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Introducing our Racial Equity and Democracy (RED) Fund

Last year, before the world went into a global pandemic response to COVID-19, Energy Foundation (EF) revised our organization’s mission, vision, and values for the first time in 30 years. We recognized and responded to the need to build stronger relationships with allies, work to better align and grow climate philanthropy, and foster an organizational culture of equity, learning, and service. This process reaffirmed our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and the importance of continuing our organizational journey as individuals and driving genuine, transformational change through our programmatic work and grantmaking. 

The murder of George Floyd, among other events, sparked an overdue reckoning with racial injustice that propelled protests reflecting the deep pain of a nation mourning countless episodes of race-motivated violence at the hands of the police and others. We saw the pandemic expose deep canyons of inequity between classes, races, and geographies of the country. And we watched as democracy was threatened with unfounded claims of voter fraud, and countless actions across the country designed to undermine our rights.

These events, the continuing evolution of our mission, and a recognition of the need to increase equity in our grantmaking led to our creation of the Racial Equity and Democracy (RED) Fund. The RED Fund recognizes that addressing climate change requires advancing equity and protecting democracy. The connections between climate change, systemic racism, and attacks on our democracy are apparent; if we are to solve any of these, we must address them all.

Over the past two years, investments made via this fund have built and strengthened relationships across EF’s programs and helped to deliver on our mission to secure a clean and equitable energy future to tackle the climate crisis. In 2020, the RED Fund granted $3 million toward support for more than 40 organizations, most of them new EF granteees. In 2021, the RED Fund doubled its grantmaking, catalyzing funding for equity-focused grantees and supporting innovative, ambitious, community-led, community-focused projects that deliver direct climate benefits to communities and build equitable access to clean energy. These investments come alongside a growing focus on equity in all of our grantmaking, regardless of program area and reflect our increasing commitment to invest in organizations led by Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), equity-focused, environmental justice, and frontline organizations, and low-income advocates fighting for climate and racial justice and working to repair and create a more equitable democracy.

We hope you follow our progress as we continue to explore how we can be better partners and allies and expand our work while centering equity and justice.