Community Foundations Unite to Address Local Impacts of Climate Change

September 21, 2023

A nationwide coalition of more than 40 community foundations has launched the Community Foundation Climate Collaborative, a coordinated effort aimed at helping local communities secure funding and more effectively respond to climate change. 

The Collaborative will leverage community foundations’ deep frontline knowledge of local issues and long-standing relationships with nonprofit organizations to help direct the unprecedented infusion of federal, state, and private funding dedicated to climate projects across the country. 

Further, the Collaborative will focus on: 

  • Promoting coordinated learning, research, and analysis on climate-related challenges and opportunities. 
  • Enabling innovation, creative problem solving, and replication of best practices. 
  • Supporting strategic partnerships and resource mobilization efforts focused on large climate funders and federal agencies. 
  • Facilitating joint action and advocacy including federal lobbying. 

 The effort will prioritize offering guidance and support to marginalized communities, which often bear the brunt of climate-related impacts but lack adequate resources and expertise to consistently secure governmental and philanthropic funding. 

“When viewed from a global perspective, addressing climate change can be daunting,”  said Amy Freitag, president of The New York Community Trust. “Yet we know through our work that actions taken on the local level can have a multiplying effect that can lead to systemic change. That’s the potential we are looking to harness through the Climate Collaborative.” 

The idea for the Collaborative was conceived by Boston-based consultant James Davitt Rooney and initially supported by leading executives of four metro community foundations representing different regions of the country – The New York Community Trust, The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Denver Foundation, and Marin Community Foundation, which serves California’s Bay Area. 

After developing the Collaborative’s framework, the four foundations promoted the concept to community foundations nationwide, resulting in more than 25 additional community foundations joining the Collaborative to date.  

“In Colorado, and across the country, we witness the negative impacts of climate change almost daily,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Denver Foundation.

John Podesta, the senior advisor to President Joe Biden for clean energy innovation and implementation recently spoke with foundation leaders on a conference call to discuss how community foundations can be essential strategic partners to help channel federal funding from the Inflation Reduction Act to worthy local projects. 

“We face a moment in time when there is unprecedented federal funding available to address climate change,” said Rhea Suh, president and CEO of Marin Community Foundation. “Combine this with the White House’s eagerness to forge partnerships with community foundations, and the opportunity to establish a meaningful national infrastructure has never been greater. This Collaborative will leverage the funding to help those most affected by climate change.”

“I look forward to seeing what the collective strength of community foundations can accomplish when we come together to take action. There are many ways we can address this issue, but we must do it together.” - Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Denver Foundation

The Collaborative, which will be managed by the Community Foundation Opportunity Network (CFON), an organization that focuses on fostering collective action among community foundations to amplify impact and share resources and knowledge. CFON will continue to recruit additional community foundations and is in the process of identifying priorities and building relationships with other funders and organizations focused on climate issues.  


“Community foundations have hard-earned expertise in emergency response to disasters caused by climate change,” said Lisa Schroeder, president and CEO of The Pittsburgh Foundation. “And while each foundation’s experience with climate crises is unique to their locations, they can be powerful advocates for a nationwide response when they act collectively on an issue that involves an endless variety of needs and circumstances.”  

For more information visit 

Community Foundation Climate Collaborative Members: 

  1. Adirondack Foundation 
  2. Central Valley Community Foundation (CA) 
  3. Chicago Community Trust 
  4. Cleveland Foundation 
  5. Community Foundation for Broward County 
  6. Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo 
  7. Community Foundation for Greater New Haven 
  8. Community Foundation for Monterey County 
  9. Community Foundation for Nantucket 
  10. Community Foundation for Northern Virginia 
  11. Community Foundation for SE Michigan 
  12. Community Foundation of South Alabama 
  13. Community Foundation Sonoma County 
  14. Fairfield County’s Community Foundation 
  15. Greater New Orleans Foundation 
  16. Hamitlon Community Foundation (OH) 
  17. Hartford Foundation for Public Giving 
  18. Hawaii Community Foundation 
  19. Humboldt Area Foundation + Wild Rivers Community Foundation 
  20. Lincoln Community Foundation 
  21. Marin Community Foundation 
  22. Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation 
  23. Napa Valley Community Foundation 
  24. New Hampshire Charitable Foundation 
  25. Omaha Community Foundation 
  26. New Mexico Foundation 
  27. Oregon Community Foundation 
  28. Gray Family Foundation 
  29. Park City Community Foundation 
  30. Puerto Rico Community Foundation 
  31. Rhode Island Foundation 
  32. San Diego Foundation 
  33. San Francisco Foundation 
  34. Seattle Foundation 
  35. Silicon Valley Community Foundation 
  36. St. Louis Community Foundation 
  37. The Columbus Foundation 
  38. The Dayton Foundation 
  39. The Denver Foundation 
  40. The Indianapolis Foundation 
  41. The Miami Foundation 
  42. The New York Community Trust 
  43. The Pittsburgh Foundation 
  44. Westchester Community Foundation