March 23, 2020

A pivotal year for the environment

Illustration by: Peter Pa, Climate Justice Now, Amplify

This year marks the opening of our fifth year of grantmaking through the Healthy Environment portfolio. As this Annual Funding Opportunity kicks off, the portfolio remains committed to investing in organizations and partnerships that have a vision for change and an approach based on values of justice, ecological sustainability, cooperation and healing.

2020 is a pivotal year for the environment. The lack of action on climate change, a growing number of environmental policy rollbacks at the federal level, intractable structural challenges in our state budget and the intersection of white nationalism with opposition to environmental protections are among the weighty issues our grantee partners wrestle with daily. At Meyer, we invest in organizations and collaboratives that demonstrate an understanding of this political, social and economic context -- and how power operates within this context to create and maintain social inequality and environmental problems -- in rural and urban communities across Oregon. Understanding context and seeking structural changes that get to the root of these challenges are crucial capabilities.

There are many examples of inspiring work aimed at tackling these challenges: efforts to reimagine and redesign systems and structures for 21st century realities, projects to scale up successful models for enhancing community and ecosystem resilience, and initiatives that expand the political influence of those most impacted by environmental problems.

We hope you will draw insights about the kinds of solutions we aim to support through our grantmaking from this interview with Alan Hipólito. We see the work of the Portland Clean Energy Fund Coalition as an example of the kind of approach and creative, structural solution we need to advance Meyer’s mission of a flourishing, equitable Oregon. In particular, we want to point out the important coalition structure that they created, one that centers the lived experience of communities that are on the front lines of climate change. From PCEF’s inception, frontline community organizations have led its effort, guiding organizations that have traditionally held more power in Oregon’s environmental movement to step back in support roles. This is equity in action.

The Healthy Environment team is eager to work with you on your upcoming grant applications, so please get in touch with us to discuss your ideas. We also are committed to exploring new ways to partner, across philanthropy and other sectors, to imagine what’s possible, build the capacity of Oregon’s environmental movement, back resilient communities, share stories about solutions and manifest a more equitable vision for the future.

Jill