In times of great change and challenge, there are always opportunities to crack open the old patterns and imagine the new. At the start of this year, we shared our new vision and mission and refreshed organizational values. As we reimagine our work to bring this framework to life and identify new opportunities to realize our vision, we are driven by a renewed sense of possibility for what we can collectively accomplish.
At the forefront of issues and behind the scenes, there are people and communities working to build just societies and protect and restore a healthy, resilient natural world. We share their vision. We believe in their ability to change our future. As we reflect on the past year and look to the year ahead, we are especially heartened by their efforts:
- We know an inclusive, equitable democracy is essential for advancing and sustaining the progress we seek, so this year we allocated $15.5 million for urgent grantmaking in support of our U.S. democracy. We are buoyed by the courage and tenacity of partners, election officials, and poll workers across the country who carried out the midterm elections credibly, effectively, and peacefully. We are mindful of the longer road ahead, with many partners already addressing the challenge of dis/misinformation and the importance of a government that delivers for its citizens.
- We grieved the consequences of the Supreme Court’s June ruling dismantling Roe v. Wade and reversing decades of progress toward gender equity, reproductive health, and abortion care, and we continue to imagine a future where reproductive health and abortion care is available and accessible for all. After the Court decision, we doubled down on our investments to support the work of our grantee partners with $14.1 million of additional funding that enabled them to regroup and redouble their efforts towards that future, with heartening results in the midterm elections.
- We imagine a future where the health and well-being of families and communities are a priority in our government policies and systems. We saw this possibility come alive through the temporary Child Tax Credit program under the American Rescue Plan Act that drove down child poverty rates to near record lows in just one year. We worked with colleagues and partners to help these government investments reach more families in more equitable and effective ways. Together, we will continue to seek long-term solutions that provide all kids and families with the support they need to thrive.
- We have a longstanding commitment to address the challenge of climate change and helped inaugurate an ambitious new partnership that imagines the end of tropical deforestation. The Forests, People, Climate collaborative, announced at COP27 in November, is a multi-partner, monumental effort that will focus on ending tropical deforestation by 2030. Consistent with our commitment to work with people and communities to create enduring solutions for just societies and a healthy, resilient natural world, this effort will support proven forest guardians, particularly Indigenous Peoples and local communities in the Global South who often face the first and worst impacts of climate change. We look forward to sharing more in the coming months.
- We are committed to investing in organizations that build the power of Black communities, and through our Justice and Equity Fund, provided $9.5 million to combat anti-Black racism in the U.S. This included support to PolicyLink, an equity-focused research and action institute, to develop equity standards that guide and measure the racial equity impacts of legislation, including the infrastructure investments from the Investing in Infrastructure and Jobs Act (IIJA). Their work will guide local, regional, and state officials and community-based organizations in advancing equity and accountability.
- We have long upheld science and scientists as core to enabling progress across society, and we imagine a world that is safe for science. When Afghanistan fell to the Taliban, we supported our longstanding partner, the National Academies of Sciences (NAS), to help Afghan scientists, engineers, and their families at risk of Taliban retaliation escape to safety. This effort expanded to Ukraine after the Russian invasion unleashed another humanitarian crisis. Once again, NAS helped scientists—most of whom are women—and their families flee to safety and secure placements at research institutions in neighboring countries, allowing them to continue to engage in their research and stay connected to the international science community.
- We have had the great pleasure of working alongside many local leaders and youth who are driving change in their communities. In Salinas, California, community leaders are transforming the East Side of Salinas, resulting in more robust housing, a larger library, more arts spaces, and open spaces. Especially inspiring is a project to reclaim a seasonally dry lakebed and transform it into a large park where nature can once again flourish amid trails and picnic areas for families. Youth leaders who have now grown up to become community leaders have helped to shape the design and vision of the future park.
We close out 2022 with a heartfelt salute to everyone who unlocked new ideas and uncovered new pathways.
We are honored to be on this journey with you, and we look forward to working alongside you in the months to come as we collectively pursue enduring solutions where people and nature flourish.