Philanthropy

My goal this week was to represent philanthropy and how this sector plays a role in climate action and how it will shift in the future. Philanthropy is most definitely playing a large role in the climate movement. Discussion panel experts here at COP23 were often executive directors, scientists, or specialists of both large and small nonprofits – both of which need to continue raising funds to stay active and make change in the climate movement.

Over dinner last night, our delegation debated whether it’s best to give money to large organizations where donations might feel insignificant or small nonprofits where any donation can make a large impact. The dinner debate concluded: it depends…

Large organizations have the people and infrastructure power to delve both widely and deeply. Their size provides the capability to take the lead on a broad and diverse issue, such as global ocean warming. Smaller organizations can make big differences on a local level with smaller donations.

Our family foundation provides funding to Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – different sizes organizations, yet both working on climate change. In 2017, we were able to support Climate Generation’s Summer Institute and assist with travel expenses for some of the COP23 delegates. Our funding for WWF, with its large size, has given us the opportunity to focus on the Northern Great Plains, a highly-threatened ecosystem that needs to remain intact to keep carbon in the ground. It is clear after one week at COP23 that philanthropy is crucial and will continue to be needed to solve the climate crisis.

Today was the most fun and exciting for me here at COP23. We had front row seats for Al Gore’s amazing talk, alongside Senator Cardin and Whitehouse. We also watched Jamie Redford’s new documentary titled “Happening”, which covers his personal journey into the clean energy era. The best part of this event, I think, was after the movie. We were able to spend time chatting with Jamie and we got our photo taken.

It’s clear that a lot is happening here in Bonn, and it’s important for people back home to know one thing: #WeAreStillIn

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