Environmental grantmaking

Environmental issues in general, and climate change in particular, pose some of the greatest challenges of our time. There is much that grantmakers - both individually and collectively - can do to help.

How should we go about directing funding to environmental causes?

"Environmental causes" encompasses a great many sub-topics and a wide variety of groups and projects. There are so many environmental causes, in fact, that it can be difficult for grantmakers to know where to start.

Assistance is available from the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network (AEGN). You don't have to be a member to gain access to resources that can help you decide where to give and how to go about it. If do become a member, though, you can network, access learning opportunities and collaborate on projects.

The AEGN's website lists nine broad environmental themes:

  • land and biodiversity
  • indigenous land and sea management
  • toxics
  • sustainable economy
  • sustainable cities
  • marine environment
  • sustainable agriculture
  • climate change
  • inland waters.

The website also sets out a 10-step guide to environmental grantmaking. The 10 steps will help you to work through, among other things:

  • the region, issues and people you want to focus on
  • the problem and the available solutions ("the difficult bit")
  • the types of funding you might give (one large, transformative grant versus several smaller grants, for example)
  • who you will fund.

How do environmental issues affect other grantmaking initiatives?

You can apply a "climate lens" to all of the grantmaking you do. You can:

  • try to predict how climate change might erode the achievements of your funded projects
  • identify opportunities for addressing climate change that might benefit your existing program areas
  • see whether there are any leverage points that could provide positive outcomes for the program area and address climate change at the same time.

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