These are challenging times. For the Energy Foundation team, it is already many weeks of sheltering in place and working remotely. Since closing all of our offices, our entire staff is adjusting to this “new abnormal.” Each week brings new challenges, so we want to share what we’ve learned so far as we continue to foster connection, community within our grantee and partner networks, and plan for the long haul.
Not surprisingly, there is a high degree of personal and professional uncertainty among grantees and partners. Energy Foundation remains committed to supporting the network of advocates and consultants who are leading climate and clean energy action across the country. We continue to move funds to the field at our regular pace. Our staff are working with smaller, less-resourced grantees to allow them to modify the use of funds to one-time expenses, such as payroll needs or technical support, to help them continue operations during the crisis and preserve critical capacity for future advocacy work. And, we have put in place new flexibility provisions for all grantees, including:
- allowing grantees to adjust their work plans without additional reporting;
- extend grant end dates upon request; and
- automatically extending reporting deadlines by three months.
The current health crisis has altered the landscape for climate and clean energy work, and likely not just in the immediate term. The advocacy community is moving quickly to adjust how they work and update strategies at the federal, state, and city levels given changing dynamics. This is a particularly important time to be thinking about the need to support equitable policies and outcomes, as the crisis has exacerbated and brought to light the vulnerabilities of historically marginalized and disenfranchised communities. Teams are moving fast where appropriate to advance clean energy as a core solution to restoring the American economy.
As some have begun to articulate, the connections between the COVID-19 crisis and the climate crisis are unmistakable. Governors and mayors across the country have been on the front lines of leading the response. Relying on sound science is critical to understanding the path forward. And large-scale investment and public action are required to help communities recover from the crisis.
We are grateful for the partnerships we have built over the years and the strength of the response. Please continue to visit this space for updates, as we are learning almost daily what grantees need and how best to support the field.
Wishing you, your families, and communities good health.