Making Climate Justice Inevitable

Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) formed in response to a simple truth: traditional environmental movements are not fighting for the communities most impacted by climate change. The environmental justice landscape has historically been dominated by white-led organizations that work through moderate legislative policies, single-issue campaigns, and market-based solutions driven by profit. Only 1.3% of climate philanthropic giving in the U.S. goes to the communities impacted first and worst by climate change and these communities have been saying loudly that business-as-usual solutions cannot and will not lead to a future where they are able to thrive. But there are solutions that will. And CJA is championing them across the world.

When unhealthy systems are entrenched in our society, paths to a just future require transformative reimagining. We know that the billions of tons of CO2 dumped into our atmosphere every year are fueled by exploitation, colonialism, consumerism, and militarism. CJA’s climate justice framework, which builds on frameworks birthed from labor unions and environmental justice groups, moves us from extraction to regeneration using Just Transition principles. CJA uses its platform and coalition of 88 frontline, base-building, and grassroots groups to set it in motion across the world. They also train members of communities that are already seeing the effects of climate change to educate and organize their fellows. Because of this, localities across the globe have the tools and resources to fight for economic solutions that will allow them and their children to thrive. 

CJA is also putting philanthropic dollars into the hands of the grassroots through their Fund for Frontline Power (F4FP), A 100% grassroots-governed fund that supports grassroots-led climate solutions. In the first phase of the project, they distributed $6.4 million to BIPOC-led grassroots organizations across 23 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. F4FP is not only correcting historical imbalances in how BIPOC-led climate organizations are funded, they are backing frontline-led climate solutions that cool the planet and lead us to local, sustainable, regenerative economies.

“We came together to build something”Luis Gonzalez, Climate Justice Alliance

WDN’s five years of funding, totaling $460,000, has helped Climate Justice Alliance scale its work. Recently, it received federal recognition in the form of a $50 million federal grant which they will distribute through F4FP (and which sparked outraged statements from several congresspeople because of CAJ’s stalwart support for Palestinian rights). CJA/F4FP plans to use the money to provide more support to grassroots organizations and regrant tens of millions of dollars over the next three years while putting the power fully into the hands of organizers. They’re currently operating on reserves while they wait for the funds. To bridge this gap, WDN backed them with another grant in our latest round of grantmaking.

CJA’s values and vision are exactly what we are proud to support at WDN. We fight for the freedom, safety, and dignity of all people and we know that often means backing visionary organizations early on so that they are able to build at the edge of what’s possible. Our impact is felt not just in what we do – moving millions in funding every year to organizations helmed by BIPOC leaders, women, and gender-expansive people – but how we do it – by collaborating together, trusting movement expertise, committing to personal and cultural transformation, and building towards liberation for all. 

WDN and our 501(c)(4) sister WDN Action have moved over $100M to the field over our lifetime – 60% of that in the last 5 years, alone. In our first round of member-involved grantmaking of the year, we granted over $3 million to social change movements.

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