Philanthropists Trevor Neilson, Aileen Getty, and Rory Kennedy have announced the launch of a fund aimed at catalyzing support for grassroots action to address the climate crisis.
With the goal of funding organizations such as Extinction Rebellion and the student protests inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, the Climate Emergency Fund hopes to raise tens of millions of dollars in support of grassroots non-violent action and will partner with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights to provide legal protection for activists. The fund has already awarded £500,000 ($628,000) through its CEF Grant Program, which provides three levels of support — an "activist start-up package," organizational development funding, and operational funding for established organizations.
Neilson, who served as director of public affairs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation before co-founding the Global Philanthropy Group and holding company i(x) investments, serves on the fund's board with Kennedy, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and co-founder of Moxie Firecracker Films, and Sarah Ezzy, who manages the Aileen Getty Foundation. The organization's advisory board includes Getty, the founding donor of the fund; author, environmental activist, and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben; New America fellow David Wallace-Wells, author of Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming; Future Coalition co-founder and executive director Katie Eder; and Climate Mobilization founder and executive director Margaret Klein Salamon.
"The world's philanthropists need to wake up to the reality that a gradualist approach to the climate emergency is doomed to fail," Neilson wrote in a blog post announcing the fund's launch. "The truth is that this is an emergency and philanthropists need to act like that truth is real."