Climate Justice Requires Intersectional Solidarity & Philanthropic Partners Willing to Buck Billionaire Trend

Summer 2023 issue of NCRP’s online journal, Responsive Philanthropy, kicks off NCRP’s multi-year campaign to get grantmakers to invest more in grassroots climate justice solutions and away from the
billionaires whose actions continue to extend the crisis.  

Washington DC- With soaring temperatures intensifying summer wildfires, storms and other climate disasters, grassroots leaders are calling on grantmakers to turn toward viable community-oriented solutions to address the crisis and away from billionaire vanity projects that do more to repeat the systemic mistakes of the past than forge a just and healthy planet.

This is the cumulative conclusion of the stories in the summer 2023 issue of Responsive Philanthropy, the online journal of the DC-based National Commitee for Responsive Philanthropy. The recent publication from the 47-year-old philanthropic advocacy organization features intersectional essays from the Chisholm Legacy Project’s Jacqueline Paterson, the Climate Justice Alliance’s Co-Executive Director Marrion Gee, the Leadership Team at the Clima Fund, Native Americans in Philanthropy’s (NAP) Dawn Knickerbocker and Chorus Foundation Founder & Chair (and NCRP Board Member) Farhad Ebrahimi.

“The devastation of a rapidly heating planet has been an ongoing concern for leaders in every sector, so the question for philanthropy has always been how best to address the climate crisis not whether it should,” says NCRP President & Executive Director Aaron Dorfman. “Will the sector step up and support the grassroots groups and impacted communities that are already leading the way? If they do and specifically support a movement of Black, Indigenous and people of color fighting to protect their water, air, and their communities, they have the potential of shifting the entire sector and the practice of philanthropy.”

We Need a Just Transition Now – for communities, Mother Earth and philanthropy
The summer issue of NCRP’s online journal kicks off a multi-year campaign encouraging grantmakers to prioritize a just transition away from an extractive to a regenerative economy that invests in community and frontline power, redistributes resources equitably, and upholds deep democracy and self-determination.

Working with funders and non-profits, NCRP researchers and organizers will amplify those who are leading the shift away from often experimental and profit driven billionaire false solutions and toward community-centered, grassroots projects. Unlike false solutions, which are often detached from frontline community participation, grassroots designed plans often focus both on small scale quality-of-life improvements and systemic/institutional change.
“Without much public fanfare or resources, frontline organizations and organized impacted communities are finding some success in building community resilience and pushing back against some of the worst impacts of climate crisis,” says NCRP’s Senior Movement Engagement Associate for Climate Justice Senowa Mize-Fox. “By centering their multiple, smaller scale holistic solutions, funders have an opportunity to help create a tidal wave effect, leading us to the cleaner, healthier planet that all communities deserve.”

As Chorus Foundation’s Farhad Ebrahimi notes, the sector should be guided by investing in power-building and sharing solutions that ultimately lessens the oversized influence of wealthy foundations and donors.

“What does it look like to support the kind of infrastructure at the community level that credibly makes them that much less dependent on outside philanthropic or investment organizations such as our own?”


The following articles and all past issues of Responsive Philanthropy are available at no cost on NCRP’s website

Chorus Foundation Retrospective: A Q&A with Founder & Chair Farhad Ebrahimi
NCRP’s Senowa Mize-Fox chats with NCRP Board Member and Chorus Foundation Founder and Chair Farhad Ebrahimi on what funder organizing looks like in the context of a just transition.

Displaced On Repeat: Black Americans and Climate Forced Migration
Jacqueline Patterson, Founder and Executive Director of the Chisholm Legacy Project, writes about how the climate change that is forcing millions around the world to flee to America is also driving the internal migration of frontline Black and Latine peoples in the South and Southeast.

Philanthropy Must Jumpstart Just Transition to a Regenerative Economy
Marion Gee, Co-Executive Director of the Climate Justice Alliance, discusses the different regenerative practices that grantmakers and intermediaries can implement to address the climate crisis in a way that builds up, rather than steals from, impacted communities.

Putting ‘Justice’ in ‘Climate Justice Philanthropy’
The Clima Fund Leadership Team of Laura Garcia, Chung-Wha Hong, Kate Kroeger, and Solomé Lemma describe their grantmaking experiences supporting and engaging with frontline organizations in new, innovative, but non-extractive, ways.

The Community at the Center: The Interplay Between the ICWA Decision and Environmental Justice
Dawn Knickerbocker (Anishinaabe), Vice President of Communications and External Affairs for Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP), shares a very personal reflection of connection between Indigenous sovereignty and climate justice through the struggle to uphold 1978’s Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).


The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) has served as philanthropy’s critical friend and independent watchdog since 1976. We work with foundations, nonprofits, social justice movements and other leaders to ensure that the sector is transparent with, and accountable to, those with the least wealth, power, and opportunity in American society.

Our storytelling, advocacy and research efforts, in partnership with grantees, help funders fulfill their moral and practical duty to build, share and wield economic resources and power to serve public purposes in pursuit of justice.

Together, we can create a just and equitable world where all communities get the resources they need to thrive.