Our Grant Making Approach

If we’re going to meet the challenge of climate change, we must address the injustice and dysfunction that created the problem in the first place. This means building new power in communities across the country:

  • political power to offset the influence of the fossil fuel and financial sectors;
  • economic power to create alternative structures for business and finance; and
  • cultural power to provide a new narrative and vision of what is possible.

Our grants program focuses on helping organizations, especially those on the frontlines of the old extractive economy, build these new kinds of power.

In 2013, the Chorus Foundation initiated a ten-year funding commitment to Eastern Kentucky — through to the Foundation’s anticipated spend down in 2023 — to speed a just transition in the region. This investment aligned with the Foundation’s intention to strengthen the US movement to address climate change, especially in the regions of the country that have been most impacted by the fossil fuel industry.

Then, after a year-long process that concluded in 2016, the Foundation made eight-year funding commitments to three additional communities: Alaska; Buffalo, New York; and Richmond, California. These communities, along with Eastern Kentucky, are working to build a new economy based on the principles of broadly shared economic prosperity, democratic governance and ownership, and climate and environmental justice. Through its long-term, unrestricted funding commitments to anchor organizations in each community — as well as through additional funding for other organizations and projects in each region — the Foundation supports a variety of activities aimed at building local power and leadership.

The anchor organizations in each community include:

Alaska

Eastern Kentucky

Richmond, California

Buffalo, New York

In addition, the Chorus Foundation also provides support (by invitation only) to a select number of organizations and coalitions, such as the Climate Justice Alliance, that are connecting local communities and building a stronger, more coordinated national movement.

Any organizations wishing to be considered for a grant from the Chorus Foundation must submit either a concept paper followed by a full proposal, or a full proposal only.

Applying for a Grant

Grants

Glossary of Approaches

Organization Geographic Region Approach
Native Peoples Action Alaska Just Transition in Alaska
COAP Kentucky Just Transition in Eastern Kentucky
People's Action US Collaboration and Movement Building
Central Appalachian Network (CAN) Kentucky Just Transition in Eastern Kentucky
New Era Colorado Foundation Colorado Direct Action and Training
Cooperation Richmond Richmond Just Transition in Richmond
Unpack Impact US Collaboration and Movement Building, and Research
Tenants Together Richmond Just Transition in Richmond
Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society (University of California) Richmond Just Transition in Richmond
Momentum US Direct Action and Training
People's Action Institute US Collaboration and Movement Building
Gwich'in Steering Committee US Collaboration and Movement Building
The Free History Project (FHP) US Cultural Organizing
Grassroots International US Moving Philanthropy
Hoonah Indian Association Alaska Just Transition in Alaska
Native Movement Alaska Just Transition in Alaska
Alaska Conversation Foundation Alaska Just Transition in Alaska
Boston Ujima Project Massachusetts Collaboration and Movement Building
Another Gulf is Possible (AGIP) Gulf Coast Collaboration and Movement Building
Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE) US Collaboration and Movement Building
GreenWave US Direct Action and Training
First Alaskans Institute Alaska Just Transition in Alaska
Center for Civic Policy (CCP) US Movement Support Organization
The Alaska Center Education Fund Alaska Just Transition in Alaska
ACCE Institute California Just Transition in Richmond
RYSE Center Richmond Just Transition in Richmond
Rich City Rides Richmond, CA Just Transition in Richmond
Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky Kentucky Just Transition in Kentucky
Neighborhood Funders Group (NFG) US Movement Support
New Economy Coalition (NEC) US Movement Support
Ujima Company Buffalo, New York Just Transition in Buffalo
The WASH Project Buffalo Just Transition in Buffalo
Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) Buffalo Just Transition in Buffalo
Coalition for Economic Justice (CEJ) Buffalo, NY Just Transition in Buffalo
Public Accountability Initiative (PAI) Buffalo Just Transition in Buffalo
Climate Fund US Movement Support
Partnership for the Public Good (PPG) Buffalo Just Transition in Buffalo
Urban Tilth Richmond Just Transition in Richmond
Oregon Rural Action (ORA) Oregon Travel
Alaska Engagement Partnership (AEP) Alaska Collaboration and Movement Building, Direct Action and Training, Strategic Campaign, Just Transition in Alaska
Native American Rights Fund (NARF) Alaska Research, Just Transition in Alaska
Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) Richmond Collaboration and Movement Building, Direct Action and Training, Research, Just Transition in Richmond
Open Buffalo Buffalo Collaboration and Movement Building, Direct Action and Training, Just Transition in Buffalo
People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH Buffalo) Buffalo Collaboration and Movement Building, Direct Action and Training, Just Transition in Buffalo
REDOIL Alaska Direct Action and Training
Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) US Collaboration and Movement Building
People's Climate Movement US Direct Action and Training
Center for Rural Strategies Kentucky Movement Support Organization
Beyond Extreme Energy US Direct Action and Training
International Program for Labor, Climate & Environment at the Murphy Institute, CUNY US Collaboration and Movement Building
Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Kentucky Movement Support
Appalachian Citizens' Law Center (ACLC) Kentucky Research
Center for Effective Government (CEG) US Research
Rockefeller Family Fund (RFF) US Movement Support
Gulf Coast Community Initiatives (GCCI) Gulf Coast Collaboration and Movement Building
UPROSE New York Direct Action and Training
Gulf Future Coalition Gulf Coast Direct Action and Training
The STAY Project (STAY) Kentucky Just Transition in Eastern Kentucky
The Wildfire Project US Direct Action and Training
Wisconsin League of Conservative Voters Institute (WLCVI) Wisconsin Collaboration and Movement Building
Western Energy Justice Project (WEJP) Mountain West Movement Support Organization
Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association of New Orleans (VAYLA) Louisiana Collaboration and Movement Building
US-Africa Network US Collaboration and Movement Building
Tar Sands Blockade (TSB) US Direct Action and Training
Southeast Education Foundation Kentucky Just Transition in Eastern Kentucky
The Ohio Organizing Collaborative (OOC) Ohio Collaboration and Movement Building
Solidago Foundation US Collaboration and Movement Building
Sightline Institute US Strategic Campaign
Sierra Club Foundation US Strategic Campaign
Rooftop Revolution US Strategic Campaign
RESTORE (Restore Explicit Symmetry To Our Ravaged Earth) Trust Louisiana Collaboration and Movement Building
Rainforest Action Network (RAN) US Direct Action and Training
Project Survival Media (PSM) US Cultural Organizing
Other 98% US Direct Action and Training
Opportunity Agenda US Cultural Organizing
Northern Plains Resource Council Montana Collaboration and Movement Building
New World Foundation (NWF) US Collaboration and Movement Building
Virginia New Majority Education Fund Virginia Collaboration and Movement Building
MQVN Community Development Corporation Louisiana Collaboration and Movement Building
Media Matters for America US Research
Management Assistance Group (MAG) US Collaboration and Movement Building
Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development (CSED) Louisiana Collaboration and Movement Building
Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) Louisiana Collaboration and Movement Building
Idle No More (INM) US Direct Action and Training
Gulf Restoration Network Gulf Coast Collaboration and Movement Building
Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health Gulf Coast Collaboration and Movement Building
Friends of the Rappahannock Virginia Strategic Campaign
Energy Justice Network (EJN) US Movement Support Organization
Energy Action Coalition (EAC) US Direct Action and Training
Ecotrust US Research
EcoEducation Initiatives US Direct Action and Training
Dakota Rural Action South Dakota Collaboration and Movement Building
Cornell Global Labor Institute (GLI) US Collaboration and Movement Building
Coming Clean US Research
California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC) US Direct Action and Training
Alliance for Youth Organizing US Strategic Campaign
Before It Starts Utah Direct Action and Training
Beautiful Trouble US Cultural Organizing
Atchafalaya Basinkeeper Gulf Coast Collaboration and Movement Building
As You Sow US Direct Action and Training
The American Prospect US Cultural Organizing
The Alliance for Appalachia Kentucky Just Transition in Eastern Kentucky
Young Climate Leaders Network (YCLN) US Collaboration and Movement Building
The Working World (TWW) US Movement Support Organization
Wooloo US Movement Support Organization
Western Native Voice Mountain West Collaboration and Movement Building
SumofUs US Movement Support Organization
Orb Technologies Kentucky Just Transition in Eastern Kentucky
Not an Alternative US Cultural Organizing
Netcentric Campaigns Pennsylvania Collaboration and Movement Building
Movement Strategy Center (MSC) US Collaboration and Movement Building, Moving Philanthropy
Maypop Collective for Climate and Economic Justice Pennsylvania Direct Action and Training
Labor Network for Sustainability (LNS) US Movement Support Organization, Research
Kentuckians For The Commonwealth (KFTC) Kentucky Just Transition in Eastern Kentucky, Collaboration and Movement Building
Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy Gulf Coast Collaboration and Movement Building
Grassroots Policy Project (GPP) US Movement Support Organization
Free Speech For People US Strategic Campaign
Center for Appalachian Studies Kentucky Just Transition in Eastern Kentucky
Brave Heart Society of the Ihanktonwan US Direct Action and Training
Bolder Giving US Moving Philanthropy
Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) Richmond Collaboration and Movement Building, Direct Action and Training, Just Transition in Richmond
CEL Education Fund US Movement Support Organization
Western Organization Of Resource Councils Education Project (WORC) Mountain West Collaboration and Movement Building
Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS) Texas Collaboration and Movement Building
Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) Kentucky Just Transition in Eastern Kentucky
Ruckus Society US Direct Action and Training
Revolutions Per Minute (RPM) US Cultural Organizing
Peaceful Uprising US Direct Action and Training
Ohio River Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC) West Virginia Collaboration and Movement Building
New Media Ventures US Moving Philanthropy
National People's Action (NPA) US Collaboration and Movement Building
Movement Generation US Movement Support Organization, Moving Philanthropy
Mountain Watershed Association Pennsylvania Collaboration and Movement Building
Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) Kentucky Just Transition in Eastern Kentucky
Missourians Organizing For Reform And Empowerment (MORE) Missouri Collaboration and Movement Building
Indigena Foundation US Direct Action and Training
Highlander Research and Education Center Kentucky Just Transition in Eastern Kentucky
Health Care Without Harm US Collaboration and Movement Building, Research
Grassroots Global Justice (GGJ) US Movement Support Organization
Friends of the Earth (FOE) US Collaboration and Movement Building, Research
Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network (DSN) US Direct Action and Training
EDGE Funders Alliance US Moving Philanthropy
Earthworks US Collaboration and Movement Building, Direct Action and Training
Community Farm Alliance (CFA) Kentucky Just Transition in Eastern Kentucky
Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) US Collaboration and Movement Building, Cultural Organizing, Direct Action and Training
Clear Creek Creative Kentucky Just Transition in Eastern Kentucky
Center for Story-based Strategy (CSS) US Movement Support Organization
Catskill Mountainkeeper US Collaboration and Movement Building
Black Mesa Water Coalition (BMWC) Arizona Collaboration and Movement Building
Better Future Project (BFP) Massachusetts Collaboration and Movement Building
Appalshop Kentucky Just Transition in Eastern Kentucky, Collaboration and Movement Building, Cultural Organizing
Alaskans First Alaska Collaboration and Movement Building
7th Empire Media US Cultural Organizing
350 US Collaboration and Movement Building

Our Mission-Related Investments Approach

Foundations have social goals, but our power is financial. If we’re serious about supporting social change, then we should be applying the same social mission lens to all of our financial activities – not just to our grant making, but to our investments as well.

The Chorus Foundation has been free of fossil fuel investments since our inception. But divestment is only the first step. The next step is to invest in solutions to the climate crisis – something that we have already been exploring.

We believe we have a responsibility to prioritize investment in the communities that are most familiar with the fossil fuel industry – not just in terms of impact, but also in terms of employment and economic development. We’re learning how to invest directly in the same communities that we support with our grant making.

We understand that that this kind of investment requires different forms of capital guided by a broad set of metrics. We also understand that it requires a strong partnership between economic development and social movement organizing. Where there are not yet investment opportunities, we need to consider how our grant making could help those opportunities become real.

We believe foundations, as mission-driven organizations, should prioritize investments that further our social missions and – by showing what can be done – open up new investment opportunities for more traditional investors. Foundations should be among the most forward-thinking of investors.

Instead of investing in destructive industries that generate wealth for only the few, we should be investing in clean alternatives that benefit the many. Instead of holding our investments to dangerous and unrealistic expectations of endless financial growth, we should prioritize social returns that are truly sustainable. We need to divest from the old economy and invest in the transition to a new economy. To date, we have invested nearly $4 million in solar and other clean energy as well as in a very small number of companies building the new economy. For example:

  • Ethical Electric powers homes and businesses with 100% clean energy from renewable sources like wind and solar and uses the profits to fund causes that benefit the planet and advance equality, peace, justice, and opportunity. The investment helped finance its growth.
  • Seventh Generation is an established company selling natural, non-toxic household and personal care products.
  • The Working World is a non-profit organization that provides investment capital and technical support to worker cooperatives. It lends people the tools to democratically build lasting wealth for themselves, their businesses, and their communities.
Organization Geographic Region Year
Beacon Capital Partners US 2008
The Working World Inc US 2014
Bayside Productions LLC US 2014
The Message Productions LLC US 2014
Human Race LLC US 2014
SfunCube LLC California 2013
Ethical Electric US 2013
Yansa CIC US 2014
Yansa CIC US 2013
Seventh Generation, Inc. US 2010
Mosaic Solar Investments LLC US 2013