Philanthropy in the South: The Urgent Case and Some Guidance for Foundations and Nonprofits


Through the As the South Grows initiative, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy and Grantmakers for Southern Progress have periodically reminded foundations that funding in the South does not match either its need or potential, but if last month’s voter turnout in Alabama did not convince you of the wastefulness of ignoring that message, maybe nothing will.

2017 brought historic hurricanes, aggressive deregulation of our air, water, and civil rights, and fervent denials about the reality of climate change from within the very agencies tasked with protecting our environment. Amidst this urgency, more actors in philanthropy have become interested in environmental justice and climate resilience.

Southerners are leading some of the most promising work to defend our land and our livelihoods, particularly Southerners of color and in low-income communities. After all, the modern environmental justice movement began in the American South. After decades laboring amidst a culture at best apathetic to black and brown communities’ environmental justice concerns, few may be better equipped to build power in today’s national context than Southern grassroots leaders.

What do funders need to understand differently in order to make a more to-scale commitment to this important region and advance progress for us all?

Recommended follow-up reads to keep the conversation going:

Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #FundtheSouth.