The 19th: This woman-led philanthropy is cutting billionaires out of climate funding decisions
The 19th – Jul 14, 2023
By Jessica Kutz
Isabelle Leighton, executive director of the Donors of Color Network, a community of donors that formed in 2019, said that many foundations don’t have people from the community they are aiming to serve in decision-making power. She likes that this fund centers those people as experts.
“If you are not in a position where you’re willing to listen to the people in the community and to have your portfolios defined by what the needs are directly from the people in the community, then you’re always going to miss the mark,” she said.
A few years ago, the New School published a report showing that just 1.3 percent of funding from 12 national environmental grantmakers was going to environmental justice work, Leighton said. That statistic prompted the Donors of Color network to launch their own initiative, the Climate Justice Funders Pledge, aimed at securing pledges from the top climate funders in the country to direct 30 percent of their philanthropic giving to BIPOC-led organizations. In April they announced they had secured $120 million in pledges.
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