whatever causes you care about and already fund will undoubtedly be impacted by climate change. There are myriad proposals for redesigning these systems in ways that support life, not degrade it, but the funds currently available for that work are a fraction of what they need to be.”
The philanthropists say that solutions already exist, but that they are not being funded at the scale needed.
“Philanthropy and charitable giving at all scales provides the most flexible capital and support for civil society. It funds vital work that cannot be undertaken by governments and the private sector, and can be used to take risks, to fund transformative solutions and to push for change,” the letter reads.
‘Leave an unparalleled legacy’
The letter goes on to highlight the range of different environmental organisations as well as progress that has already been made, such as saving species from extinction and improving air quality.
It adds: “Philanthropists using their donations and investments to protect life on Earth are leaving unparalleled legacies.”
The letter also included information about resources to help from groups like the Environmental Funders Network and the Association for Charitable Foundations’ Funder Commitment on Climate Change.
“The moment is now to get involved in the challenge of our lifetimes: to restore our climate and nature. With your efforts joining ours, we are confident that we can change the course of the future together, for the better. We can think of no higher calling for our wealth,” the letter concludes.