Catskill Mountainkeeper's Climatekeeper® program seeks to nurture and facilitate meaningful collaboration between frontline organizations, funders, and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working to tackle the climate crisis. To address the racial, economic, and gender inequities inherent in the climate crisis, we host deep dialogues on strategy, policy, and movement alignment that build bridges and foster deeper communication between grassroots groups, foundations, and larger national groups. Our goal is to break down historic barriers that prevent effective collaboration at a time when it’s more important than ever that the movement come together to face the challenges and opportunities that the climate crisis presents.
Less than one percent of the approximately $1.6 billion in climate funding that foundations granted in 2019 went toward grassroots organizing and other efforts to achieve climate solutions centered around racial, gender, and economic equity, according to the ClimateWorks Foundation. Contributing causes for this disparity include historical biases against women, people of color, indigenous communities, and others, as well as structural/capacity challenges that impede the efforts of small groups to access foundation funding for their work.
While some efforts are being made to address these biases and challenges,they aren’t happening quickly enough, and are often done in a piecemeal, uncoordinated fashion. The Covid pandemic and the Black Live Matters movement have inspired foundations to allocate significant new resources to grassroots organizations, but the disparity gap remains quite large, and there is no guarantee that these new resource allocations will continue beyond the coming year.
That's why Mountainkeeper’s Climatekeeper program focuses on building deep, long-term relationships between grassroots and other small organizations and funders.
Mountainkeeper has a deep well of experience in fostering these essential relationships. We serve as the anchor organization for the Extreme Energy Extraction Collaborative (E3C), which holds annual Summits that bring together climate justice activists from across the country to engage and strategize with each other and with national green groups. These gatherings provide a space for participants to have the important and sometimes tough conversations around equity issues hat don't usually happen back home.
Over the course of nine E3C Summits, participants have identified the common values and visions that bind us together across our differences, and wrestled with difficult issues like inequities of funding and power and race. Organizers have learned about--and from--each other's campaigns and brainstormed projects to work on together.
Mountainkeeper also works with the Building Equity and Alignment for Impact (BEAI) Initiative, which instigates cross-sector strategies to get funding and resources to the grassroots organizations that need it most.
And we are working with partners at NY Renews to ensure that the New York effectively implements the nation-leading Climate and Community Protection Act, and build support for passage of the Climate and Community Investment Act, which will fund a just transition to renewable energy paid for by polluter penalties. In all this work, the goal is to foster effective climate policy centered in justice and equity.
The issues that Climatekeeper is tackling are complex and entrenched, and we know they will be difficult to solve. But this work is more critical than ever, and we're committed to working over the long term to build the kind of collaborative community needed to achieve our ambitious goals for just, equitable climate solutions.