Climate change is already affecting all of us—however, those that bear the brunt of these consequences are predominantly from low-income, marginalized, BIPOC communities. So why is it that out of the organizations that are trying to confront climate change and find solutions, about 95 percent of the $60 million in US foundation funding circulated every year goes to white-led organizations, and between 70 and 80 percent goes to organizations led by men?
Diverse leadership means more solutions
According to research from McKinsey & Company and Peterson Institute for International Economics, teams that have more diverse, women-led representation reap a multitude of benefits. Both research organizations have gathered proof that confirms that companies that make space for diverse leaders experience better team performance in decision-making and financial results.
To more effectively change the status quo, those who are already in privileged positions in organizations must choose to give “a seat at the table” to members of disadvantaged communities and create opportunities for them so that they are in a position to access funding. The Solutions Project is an organization that is striving, and succeeding, to achieve this and offers a model for others to follow.
Actor Mark Ruffalo, Stanford professor Mark Jacobson, banker Marco Krapels, and anti-natural-gas filmmaker Josh Fox founded The Solutions Project in 2013, with the vision of evolving their leadership to be diverse and forward-thinking.
Gloria Warson, The Solutions Project’s President and CEO, joined in 2020. She is a black woman with 16 years of power-building experience, and since being taken into the fold of the organization, has raised the largest donation in The Solutions Project’s history, and has ensured that frontline communities who are working to tackle climate and racial injustice are supported directly.
Those facing problems are the ones with answers
The Solutions Project’s main focus is to bolster Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), Women, Intergenerational, and LGBTQ+-led organizations through a variety of means including capacity building, storytelling and media production training, and grants. They believe that those who are closest and most impacted by the problems are the ones with the solutions, and they are the key to creating a better, more equitable future for us all.
“We give their voices a much larger audience through our celebrity relationships,” states the organization. “We build media partnerships that create space for their solutions to inspire millions more to support what really works.”