Environmental & Climate Justice

The Outcomes We Seek

  • Adoption of Just Transition

    A Just Transition recognizes that a healthy economy and a clean environment can co-exist.  We support a vision-led, unifying and place-based set of principles, processes and practices that builds economic and political power and works to shift from an extractive economy (one that relies on the extraction of labor, natural resources, culture) to a regenerative economy.

  • Increased Power in Communities Most Impacted

    We are committed to recognizing, listening to and moving resources in support of existing grassroots and frontline leaders in the environmental and climate justice movements as they continue to build their political, economic and cultural power.

  • Improved Policies Rooted in Environmental & Climate Justice Solutions

    We support policy changes that work towards reducing racial disparities of environmental and climate impacts.  These solutions will reduce carbon emissions and address environmental problems that ensure the right of all people to live, learn, work and play in safe, healthy and clean environments.

  • Increased Environmental Funding

    Leading by example, we aim to increase environmental funding from public and private sources to frontline and grassroots organizations and movements with a racial equity lens.

People of color and low-wealth people, particularly those living in frontline communities, are faced with disproportionate, negative impacts of environmental degradation, climate change and failing infrastructure, and have been plagued by decades of disinvestment and racist planning practices. Historic power imbalances from centuries of structural racism have resulted in the people most affected by environmental impacts being the least heard and valued.

The environmental and climate justice movements address this disparity by centering impacted communities in the design and implementation of climate solutions. These interrelated movements encourage self-determination of all people and are opposed to the role of trans/multi-national corporations in environmentally decimating communities.

Through deep collaboration with our grantee partners and philanthropic colleagues, we intentionally support people and organizations that build power within communities of color and low-wealth communities to address the systemic environmental injustices caused by historic power imbalance.  These movements are highly informed and have their own analysis about advancing environmental and climate justice solutions and the Sustainable Environments program elevates this work as it is organized in the field by naming both movements.

We use a variety of tools beyond grantmaking such as convenings, program related investments, and communications to play a role in shifting investments to frontline and grassroots organizations, particularly those led by people of color.

VIDEO: Helen Chin, Program Director for Sustainable Environments discusses why and how the foundation supports Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities to advance equity.

Selection Criteria

Represent and Reflect Communities

We prioritize support for organizations led by individuals who represent and reflect the communities they serve.

Deeply Rooted Relationships

We support organizations whose leaders have developed deeply rooted relationships in the communities they serve.

Campaigns and Policy Design

We support organizations that are able to elevate and advance equity through campaign and policy design.

Build Power and Leadership

We support campaigns designed to build power and leadership among grassroots and frontline organizations.

Build Capacity

We support groups that help our grantee partners develop the skills, knowledge and institutional and network capacity to advance their agendas.

Environmental & Climate Justice

You can explore recent Environmental & Climate Justice grants below.
And view other Sustainable Environments grants in our database.

Year Approved
Organization
Status
Amount
Duration
2021 Action Center on Race and the Economy Institute Path Created with Sketch.

The purpose of this grant is general operating support.

Active $175,000 24 months
2021 Building Equity and Alignment for Impact Path Created with Sketch.

The purpose of this grant is general program support to Building Equity and Alignment for Impact.

Active $375,000 36 months
2021 California Environmental Justice Alliance Path Created with Sketch.

The purpose of this grant is to provide general program support to the California Environmental Justice Alliance.

Active $450,000 36 months
2021 ALIGN: the Alliance for a Greater New York Path Created with Sketch.

The purpose of this grant is general operating support.

Active $300,000 36 months
2021 Emerald Cities Collaborative, Inc. Path Created with Sketch.

The purpose of this grant is general operating support.

Active $200,000 24 months
2021 Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy Path Created with Sketch.

The purpose of this grant is to support Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy’s project, Gulf South for a Green New Deal Community-Controlled Fund.

Active $600,000 36 months
2021 Ironbound Community Corporation Path Created with Sketch.

The purpose of this grant is general operating support for the Ironbound Community Corporation. 

Active $450,000 36 months

Related News & Insights

News
February 5, 2021

Surdna Joins the Climate Funders Justice Pledge

“Surdna was proud to support Building Equity and Alignment for Impact’s (BEA) report, which found that 12 national environmental funders gave just 1.3% of their annual giving to environmental justice groups. There is an abundance of BIPOC-led…

Staff Perspectives
September 21, 2020

Watch: Helen Chin on the Intersection of Environmental, Economic, and Racial Justice

"To address climate and environmental inequities, we need to think holistically about the role of race and what justice means. We need to look at all aspects of our life. And acknowledge that the root of many injustices is the commoditization of…

Sustainable Environments
August 11, 2020

Equitable Evaluation: Learning with the Frontlines of Racial Justice

How can we in philanthropy do a better job of supporting the kind of collaboration and shared learning that grassroots organizations need to grow their movements? In 2019, the Surdna Foundation Sustainable Environments team set out to better…

Sustainable Environments
August 11, 2020

CFF 2020 Food Movement Support Fund

The CFF 2020 Food Movement Support Fund is a one-time grant program administered by Community Food Funders (CFF) and North Star Fund. Surdna is a member of the Community Food Funders, a network of foundations in the NY-NJ-CT area that support…

News
March 25, 2019

Sustainable Environments' Learning Summaries

With the closeout of the Sustainable Environments Program's Transportation, Regional Food Supply, and Urban Stormwater Management lines of work, Surdna produced a series of learning summaries that capture the lessons learned from funding in those…

News
December 5, 2018

How NFG is Disrupting Funder-Grantee Dynamics

Helen Chin has just led the Surdna Foundation’s Sustainable Environments Program through a strategy refinement process. “Now,” she says, with satisfaction, “We are able to connect more robustly with what’s bubbling from the ground…

Staff Perspectives
October 11, 2018

Philanthropic Leadership Means Following the Frontlines

When we talk about “building the capacity” of frontline and grassroots leaders who are changing structures, policies, and systems, what does that really mean for funders? Many funders use antiquated and static systems of inquiry to identify and…

You can explore recent Environmental & Climate Justice grants below.
And view other Sustainable Environments grants in our database.

Year Approved
Organization
Status
Amount
Duration
2021 Action Center on Race and the Economy Institute Path Created with Sketch.

The purpose of this grant is general operating support.

Active $175,000 24 months
2021 Building Equity and Alignment for Impact Path Created with Sketch.

The purpose of this grant is general program support to Building Equity and Alignment for Impact.

Active $375,000 36 months
2021 California Environmental Justice Alliance Path Created with Sketch.

The purpose of this grant is to provide general program support to the California Environmental Justice Alliance.

Active $450,000 36 months
2021 ALIGN: the Alliance for a Greater New York Path Created with Sketch.

The purpose of this grant is general operating support.

Active $300,000 36 months
2021 Emerald Cities Collaborative, Inc. Path Created with Sketch.

The purpose of this grant is general operating support.

Active $200,000 24 months
2021 Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy Path Created with Sketch.

The purpose of this grant is to support Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy’s project, Gulf South for a Green New Deal Community-Controlled Fund.

Active $600,000 36 months
2021 Ironbound Community Corporation Path Created with Sketch.

The purpose of this grant is general operating support for the Ironbound Community Corporation. 

Active $450,000 36 months