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Founders Pledge: Climate Change Fund

By Founders Pledge

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Supporting highly-impactful, evidence-based solutions to the triple challenge of climate change, air pollution and energy poverty.

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The Founders Pledge Climate Change Fund exists to leverage each dollar and fund the most effective, neglected climate solutions.

Climate change is an incredibly complex problem borne out of how we produce and consume energy; it's intertwined with challenges of economic development, energy poverty, and emissions-fueled air pollution. It is an environmental and humanitarian crisis we must urgently address.

We aim to take a holistic approach that recognizes the global nature of this challenge and the fact that, despite its urgency, we are still in the early days of climate action. We address the worst-case scenarios of climate damage, and look for solutions that can reduce current carbon emissions and accelerate the transition to clean energy to meet global demand, especially in developing countries. Through the Fund, we:

  • Accelerate innovation in neglected technologies
  • Catalytically grow the most effective climate organizations
  • Promote policy leadership and paradigm shaping

Our Approach to Grantmaking

When evaluating potential grants, we consider several key points:

  • Counterfactual impact. Our grants are designed to create a meaningful outcome that would not otherwise have happened. This means that you can rely on the Funds to create meaningful, real change, rather than just maintaining the status quo.
  • Impact-driven philanthropy. This fund prioritizes the highest-impact solutions to challenges. We assess where the gaps are, which opportunities may be neglected by other funders, and where the biggest wins are in terms of making the biggest difference.
  • The organization’s funding gap. Not all organizations are set up to scale up their programming and many can’t productively absorb large amounts of unsolicited funding. We evaluate all potential grantees’ capacity for growth and consider how much money they could put to good use.
  • Organizational strength. Particularly with unrestricted funding, it’s important to have trust in the leadership and capacity of the organizations we support. We look at their track record of success and their transparency about failures as well as successes, and we only support those organizations which are exceptionally well run.
  • Time-critical opportunities and funding certainty. While Founders Pledge members give to our top climate charities regularly, sometimes there are time-critical opportunities which require fast decisions. We will use the Fund to make grants that enable such short-term opportunities and stability for high-impact funding opportunities thereby increasing the impact compared to individual giving to specific organizations.
  • Portfolio approach. Because most climate damage comes from particular severe outcomes – with a world of 4 degrees of warming being much worse than twice as bad as a world with 2 degrees – and because every particular strategy – such as energy innovation – might underdeliver, we pursue a portfolio approach to maximize positive impact. This means we will diversify our bets in ways that, when one approach fails (such as energy innovation), the others we promote (such as carbon removal) can be expected to be particularly important and still available.

Frequently-Asked Questions

Can charities apply for money from the Fund?
The Funds do not generally accept applications from charities, and we request that charities do not send unsolicited applications for funding. If the Fund Managers choose to open up an application round, this will be publicized.

How frequently will you make grants from the Fund?
In general, Fund Managers will review grantmaking decisions on a quarterly basis. Decisions will be made based on the value of Funds and the available options for high-impact grantmaking. We may disburse funds outside of quarterly review dates if we become aware of a particularly promising and time-sensitive funding.

How will my contribution be used?
All funds are granted out. The Fund is not an investment vehicle. The Fund does not use any percentage of contributions to cover staff time or other overhead costs. Every dollar contributed to the Fund will be used to make grants directly to end-user organizations creating a real difference.

More Questions?

To learn more about the Founders Pledge Climate Change Fund, please visit founderspledge.com or email the Fund Managers at funds@founderspledge.com.

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