Climate Crisis Demands That Donors Do More for Proximate Leaders

What can one person do to tackle climate change? It’s a question a lot of us are asking — and trying to answer — as we embrace day-to-day steps to reduce our carbon footprint and be a part of the solution. Many of you who are reading this already use your voice, your wallet, your investments, and your votes to advance smarter solutions that protect the planet.

When it comes to climate giving, making charitable donations to large green groups is often the path of least resistance. It doesn’t take much effort to find out who is doing what on climate among the small set of national and international NGOs. But that strategy is only part of the solution. Yes, a lot of those groups do great work and deserve continued funding. And yet, all too often smaller community groups on the frontlines of the crisis are overlooked because they don’t have large fundraising and communications teams to get their messages out — and sometimes they’re just too busy trying to protect their communities’ health and safety.

That’s why Tides offers our donor partners a variety of opportunities to invest in climate justice solutions at the source by supporting leaders and communities who are proximate to the problems and who are leading the way to solutions.

Marsha Jackson, co-chair of Southern Sector Rising, which seeks to address health inequity in Dallas by ending decades of racist zoning and by more evenly distributing pollution burdens. (Photo © Dallas Morning News)

Tides has over 70 climate-related projects and partners. Meet climate & environmental justice leaders on the front lines.

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Get Off Your Assets

Starting in 2019, Tides issued an enduring call to our donors that it’s time to “get off your assets” and put donor advised fund (DAF) dollars to work on the urgent social and environmental justice issues facing the U.S. and the world. As we shared last year, the response was inspiring as disbursements from Tides DAFs grew by 75 percent between 2019 and 2020.

And yet the scale of the climate crisis demands we do even more, even faster. The latest report from the U.N. International Panel on Climate Change paints a stark picture of the need for urgent action to avoid “profound consequences for the world’s social, economic, and natural systems.”

Of course, some communities face harsher and more existential consequences from climate change and environmental pollution than others. These same communities are leading the way to climate solutions and climate justice. They are smart, savvy campaigners who are facing David vs. Goliath odds every day — and winning. And yet, a recent study showed that just 1.3 percent of grants from 12 national grant makers in the Gulf South and Midwest went to community-based environmental justice organizations. At Tides, we aim to change that.

Tides Solutions for Boosting Your Climate Giving

In order to meet the pressing demand for climate action, Tides is asking donors to increase climate giving this year by 25 percent with a focus on shifting power and supporting the leadership of communities most impacted by the climate crisis. We offer a range of solutions to help you get there:

Tides-led climate initiatives. Tides leads two grantmaking initiatives specifically focused on supporting grassroots, BIPOC-led action on climate change. These include: WE LEAD (the Women’s Environmental Leadership Fund), which was created to elevate, center, and resource women’s grassroots leadership on climate change; and the Frontline Justice Fund, which supports frontline groups combining public mobilization and legal strategies to protect the climate and reduce pollution.

Tides partner projects. Tides is pleased to support a number of partner-led projects focused on community climate action. These include: Mosaic, a national participatory grantmaking initiative investing in shared tools and resources to strengthen the movement for clean air and water, healthy communities, and a safer climate; the Green New Deal Network, a 50-state campaign working to build grassroots coalitions and drive policies that advance climate justice; and the Climate and Community Project, which works to connect the demands of the climate justice movement with the policy process.

Impact investing. In 2022, we have an estimated $200 million invested in climate-related strategies and projects. We regularly help donors put their DAF dollars to work in smart investments that also deliver real returns for the climate and the environment. It’s a great way to complement your grantmaking to grassroots nonprofits.

Custom-built climate grant portfolios. Tides also works with donors to create custom grant portfolios that drive their DAF resources to nonprofits working on a range of climate and environmental issues. Our advisors can identify nonprofits that resonate with your goals and interests that meet the needs of frontline groups.

Tides is asking donors to increase climate giving this year by 25 percent with a focus on shifting power and supporting the leadership of communities most impacted by the climate crisis. (Photo © Zayn Thiam)

For individual donors, identifying grassroots, BIPOC-led climate justice organizations doing good and important work can be overwhelming, but Tides makes it easy. Across the country, we’re working with and supporting groups engaged in organizing, policy advocacy, community-led litigation, and other essential activities to protect the climate.

In effect, Tides is well positioned to be your eyes and ears on the ground. We are in community with other funders, both local and national; we understand where there are gaps and urgent opportunities; and we know and appreciate the leaders on the frontlines who are doing the hard work and need to be resourced.

What can one person do to tackle climate change? For Tides donors, the answer is simple: you can make a world of difference. Contact your Tides advisor or [email protected] today to find out more.

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