An Open Letter to Major U.S. Environmental Foundations Critical to Racial Justice

For Immediate Release: June 18, 2020
Contact: Daniel Herrera, 213-694-3353, dherrrera@rabengroup.com

An Open Letter to Major U.S. Environmental Foundations Critical to Racial Justice

Dear Presidents, Chief Executive Officers and Executive Directors of the nation’s top 40 foundations critical to funding work on conservation and environmental issues:

As the nation continues to grapple with the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other Black Americans killed by systemic racism ingrained in everything from our Constitution to law enforcement and criminal justice systems, we have noted the efforts by many in the philanthropy sector to voice their support and pledge additional resources to help combat systemic racism. 

To the foundations who have publicly declared their support for Black Lives Matter or for the eradication of systemic racism, but who have refused for over four years to publicly share demographic information about the racial and ethnic diversity of your staff and boards of directors: we are here to call out your hypocrisy. Your lack of transparency regarding your own organization’s racial and ethnic makeup show that your empty words of support lack good faith. In short, actions speak louder than words.

To the foundations who have remained silent despite nationwide protests calling attention to the killings of Black Americans: we urge you re-evaluate your public charity’s mission, understand whether that mission includes justice for Black Americans, and actively work to dismantle systemic racism within your own organization. 

To the foundations who have committed to looking inward and refocusing your organization’s work for the betterment of Black lives: we thank you for taking a brave and honest step towards justice. We know that work is never complete and requires a sustained dialogue that includes the voices of those hurt by institutional racism and white supremacy. We look forward to working with you to ensure that you fulfill that commitment. 

To the broader environmental movement: we urge you to be vigilant and critical of words of support that are not immediately followed by action for justice. Without honest reflection and truth-telling, our movement will fail to become as inclusive as it needs to be to address the global challenges at hand. 

Enclosed are the names of the foundations who refuse to disclose demographic information about their organization, despite four years of requests, pleads and demands from Green 2.0. Statements in support of Black Lives Matter or racial justice are hyperlinked. 

In solidarity,

Whitney Tome
Executive Director
Green 2.0

P.S. Organizations appearing on Green 2.0’s top 40 list of foundations (selected based on the highest amount of grants distributed to environmental organizations in 2014) who do not currently disclose demographic information:

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