Ray C. Anderson Foundation Commits $500,000 to Project Drawdown

Amplifying Existing, Commonly Available, Scientifically Proven Climate Change Solutions

The Ray C. Anderson Foundation has awarded a $500,000 challenge grant to Project Drawdown, a global initiative based on meticulous research and subsequent traditional and online publications that analyzes how and when we can reverse global warming. As Project Drawdown is proving, the key is to amplify existing, widely practiced, commonly available, and scientifically proven solutions.

The Foundation committed the funds in April, with a challenge to Project Drawdown to raise an additional $250,000 by the end of 2016. Project Drawdown accomplished this goal in September, triggering the first of two $250,000 grants. The remainder of the pledge will be satisfied in January 2017, just a few months before publication of the Drawdown book.  

“At certain crucial moments, Foundations can be presented with the opportunity to help bring into existence something that our world desperately needs,” said John A. Lanier, Executive Director of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation and a member of the Project Drawdown Board of Directors. “Our grant to Project Drawdown is one such moment. Their work is a beacon of optimism that we can indeed bring our climate back into balance.”

Drawdown is that point in time when the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere begin to decline on a year-to-year basis.

Project Drawdown describes when and how humanity can reach climate drawdown, the point at which greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere begin to decline on a year-to-year basis.

By mapping and modeling one hundred substantive, scalable solutions, Project Drawdown shows that it is possible for us to reverse climate change.

 “The success of the global climate change movement depends on having a rigorous, detailed, and compelling path forward,” said Paul Hawken, globally recognized environmentalist and Executive Director of Project Drawdown. “We are filling a void by doing the math on the atmospheric and financial impacts of state-of-the-shelf solutions. Our findings will be communicated through an internationally published book, an open-source database, and a growing global network of partner organizations.  To date, humanity has been more adept at imagining the end of civilization than its transformation, and more inclined to throw up our hands in despair or to dream of silver-bullet technologies, however unlikely.”

It was Paul Hawken’s influence through his book, The Ecology of Commerce, that in 1994 ignited the fire within Ray Anderson to transform how Interface, his carpet tile company, did business. Sustainability became both the moral obligation and the competitive advantage for the company. 

“I remember asking Ray in 2004 what one change humanity needed to make to gives us a chance at a sustainable future,” said Lanier. “He answered, ‘Solve climate change.’ I am confident that Ray would have seized upon Project Drawdown as the most important research ever conducted. If he were still with us, I doubt we could get him to stop talking about this brilliant work!”

“At its core, Drawdown is a clear and detailed case of what is possible,” said Hawken.  “We are counting what counts.  By collectively drawing down carbon, we lift up all of life.”

While the consummation of COP21 in Paris was extraordinary given that 195 countries came together to work on climate change, a detailed description of how to achieve their goals was missing.  Project Drawdown can fill that void.

In 2015, the Ray C. Anderson Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to Project Drawdown, allowing the Drawdown Coalition members to complete the first phase of research on 70 technological, ecological and social solutions to climate change.  The Foundation’s $500,000 commitment is for Phase II and delivery, which includes conducting a three-stage peer review process, and compiling the research into two primary communication tools – an internationally published book and Drawdown Interactive, a dynamic digital platform and open source database.