by Ronnie Brown, Interim CEO & Philanthropy Director
We’ve had funds focused on supporting environmental projects for over 20 years. In fact one of the community energy funds we currently manage is opening for applications next week. It supports projects that reduce fuel poverty and increase access to affordable energy, reduce fossil fuel consumption and raise awareness of climate change and local climate action.
Supporting projects that will be frontline in the response to climate change
We know how important these local voluntary organisations have been during the Covid crisis. They’ve been vital in creating resilience within those communities most affected by the crisis.
As our Vital Signs report shows, we know these same communities are likely to be disproportionately affected by the climate emergency. And that local voluntary organisations will continue to be on the frontline of support for these communities.
Yet the consequences of the pandemic means they are already stretched, trying to provide increasingly complex services with declining resources.
Growing endowment helps us take action now and long-term
So over the next period we’re committed to investing more in increasing their capacity, supporting them in the work they do to build local resilience and address inequality. This is long-term work. Thanks to the endowment fund we have the ability to both act now and take a long-term approach to climate change. And this is the best way we believe we can contribute to the local response to the climate emergency.
Signed: The Funder Commitment on Climate Change
We’ve recently signed the Funder Commitment on Climate Change, initiated by ACF – representing over £4bn of UK charitable trust funding. Signing this pledge commits us to action in a number of areas:
· to educate ourselves and to share our learning
· to commit resources to address climate change
· to look at all we do, and invest in, through the prism of its impact on the environment
· it also commits us to sharing our progress with others.
I think here we have to have a bit of humility – we, like many others, are on a journey, we don’t have the answers and we need to learn from others. For example, we have strong relationships with some of the voluntary organisations working in this area. As we develop a more intentional response to addressing the climate emergency through our grant-making, we want to work closely with them. We’d welcome their expertise to shape how we can best use the philanthropic funds that are trusted to us.