Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation announced Tuesday that it is committing $15 million in grants to climate justice organizations in the United States and the Caribbean, according to a press release.
With funding support from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s #StartSmall philanthropic initiative, the grants will go toward 18 grassroots organizations working to address the growing inequities caused by the climate crisis. The groups — primarily led by women, youth, Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) and LGBTQ+ communities — focus on building community resilience through adaptation measures.
"At the Clara Lionel Foundation, much of the work is rooted in the understanding that climate disasters, which are growing in frequency and intensity, do not impact all communities equally, with communities of color and island nations facing the brunt of climate change,” said Robyn "Rihanna" Fenty, founder of the Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF), in a statement. “This is why CLF prioritizes both climate resilience and climate justice work across the US and Caribbean.”
This funding is part of the foundation’s justice pillar, which focuses on “fighting for new, equitable systems and policy change.” The climate crisis is fundamentally intersectional in nature, meaning it’s felt most keenly along the existing fault lines of inequality. It’s a feminist issue, a racial justice issue, an economic rights issue, and a disability rights issue.
The Clara Lionel Foundation’s latest grants reflect this understanding. The organizations benefiting from the $15 million investment cover a broad cross section of their respective communities.
There’s the Black Feminist Fund, which aims to fund feminist organizers around the world. The Caribbean Youth Environment Network wants to empower young people to take on the challenges of climate change.
The Climate Justice Alliance is leading the global effort for a “just transition” away from fossil fuels and extractive economies, and the Indigenous Environmental Network is supporting the Indigenous communities who have long advocated for this transition.
The Solutions Project, meanwhile, seeks to kickstart the next generation of climate solutions.
The other organizations selected for support include Black Visions Collection, Center for Popular Democracy, Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, GirlsCARE, Helen's Daughters, HEY Campaign (The Ashley Lashley Foundation), Hive Fund for Gender and Climate Justice, Integrated Health Outreach, Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), Native Movement, NDN Collective, and the Caribbean Climate Justice Project.
You can read more about these groups here.
The press release refers to the pledge as “this round of grants,” which suggests that further rounds of financial support will come in the future. In 2020, the foundation granted $50 million in funding to organizations working on COVID-19 response, climate resilience, and justice.
The Clara Lionel Foundation has pivoted to focusing on climate resilience and justice in part because of the devastating hurricanes that made landfall in the Caribbean in recent years. Since its founding in 2012, the organization has raised $80 million to support more than 150 projects across 20 countries.
Rihanna has been an advocate for and financial supporter of dozens of causes over the years. She’s donated $5 million to frontline health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and lent her support to securing billions for girls' education. She’s lifted her voice to champion farmers protesting in India, Puerto Ricans struggling after Hurricane Maria, and trans women around the world. She’s also joined forces with Global Citizen several times, as a Global Ambassador for Education with the Global Partnership for Education, and performing at Global Citizen Festivals.