Strategic Philanthropy in the Post Cap-and-Trade Years: Evaluating U.S. Climate and Energy Funding, 2011-2015
Matthew C. Nisbet, Professor of Communication Studies and Affiliate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, will discuss key findings from a recent study evaluating how major U.S. environmental grant makers responded to calls for new directions in funding strategy following the defeat in 2010 of Federal cap-and-trade legislation.
Analyzing 2502 grants allocated by 19 foundations between 2011 and 2015, there were several clear patterns to the $556.7 million distributed. First, consistent with trends historically, larger centrist organizations were favored as grant recipients over smaller activist groups with just 20 organizations receiving more than half the funds distributed. Second, the dominant focus remained on the adoption of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency practices, with other low carbon energy sources receiving comparatively little to no funding. But there was also evidence that philanthropists responded to calls for new directions. Funding shifted from a focus on Federal policy to a focus on actions at the state and municipal level with a corresponding emphasis on adaptation/resilience and the needs of low income and minority communities. There was also significant funding devoted to regulating and opposing the fossil fuel industry, and to mobilizing public opinion on behalf of climate action and renewable energy. These findings are discussed in the context of contrasting theories of social change pursued by major environmental grant makers and climate advocates; and in relation to funding strategy during the Donald J. Trump presidency and beyond.
The event is the first SPPUA Research Seminar this fall, hosted by the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. For more information, email professor Alicia Sasser Modestino.
Tuesday, September 19 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm
1135 Tremont Street