Best of SoS: Funding Environmental Advocacy

This past spring, Sustainable World Coalition co-produced the 2nd annual Spring of Sustainability (SoS),the largest virtual sustainability gathering ever. SoS brought the “best and brightest” leaders in sustainability to the world through teleconference dialogues.

Each week, in our Best of SoS feature, we review one of our favorite episodes. Like what you see? Head over to our upgrade page for a special offer to own the entire Spring of Sustainability series. 

If you believe your nonprofit can make a difference in creating a thriving world, but you need funding to manifest your idea, how do you find it? 

On May 30th, a panel of funders agreed that grant making foundations are not as effective as they could be in funding a holistic set of potential solutions to the problems that plague the planet.

“None of us know if one strategy is better than another strategy,” said Rick Reed, of the Global Warming Initiative at the Garfield Foundation.  “The only way to know is if we agree together to track progress over time and have an atmosphere where we can honestly share the results.” And, panelists agreed, that rarely happens.  Why?  Competition.

“There’s a lot of dishonesty that goes on” in both advocacy organizations (because they’re competing for funding) and in foundations (because they’re competing to show that their efforts are effective), Reed said. Panelists unanimously agreed a way must be found to transcend this problem and bring people together to find – and fund – a multiplicity of approaches,” as Harriet Barlow, Co-Director of the Blue Mountain Center.

In the fracking debate, for example, most funders, Barlow said, “put their money down on one horse and one horse only. … It’s smart to hedge your bet.  It’s smart to know that something else might work.”

To hear more of the panel, visit our upgrade page!
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About Arami Matevosyan

Blog Coordinator for the Sustainable World Coalition - arami@swcoalition.org. Sustainable Environmental Design Major, City & Regional Planning Minor at University of California, Berkeley. Passionate about urban ecologies and sustainable retrofitting with the concept of biomimicry and symbiotic relationship between the built and unbuilt environment.

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