Five Georgia Foundations Launch Drawdown Georgia Climate Solutions and Equity Grant

From Drawdown Georgia

In October 2020, the Ray C. Anderson Foundation launched Drawdown Georgia after funding an 18-month collaboration between researchers at Emory University, Georgia State University, Georgia Tech, and the University of Georgia. That work identified 20 high-impact climate solutions that would put Georgia on a path to drawdown – that point in the future when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline. In doing so, Georgia became the first state to localize the methodology of Project Drawdown, which pioneered a global blueprint for reversing global warming by scaling market-ready climate solutions.

Since that time, Drawdown Georgia has been bringing together businesses, universities, NGOs, policymakers, and other stakeholders to collaborate on climate in Georgia, with a goal of reducing the state's carbon impact by 30 percent by 2030. At the same time, our state's climate solutions can advance other priorities beyond carbon, including equity, health, economic opportunity, and the health of the natural environment.

The most recent collaboration comes from the philanthropic sector. Last month, five Georgia-based family foundations announced a joint request for proposals that will deploy Drawdown Georgia climate solutions while also advancing equity in Georgia's low-income, BIPOC communities. The opportunity is called the Drawdown Georgia Climate Solutions and Equity Grant, and the five foundations are the R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation, the Kendeda Fund, the Wilbur & Hilda Glenn Family Foundation, the Sapelo Foundation, and the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. The application process will open on August 1, 2022 and letters of introduction will be due by August 31, 2022. An informational webinar will be held at 1:00pm ET on Thursday, July 28.

"It's easy to feel overwhelmed in the face of climate change, to wonder how one could possibly make a difference in the face of such a large problem," said David Weitnauer, president of the R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation. "Thanks to Drawdown Georgia, we have a statewide road map of very practical climate solutions – solutions that work on a local level – ready for implementation.

"The Dobbs Foundation is especially excited about this new collaborative grantmaking initiative and we're grateful to be part of it," Weitnauer added. "Our goal is to fuel neighborhood-level climate work in places that have been historically marginalized, communities that are largely people of color. We know there are leaders, organizations, and partnerships rooted in those communities doing important work – some that reflect Drawdown Georgia solutions and also projects that are closely aligned. Due to a host of inequities, including the manner in which institutional philanthropy has operated, they typically don't have the resources needed to take their work as far or as deep as it needs to go. It's an urgent combination: climate and equity."

Climate change is impacting all communities in Georgia. People from the mountains to the coast are feeling the effects in a variety of ways. This includes the health impacts of extreme heat and the property loss associated with flooding and other natural disasters.

"Firsthand and repeatedly, I have seen the outsized impact of nonprofit grantee partners collaborating to advance a common goal – and foundations are always so supportive of those collaborations," said Christine Reeves Strigaro, executive director of The Sapelo Foundation. "Now, it is such an honor to be a part of a collaboration of five foundations with the triple goals of expanding awareness and goals of the Drawdown Georgia equitable climate solutions, financially supporting a cohort of grantee partners committed to advancing one or more of those equitable climate solutions, and to ensuring that communities – including rural communities, communities of color, and other communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change – are a part of the solutions. Climate change solutions take a village."

The Drawdown Georgia Climate Solutions and Equity grant will fund at least four, two-year grants of up to $100,000 per year for work to be conducted in 2023-2024. The grant will prioritize projects that support the growth of equity and climate solutions in low-income, BIPOC communities on the front lines of climate impacts in Georgia. The grant will focus on the places where these front-line climate impacts intersect with 10 climate solutions: Alternative Transportation, Composting, Coastal Wetlands Protection, Conservation Agriculture, Energy Efficiency Improvements, Food Waste Reduction, Large-Scale Solar, Plant-Forward Diet, Rooftop Solar, and Tree Planting.

Philanthropy Southeast members are encouraged to share this grant opportunity widely with their grantees and with others who are working on climate and equity. The funding partners for this grant also welcome other funders to inquire about becoming part of this collaborative funding opportunity. More information on the grant process is available at Drawdown Georgia's website. Additional questions can be directed to:


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