How Do I Start?

Philanthropy has many options for improving health, equity, environmental, and other outcomes while addressing climate change.  Some funders invest directly in this intersectional work, like by supporting fieldwork and movement-building.  Others — focused on a specific issue, place or population — may address the climate, health, and equity implications for those priorities. 

Browse tips below for using this toolkit to learn about the landscape, explore your interests, and find hubs of information and activity that may be most relevant for you.  

Get a sense of the big picture   

  • Read the introduction to climate, health, and equity philanthropy on the Overviews page.
  • Scan findings of a 2019 survey of funders and nonprofits addressing climate, health, and equity issues from varied angles.  
  • Watch a recording of a March 2020 webinar for funders, reporting on that 2019 survey.

Learn what other funders are supporting

 Learn about what nonprofits are doing 

Consider what’s at stake and in play    

  • For people.  Scan the overview of “Who’s Impacted” and resources by impact focus to learn about populations or communities highly impacted by climate change.  Consider  the threats they’re facing and the problem-solving or solutions they’re pursuing.
  • For places.  Check Resources by Geographic Focus.   Look for assessments of how climate change is impacting your communities of focus, what’s incoming, and who will be most adversely impacted.  Talk with funders in your area,  philanthropy-supporting organizations, nonprofit hubs or local contacts about regional concerns and strategies. If you find gaps in information about regional threats, vulnerabilities, preparedness, and resilience strategies, that may be one potential starting point for grantmaking.  
  • For issues.  See Resources by Issue Focus.  Talk with funders, staff of philanthropy-supporting organizations, and/or nonprofits sharing your issue interests about how they’re addressing climate, health, and equity concerns.  Be curious about active or potential alliances and multi-solving between your issue interests and others affected by climate change. 
  • For advancing equity.  In exploring your climate, health, and equity interests, look for analysis that includes a racial lens in highlighting problems, options, capacities, or strategies.  Ask yourself and others:  who’s being most impacted?  What roles are they playing in problem-solving and solution strategies? Notice where analyses or dialogues are not yet considering impacts of racism, including impacted groups, or seeking out opportunities to advance racial equity.   Reach out to any of the toolkit partners if your foundation could use support in addressing racism and advancing racial equity.    



    More Targeted Recommendations

    For health funders

    Grantmakers In Health (GIH) also recommends:

    • Reviewing GIH's suggestions on the First Reads page.
    • Visiting GIH’s health equity page and signing up for the Health Equity Funder Network e-forum to stay up-to-date on activities, connect with peers, and share resources or questions.
    • Joining HEFN’s email group for funders interested in health and equity issues related to climate change. (The email group is free and open to funders inside and beyond HEFN’s membership.)  Sign up here.
    • Reaching out to GIH staff for technical assistance and to share your interests. GIH staff can also connect you with other funders who are working on the same issues. Email GIH Program Director Alison Perencevich at

    For environmental health and justice funders

    The Health and Environmental Funders Network also recommends:

    • These First Reads
    • Asking for a brief consultation with a HEFN staff member about your interests and about ways in which environmental health and justice philanthropy is tackling climate, health, and equity. Email HEFN Director of Strategic Programs Jeff Wise at 
    • Joining HEFN’s email group for funders interested in health and equity issues related to climate change.  (The email group is free and open to funders inside and beyond HEFN’s membership.)  Sign up here