First round of funding from the Foundation’s USD 1 billion climate strategy goes to 25 grantees to improve global food and health security, curb coal, increase solar energy access, and more
NEW YORK | November 8, 2023 ― As the first part of its recently finalized 5-year climate strategy, The Rockefeller Foundation announces over USD 11 million to advance a range of climate solutions in low- and middle-income countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as communities across the United States. In collaboration with 25 organizations, this funding supports activities meant to promote concerted climate action and seize the climate transition’s opportunities and benefits for the billions of people who have historically been denied them. To further that work, the Foundation is providing additional grants to address global food and health security, curb coal, increase solar energy, grow climate finance, scale regenerative agriculture, develop high potential data-science-led climate projects, support indigenous communities, and help communities address health impacts from climate change.
“These grants are the start of our work to operationalize our $1 billion big bet to break down the barriers preventing so many people around the world from the transformations that are essential to speeding opportunity and slowing climate change,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “With these first commitments, we are showing how we are reimagining the Rockefeller Foundation’s 110-year-old model of scientific philanthropy for the climate era, seeking to scale novel solutions with investments and partnerships.”
This new announcement represents The Rockefeller Foundation’s first bundle of commitments since announcing during the United Nations General Assembly meetings in September it would invest over $1 billion to advance people-centered climate action. More than half of these first grants are from the Foundation’s Climate Exploration Fund, which is strategically designed to support a broad-range of projects that will inform future work, test hypotheses, and identify novel partners. The initial commitments include 18 grants totaling over $7.5 million to support:
- American Conservation Coalition to support the convening of a youth roundtable to discuss U.S. climate policy across ideologies and demonstrate the importance of collective action, across differences, to combat climate change;
- Climate Mayors, C40, and Urban Sustainability Directors Network to collaboratively support mayors and their staff to expand their leadership role in the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act on the ground in their communities;
- CNN Academy to support a comprehensive media training program for young journalists across the Global South, who are dedicated to shedding light on the profound effects of the climate crisis within their home countries;
- org via New Venture Fund to identify and design the most effective, community-durable, high-potential data science-based climate interventions to inform the creation of communities and open-source digital public goods that can be used at scale by many organizations;
- Dalberg Catalyst to better understand and address the impacts of extreme heat on the health of urban citizens – 50% of the world’s population – the Foundation and Dalberg Catalyst are working with the Chief Heat Officer of Santiago in the Republic of Chile and three former Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center residents to co-create an “Adaptive Cities” integrated data and analytics with potential to be replicated in other contexts and contribute to broader health and well-being outcomes on a global scale;
- East-West Center to bring together community leaders, local researchers, and civil society representatives, as well as indigenous communities across six countries (People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Republic of India, Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Kingdom of Thailand, Kingdom of Cambodia, and Republic of Indonesia), to discuss their needs and concerns around livelihoods and climate change, and to strategize on how to address these concerns through community-responsive policy and investment;
- Elemental Excelerator to help fill both the financing and knowledge gap for entrepreneurs bringing critical decarbonization technologies from demonstration to commercial scale in frontline communities in the United States;
- Global Resilient Cities Network, together with Yale University, to support Urban Pulse: Climate, Health and Equity in Action, an urban health scoping program that facilitates the exchange of practical knowledge on climate resilient urban health system adaptations and improves the capacity of cities to plan, resource and implement proven interventions;
- Hivos Foundation to facilitate an intercultural dialogue and create an analysis that identifies and provides visibility to the challenges of the Amazonian peoples regarding the relationship between health and climate change; understand their vision of climate change; and through their ancestral knowledge, identify their strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate impacts on health;
- International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) to support the health-research institutepilot and assess the feasibility of the national climate-informed hospital emergency preparedness and response plan, continue ongoing wastewater surveillance and integration of meteorological variables to predict climate sensitivity of the target diseases, and integrate wastewater surveillance in government information system as a tool for driving interventions for planning and response;
- Makerere University School of Public Health to help support the development of the Republic of Uganda’s first Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment (VAA) to uncover health system vulnerabilities to the risks of climate change, and the Health National Adaptation Plan which will outline possible adaptation measures the government and partners can put in place to improve health system resilience against climate change;
- Migration Policy Institute to build a cross-disciplinary, global landscaping of the climate-migration nexus by bringing together different perspectives and geographies to breakdown the silos between migration and climate experts;
- The Open Contracting Partnership in collaboration with CivicDataLab are supporting three states in the Republic of India to address the gap in accessing and harnessing high quality open data to transform public procurement for the better. This collaboration will deliver a functional and scalable, intelligent data science model that helps government agencies to make data-driven decisions to improve disaster risk reduction and protect the most vulnerable people from the adverse effects of climate change;
- Stiftelsen The Stockholm Environment Institute to further investigate how policy frameworks and strategies in four Asian countries can be improved to enable the development of inclusive climate finance pipelines, which will lead to a roadmap to address these gaps through the pilot of a capacity development program to enable climate finance flows from investors to local communities.
- Too Small to Fail, an initiative of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation,to develop a framework and narrative that provides an overview of the impact of climate change on young children’s healthy development for entertainment industry executives, writers, and content producers to consider incorporating into storylines.
- The University of the West Indies to support the development of a study that quantifies the impact of climate change on health, to present the cost of inaction and formulate the case for investments in health in response to the threat of climate change.
- University of Arizona to support the revitalization of Tribal foodways in the Southwest by scaling native, nutrient dense, and climate smart seeds and the proliferation of the regenerative practice; as well as developing an Indigenous Data Governance Model to create trusted pathways for knowledge, data, and practice sharing;
- World Wildlife Fund to develop methods to document, preserve, and improve upon scalable deep regenerative agricultural practices of the indigenous and local peoples in the mountains of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. This work will catalog the chemical composition of 15 traditional foods, their cultural importance and contexts, and strategies for adapting their production to climate change. This work will contribute data and demonstrate site findings to the Periodic Table of Food Initiative (PTFI), for which The Rockefeller Foundation is a leading partner.
“As we pursue our five-year climate strategy, The Rockefeller Foundation acknowledges that we have a great deal to learn. Deepening our understanding of climate development by partnering with communities on their priorities, enables us to learn and accelerate a sustainable future, ensuring that every investment we make, catalyzes positive change for generations to come,” said Elizabeth Yee, Executive Vice President for Programs. “Climate change is unlike any challenge the Foundation—or humanity—has ever faced, and it requires us to continue to reimagine our work.”
In addition to the exploratory grants, the Foundation also announced more than $3.5 million in support for organizations in its four core focus areas: power, health, food, and finance. Each of these grants is meant to advance specific solutions that will speed the transformations within these systems necessary to both lift up lives and lower emissions. This includes supporting:
- AgMIP, in collaboration with the University of Ghana, and Havos.ai, to analyze the challenges to food systems posed by climate change and to understand how the most nutritious and underutilized crops in Africa can feed the world, in support of the Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils (VACS) initiative;
- The Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) to catalyze regenerative agriculture practices, minimize climate change impacts, and promote sustainable food production in Southeast Asia, in particular generating empirical evidence for selected nature-positive regenerative solutions for rice production in the Kingdom of Thailand, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Kingdom of Cambodia;
- Colorado State University, in partnership with the New York City Mayor’s office of Food Policy, to develop and implement NYC’s Good Food Purchasing Program, which can be replicated and adapted for use by other municipalities globally, leverage public food procurement to increase economic opportunities for local sustainable farmers, and improve nutrition and health outcomes;
- FoodCloud to fund a pilot in Southeast Asia that harnesses the power of technology to help food banks redistribute more surplus food and feed more people;
- Nepal Economic Forum to drive thought leadership and product innovation for climate insurance in Asia to mitigate the financial disruption that is brought by climate change;
- RMI to develop technical, legal, and financial solutions to the 80-billion-ton carbon problem posed by the world’s current pipeline of planned, permitted, and under-construction coal plants;
- Schatz Energy Research Center to help develop the secondary market for repurposing solar panels currently in use in the Federal Republic of Germany to benefit post-conflict and hard to reach areas across the Middle East and Africa.
About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy built on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology, and innovation that enable individuals, families, and communities to flourish. We make big bets to promote the well-being of humanity. Today, we are focused on advancing human opportunity and reversing the climate crisis by transforming systems in food, health, energy, and finance. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on X @RockefellerFdn.
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