Philanthropy Must Act on “Code Red” for Humanity — Guest Post from WINGS

Reposting from Benjamin Bellegy, Executive Director of WINGS — a global philanthropy collaborative

As published in Alliance Magazine, August 17, 2021

We all know that climate change is no longer a crisis. It has become an emergency.

A groundbreaking report published earlier this month by the world’s leading authority on climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), was called a ‘code red for humanity’ by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres.

The report says that human activity is changing the climate in unprecedented ways and that some of the changes are now inevitable and irreversible, and that we need to take immediate and drastic action to prevent further catastrophe.

If the global scientific consensus on the urgency was not enough to convince all of us – individuals and institutions – that we need to act now and boldly, we can see the effects in the world around us with growing and terrifying frequency. The last few months have shown us a glimpse of what we should expect, not just for a few small Pacific Islands, but for all of us:  floods in Europe and China with hundreds dying, heat waves in North America and devastating fires in Australia, Canada, Greece, Algeria and Turkey.

Emergency means momentum. With COP26 coming up in October this year, we, philanthropic actors, have an opportunity to show our engagement on the climate crisis to the world, and maybe even more importantly to ourselves, our stakeholders, teams and partners. We believe this is not only the role of environment-focused foundations to take action but of the whole philanthropic community.

Historically, WINGS has been cause-agnostic, as a global network whose role is to foster stronger and more impactful philanthropy worldwide. This year, for the first time, we decided that we have a responsibility to leverage our network – which reaches out indirectly to 100,000 philanthropy actors around the world – to push the sector to take action on the climate emergency.

Building on a movement started in the UK with ACF and in other parts of Europe with Dafne’s support, we have engaged 40 philanthropy networks from across the globe to launch the International Philanthropy Commitment on Climate Change. Not because we are drifting away from our core mission, but, on the contrary, because we believe it’s the only way to be loyal to our mission and responsibility. If we don’t do everything we can to counter the existential threat humanity is facing, how can we say we are here to serve social progress and strengthen philanthropy – the love of humanity?

Historically, WINGS has been cause-agnostic, but for the first time, we decided that we have a responsibility to leverage our network to push the sector to take action on the climate emergency.

For the same reason, this commitment calls on all philanthropic actors, regardless of their mission, size and nature, to act. Because whatever the cause is that we care about, if we don’t act on climate now how can we be sure that there’ll be a tomorrow to act on our other causes?

More than a pre-condition to achieving our missions in the future, engaging on climate is also a way to better achieve our missions today. As the commitment highlights, the climate crisis is a poverty and inequality issue, a social justice issue, a food and water issue, a health issue, a democracy issue. And the list could go on and on. As much as engaging on climate is a critical issue in itself, it also helps us take a more holistic view about what we are trying to achieve and embrace the interconnectedness of the issues we need to address.

Taking the commitment is also a way for philanthropic actors to learn how to leverage all the instruments of change they have at their disposal. Not only our grants or what we implement on the ground but also our investments and financial assets, our operations, our influence and expertise. By engaging, you will have an opportunity to act at all these levels and learn from the successes and failures of others who have already started the journey.

We will not ask you to reach this or that target. This is an invitation to start a journey – with energy, with a sense of urgency, with a deep commitment to learning and to keep trying, with all our assets, and with the support of others. An invitation to join a global movement and to be collectively determined to transform the way we work, today, tomorrow, and the days after tomorrow.

Philanthropy will not solve the climate emergency alone, but it has to do its part. And this part can be absolutely critical and transformational if we really leverage all our strengths: our $1.5 trillion in financial assets, our capacity to innovate, to connect actors, to support advocacy and social movements, to take risks, to influence mainstream markets and governments.

Anti-climate philanthropy is organised and resourced. It is time for the silent majority of our field to do the same. The commitment provides a starting point and a common platform. Let’s come together to take action and protect our future. Our lives depend on it.

Read more in our #PhilanthropyForClimate series.

Benjamin Bellegy is the Executive Director of WINGS.

Safe Haven for Afghans and Haitians in Crisis — Guest Post from GCIR

In light of the humanitarian crises in Afghanistan and Haiti, we are sharing the following post from our sister organization, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR):

Safe Haven for Afghans and Haitians in Crisis

We at GCIR are heartbroken about the devastating crises unfolding in Afghanistan and Haiti. In the wake of the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, the collapse of the Afghan government, and the Taliban’s takeover, many Afghans are fleeing for their lives. Meanwhile, the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that recently struck Haiti heightens the urgency of Haitians seeking refuge at the southern U.S. border and the need for Haitians currently residing here to remain. As large numbers of people are being uprooted from their homes, we believe the United States can and must lead the world in protecting these refugees and offering humanitarian assistance.

In response to the events in Afghanistan, an immediate, large-scale evacuation effort and a significantly increased U.S. refugee admissions cap are imperative. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans are at risk in the wake of the Taliban takeover, tens of thousands of whom are in danger due to their association with the U.S. mission. Only 16,000 Afghans have been given protection in the United States since 2014 through the Special Immigrant Visa program, and an estimated 18,000 Afghan allies and 53,000 family members remain in the processing backlog. As the Taliban consolidates power in the coming days and weeks, the window for taking action is rapidly closing.

Haiti’s recent earthquake left at least 1,419 people dead and more than 6,900 injured, a toll that is expected to rise in the coming days. This disaster, coming on the heels of accelerating political turmoil in Haiti, makes it all the more important that Haitians already in the United States are not compelled to return to a perilous situation and that those who have fled to safety have access to asylum and humane treatment when crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Although the Biden administration extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to additional Haitians in May, it is also crucial to halt deportations for Haitians present in the United States today and for Congress to establish a pathway to citizenship for TPS holders and others.

We urge philanthropy to:

Beyond these current crises, the U.S. refugee resettlement system is in great need of rebuilding and strengthening. The administration is on track to admit fewer than 10,000 refugees this fiscal year–the lowest number since 1975 and well below the cap–and has merely resettled 6,200 refugees as of the end of last month. If the administration does not ramp up the pace of processing applications in the pipeline, fewer than the previous low of 11,814 refugees set under the Trump administration will enter the United States.

We at GCIR know our country can rise to our highest ideals by providing protection to those who most desperately need it and welcoming them into our communities, and we believe philanthropy has a critical role to play in helping our nation achieve that vision.

More information on Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees

Hurricane Dorian Resources

As we have continued to watch the devastation from Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, and the potential for significant damage in the Carolinas, I wanted to pass along some more philanthropic resources related to the Hurricane.

WEBINARS

Our partners are offering two upcoming webinars for funders wanting to learn more about the how they can help:

Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s webinar “Hurricane Dorian: Supporting the Bahamas”
Monday, September 9, noon
Join this webinar to learn about current challenges, effective philanthropic approaches and how best to support the unique needs of small islands in recovery.
Register

US Chamber of Commerce’s Hurricane Dorian coordination webinar
Monday, September 9, 2:00pm
Join this webinar to hear from partners who are actively responding. Learn what the immediate needs are in the areas, as well as the long-term outlook on recovery.
Register

FUNDING EFFORTS

  • Miami Foundation has a Hurricane Dorian relief page with a number of relief and recovery resources.
  • Community Foundation of Palm Beach and Martin Counties has a fund that a donor will contribute matching dollars to support the Bahamas.
  • The New York Times has released an article sharing multiple ways to help Hurricane Dorian Survivors in the Bahamas.
  • Charity Navigator has created a list of high-rated organizations providing aid and relief for Hurricane Dorian for both short-term and long-term relief.

HURRICANE DORIAN-SPECIFIC RESOURCE PAGES

North Carolina Network of Grantmakers has a resource page that will be updated with more information as Hurricane Dorian approaches North Carolina.

Council on Foundations

PEAK Grantmaking

Philanthropy California

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) Hurricane Dorian disaster profile can be found here, which provides updates on the storm as well as information on the areas of greatest need, and has launched the CDP 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season Recovery Fund to support communities that will be affected by Hurricane Dorian. This fund focuses on medium- and long-term recovery, with the understanding that individuals and communities will need the support of private philanthropy for months or years as they navigate the road to recovery.

GENERAL DISASTER RELIEF RESOURCES

Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) – in partnerships with CDP, GCIR offered a webinar on funder responses to hurricanes and other national disasters in a way that is inclusive of the heightened barriers immigrants can face before, during, and after a natural disaster — webinar.  GCIR also has a brief with analysis and recommendations, download (though a few years old, the information is still relevant).

Mission Investors Exchange — link to newsletter with some examples of how foundations have used impact investing in the disaster recovery context from a couple of hurricane seasons ago

The Disaster Philanthropy Playbook is a compilation of philanthropic strategies, promising practices and lessons learned that help communities be better prepared when a disaster strikes their community. In particular, it is aimed at helping philanthropic organizations and individual donors be more strategic with their investments and recognize the importance of supporting long-term recovery for vulnerable populations.

The Jessie Ball duPont Fund resource Creating Order from Chaos: Roles for Philanthropy in Disaster Planning and Response provides a framework for steps that can be taken for philanthropy to response to disasters.

 

 

 

Puerto Ricans a Year After Hurricane Maria

A year after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, residents of the island are still struggling with the storm’s impact on their housing, finances, and mental and physical health, a survey by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and the Washington Post finds. Based on face-to-face interviews, the report, Views and Experiences of Puerto Ricans One Year After Hurricane Maria (37 pages, PDF), found that 83 percent of survey respondents had a home that was destroyed or significantly damaged, lost power for four or more months, had to drink water from a natural source, experienced a job loss, developed a health condition or had an existing one worsen, and/or received mental health services as a result of the storm.

Report

Collette Serves Up One Million Meals As Part of Massive CSR Campaign

GCRI member Collette, North America’s oldest tour operator, reached its goal of donating one million meals at a recent packaging event during the company’s annual Founder’s Day. The tour operator’s non-profit arm, The Collette Foundation, launched the One Million Meals hunger initiative in 2016 to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary and to honor its core value of giving back.

“There are so many people in need around the globe, and we feel fortunate to be able to make a real impact in their lives, both through our global workforce and our many wonderful partners,” said CEO Dan Sullivan. “Social responsibility has been and always will be a core pillar of our culture at Collette.”

To reach the ambitious goal in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger, Collette not only mobilized the support of its 600 global employees, but also through a careful selection of partnerships and donations. Partnerships include Rise Against Hunger and Rhode Island-based Edesia. Collette also donated to organizations such as Share our Strength.

 

 

 

Family Separation and Immigration Webinar and Resources

Family Separation and Immigration Webinar and Resources

Many of you are concerned with the current debate around the federal immigration policy on family separation.  Although an executive order has been released to address the components of the policy, there are still reports of separations, lack of clarity about the courts’ response to the EO, and the challenges of reuniting families.

Children, Youth and Family Funders Roundtable is hosting an “Immigration Funder Strategy Discussion” on Friday, July 13 2:30-3:30pm for funders interested in learning more about how your organization can use its expertise to enter the immigration space.  The webinar will have ideas for ways to communicate differently with peers and colleagues about the effects of immigration policy, and to better align strategies across issue areas.  This strategy discussion will be focused on supporting immigrant children and families!s, and four funders will share their strategies, including how they developed them and how they are linked with other issue areas.

Speakers:
· Denise Dell Isola, Irving Harris Foundation
· Sandra Martinez, The California Wellness Foundation
· Laura Speer, The Annie E. Casey Foundation
· Kavitha Sreeharsha, Emerson Collective
This webinar is part of the Children, Youth & Family Funders Roundtable conversation on the impact of immigration action on children and families. The Roundtable’s immigration work is done in partnership with Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, Grantmakers Income Security Taskforce, and Early Childhood Funders Collaborative to ensure we are exploring our understanding of the cross section of issues faced by immigrant children and families.  Register

Our partner in United Philanthropy Forum, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) has released a sign on statement on family separation and immigration enforcement policies, signed by 160 philanthropic organizations.   GCIR has also released a document with ideas for philanthropic responses to the family separation crisis.

Our Forum partners, Hispanics in Philanthropy and Associated Grant Makers, have gathered resources for funders who want to learn more and/or get involved.

Statements Issued:

Dave Biemsderfer, CEO of United Philanthropy Forum, released a blog piece on the family separation policy
United Way of Mass Bay, The Boston Foundation, Jewish Philanthropies and Catholic Charities released a combined joint statement
Philanthropy California released a combined statement from Northern California, Southern California and San Diego Grantmakers

Hispanics In Philanthropy Resources

Hispanics in Philanthropy have launched an Emergency Response Fund, and issued the following statement on ways funders can respond.

5 Ways You Can Stand Up for Immigrant Children & Families TODAY

Ana Marie Argilagos, president and CEO of Hispanics in Philanthropy

It was 136 years ago when the funds to build the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty ran short. New Yorkers took action. They formed fundraising committees and collected donations from people across the city, including a kindergarten class that donated $1.35. Poet Emma Lazarus wrote a sonnet, “The New Colossus,” to help raise money. Her words — “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” — have inspired America’s approach to immigration ever since.

Today, these words etched into the Statue of Liberty are at risk. This month is Immigrant Heritage Month, intended to recognize and celebrate the vast contributions of immigrants in this country which was founded by immigrants. Instead, we are witnessing the worst human rights violations in generations.

Despite President Trump’s executive order ending his administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents, the government will continue to treat all immigrants as criminals and to lock families in cages along the U.S.-Mexico border. Make no mistake: this executive order does not fix the damage inflicted on children or their families. Nor does it prevent future trauma. The Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy is intended to inflict pain, fear, and suffering on children and their parents.

We are better than these xenophobic government policies. We cannot stay silent. We cannot sit by and allow thousands of children and families to suffer traumas that will last a lifetime.

We must remember the lessons learned by our predecessors. We must look back at how Americans mobilized to bring our nation’s beacon of freedom, Lady Liberty, to our shores. Her existence is a constant reminder that we were once a country unified by the immigrant experience. We were and still are proud to be a country of immigrants.

Today, we must once again mobilize to show the world that new immigrants are cared for and welcomed with open arms. You do not have to be wealthy or a government official to take action. Just like the children who donated money to help raise the Statue of Lady Liberty two centuries ago, you too can do your part to ensure we remember our shared values.

HERE ARE A FEW WAYS YOU CAN HELP TODAY:

  1. Donate to HIP’s fund to support lasting services and support for immigrant families detained at the border.
  2. Contact your elected officials and hold them accountable. Tell them you expect them to do better, and to do it NOW.
  3. Contact the U.S. Department of Justice and submit your comments about the damage the current policies are inflicting on children and families.
  4. Contact the White House to demand they put an end to this cruelty and treat our immigrants humanely and with the dignity they deserve.
  5. Elevate your voice! HIP along with many other organizations will be gathering this June 30th at Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. to protest this administration’s inhumane policy of ripping children away from their parents at the border. Join us in DC or at an event near you. Find out more at the Families Belong Together website.

Thank you, and may we all remember: We are in this together.

Associated Grant Makers Resources

http://www.agmconnect.org/grantmakers-philanthropic-advisors/resources/disaster-and-emergency-relief-resources

  • Greater Boston Immigrant Defense Fund is building Greater Boston’s capacity to protect and defend immigrant and refugee communities by increasing access to legal representation for individuals facing deportation proceedings and community education and preparedness programming
  • Cambridge Legal Defense Fund for Immigrantshas been established to help immigrants in Cambridge, Massachusetts get the legal services they need to stay, legally, in our country.
  • The ACLUis litigating this policy in California.
  • Al Otro Ladois a binational organization that works to offer legal services to deportees and migrants in Tijuana, Mexico, including deportee parents whose children remain in the U.S.
  • American Immigrant Representation Project(AIRP), which works to secure legal representation for immigrants.
  • CARA—a consortium of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, the American Immigration Council, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association—provides legal services at family detention centers.
  • CASAin Maryland, D.C., Virginia, and Pennsylvania. They litigate, advocate, and help with representation of minors needing legal services.
  • CLINIC’s Defending Vulnerable Populationsproject offers case assistance to hundreds of smaller organizations all over the country that do direct services for migrant families and children.
  • The Florence Projectis an Arizona project offering free legal services to men, women, and unaccompanied children in immigration custody.
  • Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborativehas a guide to organizations throughout Texas that provide direct legal services to separated children. Also listed within the guide are resources for local advocates, lawyers, and volunteers.
  • Human Rights Firstis a national organization with roots in Houston that needs help from lawyers too.
  • Kids in Need of Defenseworks to ensure that kids do not appear in immigration court without representation, and to lobby for policies that advocate for children’s legal interests.
  • The Kino Border Initiativeprovides humanitarian aid to refugees and migrants on both sides of the border. They have a wish-list of supplies they can use to help migrants and families staying in the communities they serve.
  • The Legal Aid Justice Centeris a Virginia-based center providing unaccompanied minors legal services and representation.
  • The National Immigrant Justice Centerrepresents and advocates for detained adults and children facing removal, supports efforts at the border, and represents parents in the interior who have been separated from their families as a result of aggressive enforcement.
  • The Northwest Immigrant Rights Projectis doing work defending and advancing the rights of immigrants through direct legal services, systemic advocacy, and community education.
  • Pueblo Sin Fronterasis an organization that provides humanitarian aid and shelter to migrants on their way to the U.S.
  • RAICESis the largest immigration nonprofit in Texas offering free and low-cost legal services to immigrant children and families.
  • Together Risingis another Virginia-based organization that’s helping provide legal assistance for 60 migrant children who were separated from their parents and are currently detained in Arizona.
  • The Urban Justice Center’s Asylum Seeker Advocacy Projectis working to keep families together.
  • Women’s Refugee Commissionadvocates for the rights and protection of women, children, and youth fleeing violence and persecution.
  • Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rightsworks for the rights of children in immigration proceedings.

Hasbro and CVS Health Recognized as Exemplary Corporate Citizens

Two GCRI members, Hasbro and CVS Health, were recognized as part of Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s recently released 19th Annual “100 Best Corporate Citizens” recognizing the standout environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of public companies across the United States.  Hasbro was ranked 5th, and CVS Health was ranked 26th.  

CR Magazine is proud to present the only ESG ranking list that doesn’t rely on self-reporting,” said Dave Armon, publisher of CR Magazine in a release.  “Each year, the 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking measures the success of the Brands Taking Stands movement by celebrating the most successful, most transparent companies that report on their responsible practices. We congratulate those honored on this year’s list for their commitment to corporate responsibility.”

The 100 Best Corporate Citizens list documents 260 ESG data points of disclosure and performance measures—harvested from publicly available information in seven categories: environment, climate change, employee relations, human rights, governance, finance, and philanthropy & community support.

“The 100 Best ranking demonstrates that a company is dedicating resources towards its corporate responsibility and sustainability efforts,” explains Jen Boynton editor of CR Magazine. “Public disclosure allows its stakeholders to gain greater insights into a company’s business practices.”

 

Collette Recognized with Hearts of Travel Award

Collette Recognized with Hearts of Travel Award

GCRI member Collette was recognized by Tourism Cares with a Hearts of Travel Award for long-term excellence in corporate giving for a small company.

The Hearts of Travel Awards celebrate and share models of corporate social change to spotlight excellence and inspire others, reflecting Tourism Cares’ belief that corporate citizenship, especially in travel, is good for business and employees as well as the community.

The committee scored submissions in the following areas: theory of action and execution (problem statement, activities, and outcomes); community engagement; storytelling; communications and advocacy; integration into their core business; and overall financial commitment.

According to Lynne Kelly, Community Relations Manager at Collette, “Although the award points backward in celebrating Collette’s last decade of giving, it comes at a time when we are looking forward, trying to see how we can make even more of an impact. This recognition is a reflection of the work of the entire Collette community, our culture of giving, and the fact we are dedicated to the value of social responsibility.”

 

Disaster Relief Updates

Many GCRI members have stepped up with donations and support in the wake of multiple hurricanes, as well as the California wildfires and Mexican earthquake.  See some of their efforts

GCRI’s United Philanthropy Forum Partners are invested in various relief efforts as well:

PEAK Grantmaking Webinar

Working Together: Effective Funder Collaboration in Disaster Grantmaking, October 24

Through a national partnership with the Council on Foundations and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy this webinar will offer lessons learned and practical tools to maximize funder collaboration for effective disaster grantmaking. Participants will also get to hear about a successful funder collaboration.

California Wildfires

Forum member Northern California Grantmakers has a helpful resource page on responding to the ongoing wildfires in Northern California.

  • Forum member Grantmakers Concerned With Immigrants and Refugees, which along with NCG is located in Northern California, also has a helpful list of resources on responding to the wildfires – including a list of immigrant-serving organizations that are helping the local immigrant communities being impacted by the wildfires.

Puerto Rico — FORWARD Puerto Rico Fund / Fondo ADELANTE Puerto Rico

  • The Forum’s colleague organization in Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Funders Network (Red de Fundaciones de Puerto Rico) has just launched the FORWARD Puerto Rico Fund (Fondo ADELANTE Puerto Rico). The Fund supports key nonprofit institutions that are working to achieve a better Puerto Rico in the short-, medium- and long-term. Initially, FORWARD Puerto Rico will provide funds to organizations that are assisting communities affected by the devastating hurricanes Irma and Maria. Subsequently, it will target its support to strengthening these organizations and ensuring their resilience and continued contribution to Puerto Rico. The Fund will also support work on issues of government transparency, inequality, and community economic development. The Funders Network is comprised of longstanding and prestigious Puerto Rican foundations with extensive experience in strategic grantmaking and deep involvement in the nonprofit sector. The Funders Network will administer the Fund without charging administrative costs, and will distribute the funds to nonprofits with a proven track record in Puerto Rico.  The Fund is housed at the Foundation for Puerto Rico, which has a designation of 501c3 of the US tax code, and is thus domestic.

U.S. Virgin Islands

  • The U.S. Virgin Islands were devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, but seem to have lost the attention of the media and the country. So a reminder that the CARE (Caribbean Assistance and Relief Effort) Fund has been established by the St. Croix Foundation for Community Development to address the basic needs of individuals and families directly impacted by the disaster, and to support the transition of hundreds of displaced students and families who are currently being (re)settled on St. Croix.

Center for Disaster Philanthropy Update

State of Disaster Philanthropy 2017 — CDP will be presenting a half-day convening on October 25 in New York, “From Hurricanes Sandy to Maria: Can Disaster Philanthropy Be More Strategic?”  On November 8, CDP and Foundation Center will be presenting a webinar on “Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy”  to discuss highlights from the 2017 report and data dashboard.

Recovery from the recent string of catastrophes is going to take billions of dollars and strategic cross-sector collaboration between funders, government, nonprofits, and humanitarian organizations. CDP has established four collaborative disaster funds to support long-term recovery challenges: