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

Final $380,000 in Vax Challenge Grants Provided to RI Nonprofits

Nonprofits on the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis have been awarded another $380,000 in grants in the final phases of the RI Gives Vax Challenge. The funding was triggered as a result of the more than 25,000 Rhode Islanders who got vaccinated since the program was launched in July. More than 81 percent of adult Rhode Islanders are now at least partially vaccinated

The RI Gives Vax Challenge encouraged Rhode Islanders to get vaccinated by awarding grants to nonprofits that supported the general COVID-19 response and recovery every time another 5,000 people were vaccinated. As a result of hitting the 20,000- and 25,000-vaccination milestones, another 38 nonprofits from across Rhode Island received $10,000 grants in the final phases of the initiative.

With the final rounds of grants, the Foundation has awarded $750,000 to 75 organizations in partnership with Gov. McKee, the Rhode Island Commerce Department and the Rhode Island Department of Health.

The RI Gives Vax challenge supports public health initiatives, bolstering the steadfast work of Rhode Island nonprofits and securing stable footing as the state moves into the next phase of pandemic recovery and response.

The other recipients of the Round 4 and Round 5 grants are Amenity Aid, Capital City Community Centers, Central Falls Family Self Sufficiency Foundation, Clothes to Kids RI, Foster Forward, Hope’s Harvest RI, Interfaith Counseling Center, Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale, Lucy’s Hearth, McAuley Ministries, New Beginnings, Operation Stand Down, Progreso Latino, Providence Rescue Mission, Rhode Island for Community & Justice, We Share Hope, Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education, Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County, Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket, Bridgemark, CartwheelRI, Centro de Innovacion Mujer Latina,  Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic, Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center, Good Neighbors, Housing Hotline, Inspiring Minds, Mentor Rhode Island, Open Doors, New Urban Arts, Pocasset Pokanoket Land Trust, Rhode Island Center Assisting Those in Need, Silver Lake Community Center,  St. Martin de Porres Senior Center, West End Community Center, West Warwick Senior Center. 

15 More Nonprofits Receive RI Gives Vax Challenge Grants

Fifteen nonprofits on the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis received $150,000 in grants in the latest round of the RI Gives Vax Challenge. This third round of funding recognized the milestone that more than 15,000 people have now gotten their first dose of the vaccine since the program was launched on July 6. Nearly 80 percent of adult Rhode Islanders are now at least partially vaccinated.

The Vax Challenge encourages Rhode Islanders to get vaccinated by awarding grants to nonprofits that supported the general COVID-19 response and recovery every time another 5,000 people get vaccinated. As a result of reaching the 15,000-vaccination mark, another 15 nonprofits from across Rhode Island received $10,000 grants.

The recipients of the third round of grants are Better Lives Rhode Island, Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, Conexion Latina Newport, DaVinci Center for Community Progress, Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County, East Bay Food Pantry, Higher Ground International, Housing Network of Rhode Island, Man Up, Mathewson Street United Methodist Church, Newport Community School, Oasis International, Project Undercover, Rhode Island Center for Justice, Rhode Island Chapter, American Red Cross.

An additional two rounds of grants totaling $380,000 could be awarded each time Rhode Island administers an additional 5,000 first COVID-19 vaccine doses as reported by the Rhode Island Department of Health.

For the next 5,000 new vaccinations, $180,000 will be awarded to 18 nonprofits; $200,000 will be distributed to 20 nonprofits in the fifth and final round when an additional 5,000 people are vaccinated.

Jointly established by Governor McKee, Commerce Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Department of Health, and the Foundation, the RI Gives Vax Challenge has now awarded $370,000 in grants to 37 nonprofits through the first three rounds.

Nonprofits Share $100,000 in First Round of Vax Challenge Grants

Ten nonprofits from across Rhode Island will receive $10,000 apiece in the first round of funding from the Vax Challenge, which awards grants to nonprofits on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic every time an additional 5,000 Rhode Islanders are vaccinated.

Jointly established by Governor Dan McKee, the Rhode Island Commerce Department, the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Rhode Island Foundation in early July, the Vax Challenge encourages Rhode Islanders to get vaccinated by offering grants to nonprofits that supported the general COVID-19 response and recovery.

The recipients of the initial round of grants are Access To Recovery, Adoption Rhode Island, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, Elisha Project, Pawtucket Soup Kitchen, Refugee Development Center, Rhode Island Free Clinic, Southern Rhode Island Volunteers, WARM Center.

The budget for the fund is $750,000 to be allocated in grants of $10,000 to Rhode Island 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. The state provided $500,000 and the Foundation contributed $250,000. Up to an additional four rounds of grants could be awarded each time Rhode Island administers an additional 5,000 first COVID-19 vaccine doses as reported by the Rhode Island Department of Health.

“Getting your COVID-19 vaccine is a way to keep yourself and your loved ones healthier and safer, and a way to support the critical network of nonprofit organizations that have been doing so much for Rhode Islanders since day one of this pandemic,” said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott. “Hitting this RI Gives Vax Challenge benchmark is great, but we have a lot more vaccinating to do. It’s never been easier to get a shot. If you have not been vaccinated yet, do your part and get vaccinated today.”

The Rhode Island Foundation will accept applications from interested nonprofits at rifoundation.org/vax through July 30.

To learn more about vaccinations and to sign up today, visit vaccinateri.gov. The RI Gives Vax Challenge Tracker can be found here: https://ri-department-of-health-covid-19-vaccine-incentive-rihealth.hub.arcgis.com/

RI Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund Awards Additional $550,000 in Grants

The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded an additional $550,000 in grants from its COVID-19 Response Fund to help Rhode Islanders cope with the continuing effects of the pandemic. With these most recent grants, Foundation has awarded $7.3 million in grants since launching the fund nearly one year ago.

The latest recipients include the Dorcas International Institute in Providence, Operation Stand Down in Johnston, the Samaritans in Pawtucket, Turning Around Ministries in Newport and the WARM Shelter in Westerly.  Bradley Hospital, Crossroads Rhode Island, the Da Vinci Center, the Housing Network, the Interfaith Counseling Center, New Englanders Helping Our Veterans, Project Undercover, Project Weber/RENEW, R.I. Legal Services, the R.I. Parent Information Network, Sacred Heart Elderly Day Care and Women’s Refugee Care also received grants.

The Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund was launched in March 2020 initially in partnership with the United Way of Rhode Island. The $7.3 million in grants awarded to date reflect just the grantmaking by the Foundation. Nearly 150 nonprofits received grants. See the list of COVID-19 Response Fund grantees.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan Foundations Give $1 Million to Expand COVID-19 Vaccine Education in Communities of Color

First joint community investment supports 42 organizations in five states

In their first joint community investment, the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and Tufts Health Plan Foundation are giving $1 million to support vaccine education, awareness and outreach in communities of color across New England, including $175,000 to Rhode Island organizations. Just one month after Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan announced their combined organization, this investment is an immediate response to emerging needs in Black and Brown communities across the region disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“With the pandemic continuing to have a devastating impact on Black and Brown communities, this funding will give a boost to organizations across the region working tirelessly to support the needs of their community members and create awareness around the importance of the vaccine, ” said Michael Carson, president of the combined organization of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan, and chairman of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation board.

Grants will support a range of organizations—from statewide organizations to local community nonprofits. They include faith-based organizations, trusted Black/Latinx-led community nonprofits, and organizations with experience coordinating multilingual efforts.

Rhode Island grantees include Children’s Friend, Comprehesive Community Action Program, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, Local Initiatives Support Corporatio, ONE Neighborhood Builders, Progreso Latino, Thundermist Health Center, United Way of Rhode Island, and West Elmwood Housing Development Corp.

 

RISCA Distributes COVID-19 Relief Grants to Arts Community

The RI State Council on the Arts (RISCA) has awarded close to $1 million in Covid Relief Funds (CRF) to artists, professional arts education associations, and arts and culture organizations. These grants announced today provide badly needed assistance to organizations, artists and arts educators who continue to experience economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

or artists, the CRF assistance is being distributed through the Rhode Island Artist Relief Fund, a charitable fund set up by RISCA to help artists who have lost income due to the pandemic. A total of $321,200 was divided up into grants and distributed to 390 artists.

For arts and culture organizations, and arts education associations, the funds are being dispersed directly through RISCA.

In addition to artists, and arts and culture organizations, grant recipients include 11 organizations associated with the Rhode Island Expansion Arts Program (RIEAP) and seven culturally specific nonprofits. RIEAP is a partnership among RISCA, RI Council for the Humanities (RICH) and Rhode Island Foundation to support community-based, culturally diverse arts and cultural organizations.

The grants were specifically designed to save jobs, help cover revenue losses and additional COVID-19 costs incurred in 2020.

State Arts Council awards nearly $1 million in grants to RI artists, art educators, arts and culture organizations

GCRI member Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) has awarded close to $1 million in Covid Relief Funds (CRF) to artists, professional arts education associations, and arts and culture organizations. These grants announced today provide badly needed assistance to organizations, artists and arts educators who continue to experience economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For artists, the CRF assistance is being distributed through the Rhode Island Artist Relief Fund, a charitable fund set up by RISCA to help artists who have lost income due to the pandemic. A total of $321,200 was divided up into grants and distributed to 390 artists.  For arts and culture organizations, and arts education associations, the funds are being dispersed directly through RISCA.

In addition to artists, and arts and culture organizations, grant recipients include 11 organizations associated with the Rhode Island Expansion Arts Program (RIEAP) and seven culturally specific nonprofits. RIEAP is a partnership among RISCA, RI Council for the Humanities (RICH) and Rhode Island Foundation to support community-based, culturally diverse arts and cultural organizations.

The grants were specifically designed to save jobs, help cover revenue losses and additional COVID-19 costs incurred between March 1, 2020, and December 30, 2020. The recipient categories for this latest round of CRF for the arts and cultural organizations were as follows:

Seventh Round of COVID-19 Response Fund Grants Awarded to Provide Basic Supports

Twenty-three organizations across the state will be able to provide help with food, rent, utilities, and other expenses thanks to more than $700,000 in grants from the COVID-19 Response Fund created by the Rhode Island Foundation and United Way of Rhode Island (UWRI).

Hunger continues to be among the most pressing problems facing Rhode Islanders affected by the crisis. Food pantries report seeing demand rise, driven by people who never before needed to seek their help. For many that offer assistance, the challenge of having enough food to distribute has been compounded by the scope of disruptions brought about by the pandemic.

With the latest round of grants, the COVID-19 Response Fund has awarded nearly $8 million to nonprofits across Rhode Island since March 27.

Donors have contributed more than $8.5 million since the crisis began.

Full list of awardees