While national news outlets focus on climate change catastrophes in other parts of the country, the Rochester-Finger Lakes region has more environmental problems than many people realize. These include historic flooding, heat warnings, and agricultural challenges.

The Community Foundation’s funding of environmental justice and sustainability is rooted in the understanding that the adverse effects of climate change are felt disproportionately in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. Our grantmaking aims to empower our most vulnerable communities through investment and inclusion and to make sure that all individuals – in urban, suburban, and rural areas – have access to the benefits of an equitable and green economy.

Partnering with the Foundation to advance environmental justice is a great opportunity for generous individuals to think globally and act locally – not just for the environment but for economic and racial equity. Here are some meaningful ways to take charge of change.

The Community Foundation’s Environment and Natural Resources Fund allows us to use our expertise to support the organizations and projects that will have the greatest impact on environmental justice and sustainability throughout our eight-county region. Because the fund is endowed, contributors can be assured their donations will have impact today and in the future.

To learn more about setting up your own fund to support environmental justice, click here.  

Here are some organizations that have recently been supported by Foundation grants.

  • Climate Solutions Accelerator of the Genesee-Finger Lakes Region: This nonprofit is working with partners to develop a regional strategy to achieve the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals of the New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, while maximizing the co-benefits of equitable climate action for our region.
  • Inclusive Woods & Us: A Foundation grant supports a pilot program that provides children and families access to outdoor programming and education focused on developing youths as stewards of the environment.
  • Rochester ENergy Efficiency and Weatherization (RENEW): This Community Foundation initiative leverages public and private funds to make the homes of income-qualified homeowners across Monroe County more energy-efficient and safe from hazards like lead paint.
  • Taproot Collective, Inc.: Funding from the Community Foundation’s “H” Fund and Gonsenhauser Family Fund is helping to protect and enhance community gardens in the Beechwood neighborhood and establish an equitable city land-sale policy. Learn more about Taproot on its website.

Connect with us on social media (FacebookLinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter) for news that will inform and inspire you. You’ll learn about our region’s pressing issues and the power of community-driven philanthropy to tackle them. 

You can also sign up for our e-news and invitations. We host a range of virtual and in-person events, from webinars on the intersection of equity and the environment to our annual celebration of philanthropy. 

We’d love to start a conversation about turning your vision into real-world change. Email us at giving@racf.org.