Are Foundations Shortchanging our Future?
As global warming moves to the forefront of public awareness, the health of the planet is suffering at the hands of billion dollar stakeholders. These high rollers are not corporations, but nonprofit foundations whose spending receives little oversight by the general public. Foundation monies, though spent on other good causes, may not be addressing our most urgent need: the preservation of our home.
In a recent article in Stanford Social Innovation Review, Charles Conn writes, "...only 5 percent of U.S. foundation spending goes to the environment, and a paltry 2.9 percent goes to science and technology. Of the top 50 foundation grantees in 2004, only three were environmental organizations. Even those foundations that do work on ecosystems spend much of their resources on small-scale land conservation. Government priorities are also skewed to the here and now. As the Oct. 30, 2006, New York Times reports, U.S. federal spending on energy research has fallen to $3 billion – less than half of its level in 1980 – while spending on medical research has quadrupled to $28 billion over the same period."
We must ask ourselves, if foundations and our government aren't stepping up with major dollars to help bring about the ecological u-turn, who is left to do it?
Image by mr blue don used under a Creative Commons license.Tweet