The Foundation’s Core Fund Environment Program supports a variety of organizations seeking to protect the natural and human environment and to create a sustainable future. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to: energy and climate, marine preservation, clean drinking water, and urban sustainability (targeted primarily in the New York City region). Over the past two decades, the Foundation has increasingly focused on climate change, one of the most fundamental and potentially catastrophic environmental challenges of the 21st century. In addition to efforts focused directly on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by curtailing the use of fossil fuels, increasing efficiency, and encouraging renewable technologies, the Foundation funds related mitigation and adaptation efforts in the areas of suburban sprawl, mass transit, green jobs, and bio-diversity. Because people experience and understand national and global environmental issues, including climate change, most palpably and deeply through local manifestations—in the loss or change of a local habitat, the health effects of a local coal-fired power plant, or through the creation of local high-tech/green jobs—the Foundation has emphasized efforts that mobilize residents to identify and advocate for community-initiated sustainable advances. Climate adaptation is a growing interest of the Foundation.
Recognizing that solid scientific, technological, policy, and economic analysis is a necessary, but not sufficient, driver of salutary environmental change, the Foundation supports public education, advocacy, and community organizing as critical strategies to broadly engage and mobilize the public. In particular, the Foundation supports grassroots organizing and leadership development, not only as an effective strategy to reach improved environmental outcomes, but also as a goal in-and-of-itself, based on the belief that a broadly active populace is critical to the creation of a just and healthy society and biosphere. The Foundation also focuses on the protection and mobilization of marginalized and low-income communities, as well as communities of color, recognizing that solving their environmental challenges drives society-wide environmental protection and sustainable innovation. In addition, the Foundation values legal and policy advocacy as a tool to leverage environmental gains.
Cities, with their high concentration of people, resources, and economic activity, create unique environmental challenges, but also offer unique opportunities to address climate change and other environmental concerns. The Foundation pays particular attention to New York City, working to improve its public transportation infrastructure, protect its drinking water supply and preserve and expand its parks and open green spaces, primarily in low-income neighborhoods.
The Foundation maintains its commitment to general operating support, especially to smaller neighborhood groups for whom the capacity to respond quickly and imaginatively to new opportunities and challenges is critical. For larger and policy-focused groups, and, in the case of collaborative campaigns, project-specific support may be appropriate.
Type & Size of Grants
General operating and project grants considered. Grants average $35,000 over two-years.
Core Fund Environment Program will not fund:
- Land Conservation
- Projects with a focus outside the U.S.