Environment

As expected, this month’s Rio+20 conference and the People’s Summit were vast and challenging to navigate, with more than 500 side events to the official conference. Luckily, the orientation webinar and the breakfast briefings organized by the Consultative Group on Biological Diversity, the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA), and the Funders Network for Transforming Globalization helped us to get the 30,000 foot view of what’s at stake, hear about the progress made on negotiations, and find out what’s important outside of the official process. Equally important, we heard points of views on what philanthropy needs to do going forward.

If one can accept that mega confabs such as Rio+20 are inevitably about more talks, then the text (outcome) of the negotiating document that was finalized at about 3 a.m. on Tuesday, June 19, will not be surprising (or shocking). At yesterday’s breakfast briefing for funders on inside strategies and groups, organized by the Consultative Group on Biodiversity (CGBD), Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA), and the Funders Network for Transforming Globalization (FNTG), we heard an excellent overview from the South Center.

Preparing my slides for today’s “What’s Next for Green Careers?” session at the Second Annual National Fund meeting in Cincinnati gave me the opportunity to reflect on SkillWorks Green Jobs Initiative activities from 2009 to the present. It took me awhile to figure out what message I wanted to share with the audience: Don’t give up on green!

Roughly 80 percent of the coastal mangroves around the coastal Colombian town of Tumaco have been lost through deforestation, urban development, and contamination from frequent oil spills. The area is a hub for industrial storage and transportation of petroleum, and during most of the last 15 years, the remaining mangroves were preferred hideaways for armed groups to stash drugs or even bodies.

Coming into the Council’s Family Philanthropy Conference, I’m looking to follow two strains of curiosity. First, I want to see how other foundations have built collaborative community relationships that expand beyond traditional roles of grantor and grantees. More deeply, I’m curious about how foundations can maintain focus on a certain community as the board transitions to subsequent generations.

Illustrating the importance of constant evaluating and adjusting in grantmaking practices, the MacArthur Foundation recently revised its strategy when it comes to environmental conservation around the globe. The new focus is on slowing and reversing the degradation of ecosystems. Check out the updated strategy and the goals of improving this particular field of grantmaking.