Climate Change Solutions

Please note that as of December 2015 and until further notice, the Climate Change Solutions program will not accept funding requests from organizations not currently funded by the Foundation. We are currently reviewing program guidelines and expect to post updated information in December 2016.

The Foundation’s Climate Change Solutions program builds on past Mertz Gilmore investments to study climate change, promote climate-friendly energy usage, and develop renewable energy sources in the U.S. The Foundation identified global warming as a critical issue in 1984 and began making grants. By 1987, global warming had become a primary focus of the Foundation’s environmental grantmaking, with an emphasis on domestic policy and public education. In 1997, Mertz Gilmore became a funding partner of the Energy Foundation, a funder collaborative that promotes permanent shifts in energy policy and practice. That partnership resulted in nearly $24 million in grants over 14 years. In 2007, the Board approved a new grants program to help bring about substantial reductions in global warming pollution through targeted investments in sustainable policy and practice. The Foundation currently makes grants in the three strategic categories listed below.

I. Alternatives to coal-fired power plants: Beginning in 2007, the Foundation was an early partner in a national effort to prevent and reduce the global warming pollution from coal-fired power plants. The diligent efforts of local, regional, and national non-profit environmental advocates, working in collaboration, helped communities avoid building unnecessary coal plants and helped utilities begin to transition the oldest and most polluting plants to cleaner, more efficient sources of energy. 

Beginning in 2014, program support in this category began to shift away from coal plant campaigns and to focus on hastening the clean energy transition, especially by promoting offshore wind, with a continued focus on the Southeast region. The program also supports special advocacy opportunities to help lower the costs of, or remove barriers to, clean energy at regional or national scale.

II. New York City: As a New York City-based funder, the Foundation has supported local progress to address climate change since 2007. Since the world’s cities account for 70% of greenhouse gas emissions*, we are interested in New York City projects that can serve as models for large metropolitan initiatives elsewhere. The Foundation supports innovative efforts that will lead to significant and sustainable reductions in global warming pollution and serve as useful demonstration projects. Additional emphasis is placed on projects that actively promote successful New York City initiatives in other cities.

(*United National Human Settlements Program, 2011 estimate)

III. New Constituencies and approaches for a national climate movement: The country’s failure to develop adequate and binding policies for reducing global warming pollution requires urgent new approaches and constituencies to demand national policy and U.S. leadership in the world. Environmentalists have worked tirelessly to build coalitions and drive policy in recent years, and the Foundation has sought to expand upon this leadership by supporting new initiatives either to:

  • Engage new constituencies, on a broad scale, in a meaningful effort to push for strong and binding national policy;
  • Test new approaches to fostering leadership and motivating action, on a broad scale, to reduce global warming pollution;
  • Generate broader grassroots civic engagement and catalyze volunteer activism.


2016 GRANTS (Updated May 2016)

Alternatives to Coal-Fired Power Plants
Appalachian Voices
$55,000 for one year to advance clean energy transition in the Southeast and Appalachia.

Center for Popular Democracy (Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment)
$40,000 for one year to support the Peabody Organizing Projects.

Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis
$75,000 for one year to support the Clean Energy Transition Project.

Kentucky Coalition (Kentuckians for the Commonwealth)
$75,000 for one year to support the New Energy and Transition Program.

Public Justice Foundation
$35,000 for one year to support the Coal Ash and Climate Change Litigation Project.

Rockefeller Family Fund (Just Transition Fund)
$50,000 for one year to contribute to the Just Transition Fund.

Sierra Club Foundation
$75,000 for one year to support the Ready for 100 Campaign.

Southern Environmental Law Center
$75,000 for one year to move the Southeast toward a clean energy future.

Voices for a Sustainable Future (Labor Network for Sustainability)
$40,000 for one year to promote a just transition away from non-sustainable energy sources.

New York City
Alliance for a Greater New York
$50,000 for one year to provide general support for campaigns to promote economic and environmental justice.

CEC Stuyvesant Cove (Solar One)
$50,000 for one year to support the Here Comes Solar initiative.

Pratt Institute (Pratt Center for Community Development)
$80,000 over two years to support community planning and sustainability initiatives. (Year 2)

New Constituencies and Approaches
$100,000 for one year to provide general support.

CEL Education Fund (Climate Parents)
$50,000 for one year to mobilize parents in climate campaigns.

Movement Strategy Center (Climate Justice Alliance)
$100,000 for one year to support the Our Power Campaign.

Neo Philanthropy (Building Equity and Alignment for Impact)
$75,000 for one year to help develop a communications strategy.

New Energy Economy
$50,000 for one year to provide general support.

Rainforest Action Network
$50,000 for one year to support the Climate and Energy Program.

Sustainable Markets Foundation
$75,000 for one year to support projects related to climate change.