Brave Philanthropy: Swimming Against the Tide

Divest-Invest Philanthropy is an international movement of 140+ foundations and family offices that have joined forces to divest from fossil fuels and invest in climate solutions.  

A few weeks ago, I sat down with the Educational Foundation of America, one of the original foundations to join Divest-Invest Philanthropy.  Board president Barbara Hapgood, board member Matthew Hapgood, and executive director Melissa Beck shared why their foundation decided to make the moral and economic choice to divest from fossil fuels and reinvest in clean energy.  

As Barbara Hapgood put it, “Our grandfather told us to focus the foundation’s efforts on the issues of the day.  That issue is climate change.  We want to use ALL of our assets to make a difference, and that means aligning our investments with our mission.  Why would we undercut our own environmental grant-making by keeping fossil fuels and other polluters in our investment portfolio?”  

Matt Hapgood noted that while divesting from fossil fuels is a moral issue, it’s also been good for their bottom line, “We’ve seen the fossil fuel industry losing money while renewables like wind, solar and battery technology have done well.”  

Last month, the 140 foundations of Divest-Invest Philanthropy won the Nelson Mandela-Graça Machel Civic Innovation Award for Brave Philanthropy—an incredible recognition of the work the movement has done to challenge the fossil fuel industry while simultaneously accelerating the clean energy transition.

Support the movement and SIGN THE PLEDGE to join Divest-Invest.

"In social movements, we're better together," says Melissa Beck, executive director of EFA.

The Educational Foundation of America released their message to 20,000 Chronicle of Philanthropy subscribers today.  Check out the full video here.