Year 1 – 2009

Summary: In its first three months the Foundation made a number of financial awards that will contribute to a long-term, strategic portfolio of supported activity, starting with climate change; discovered the thrills of Big Give week (each December, when the generosity of the Reed Foundation and others allows donors to a wide range of causes to ‘double their money’. More information here); and connected up to the collective expertise of the Environmental Funders Network:

–  £6,000 to Friends of the Earth  to pay for their well attended fundraising event (on 15th October at the Hub, Kings Cross) in advance of the Copenhagen Climate Change negotiations.  The speakers were Andy Atkins, Executive Director FOE; Professor Kevin Anderson, Director Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research; Peter Ainsworth MP Shadow Environment spokesman 2005-9 and former Chair, Environmental Audit Committee; and Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International and Chair of Environmental Rights Action in Nigeria.

–  £7,500 (with the assistance of matched funding from the Big Give) to Friends of the Earth to sponsor two FOE expert campaigners who are part of their team seeking to influence the outcome of the international climate change negotiations in Copenhagen.  “I realised it would be an enormous missed opportunity if the Foundation didn’t immediately make a second contribution to campaigning activity around this hugely significant global event.” Anthony Rae

–  £7,500 (also with Big Give matched funding, and via the contribution of an associate to the Foundation) to Friends of the Earth to fund ongoing climate change campaigning after Copenhagen that might be needed the following year – 2010 .

“I’m supporting FOE (rather than other campaigning organisations) with these three grants on the back of their superb campaign to devise and successfully promote the Climate Change Act 2008, which has set the UK national framework for emissions reduction; and their attempts to link together the positions of the Global South and North in a common stance based on justice.”

Finding suitable projects to fund in the Foundation’s second area of the ARF portfolio – research-based biodiversity and ecosystem services campaigning – was always going to take a longer time to develop so in the meantime I’ve had to content myself with smaller-scale ‘conservation’ funding:

–  £1,500 to WWF for their international Tiger conservation project and £1,500 (both with Big Give matched funding) to Fauna & Flora International for their international gorilla conservation programme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Uganda. 

–  £1,500 ‘Season of Giving’: At the end of each year*, the Foundation will make some smaller donations, beyond its defined focus of activity, and to round-off the annual programme.  This year these donations are (again with Big Give matched funding): £750 to the Oxfam project Irrigation to help families adapt to climate change in Zimbabwe  to provide a year-round source of food to 25,000 people; and £750 to a second Oxfam project which is supporting 70,000 pastoralists in the drought stricken Somali Region of Ethiopia.

Total made available by the Foundation in 2009* (including matched funding and Gift Aid):  £25,000 – against a target of £20,000

Conclusion: “These first few months proved to be a great start for the Foundation, and a rewarding new addition to my personal portfolio of activity. EFN membership will greatly assist the professionalism of the Foundation’s development.” Anthony Rae

* The Foundation operates on calendar years, usefully crossing the usual April financial year boundary

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