By: Jamie McCrary
This article is shared with permission from Philanthropy Southeast. It originally appeared in the Summer edition of their members-only magazine--Inspiration.
Hot and humid summers, menacing hurricanes and devastating tornadoes have always been part of life in the South.
But as the effects of climate change continue to emerge, Southern communities are increasingly in the crosshairs of intensifying weather events. Coastal communities are being threatened by rising tides and communities across the region can expect summer heat to reach stifling levels.
Southern philanthropy, in turn, is starting to take action by shifting funding priorities to focus on climate change solutions and to address climate change’s disproportionate impact on people of color and those living in less affuent communities.
For example, a recent Environmental Protection Agency report found that Black people are 40 percent more likely than other groups to live in places where extreme temperatures cause deaths. Black families are also 34 percent more likely to live in areas with high numbers of childhood asthma diagnoses – a condition that is often directly connected to environmental factors.
With these trends in mind, a cohort of Georgia family foundations is working to address these injustices and develop a coordinated approach to addressing climate change through Drawdown Georgia, a statewide climate initiative.
The inaugural foundations – which include Ray C. Anderson Foundation’s NextGen Committee, the R. Howard Dobbs, Jr. Foundation and its NextGen Dobbs Fund, The Wilbur & Hilda Glenn Family Foundation, The Kendeda Fund and The Sapelo Foundation see Drawdown Georgia as an important step in creating an ecosystem of funders and leaders that are working to advance equity-focused climate change solutions in their state.