Climate & Energy

Energy is a vital part of modern life.  But the types of energy we use - and how it is produced, used, and disposed of - have major consequences for public health and for communities.  Fossil fuels (oil, gas, and coal), in particular, directly impact health, local air pollution, and drinking water, and they are rapidly worsening global climate change.  Climate change is a serious threat to human health, as global warming emissions trap heat in the atmosphere and trigger a cascade of events like heat waves, droughts, and storms.

Where there are big challenges, there also are big opportunities for positive action.  Moves to address climate and energy challenges can offer win-wins for people, places, communities, and the economy.  The opportunity to support these positive shifts is motivating HEFN members' investments including in:

  • Protection, including to boost climate preparedness and assistance for vulnerable populations.  Grants are helping communities deal with impacts of polluting energy use and intensive energy extraction like oil and gas fracking; mountaintop removal, strip and longwall coal mining; or offshore drilling.  Grants help strengthen protection of health, air, and water quality in decisions on the built environment, transportation, power generation, and land use.
  • Prevention through actions to reduce future harm including by helping enable more participation of health and affected community representatives in decision-making and advocacy for healthier energy and actions to prevent catastrophic climate change.
  • Transformation, with grantmaking to build more resilient communities and to align stakeholders valuing health, communities and the environment in collaboration toward healthier conditions for all. 

HEFN's Past Petro Funder Group is for funders supporting the environmental health of communities in moving beyond the fossil fuel and petrochemical economy. HEFN also has a Climate Funder Group for funders advancing health and equity in work on climate change.  Join any of HEFN's email groups, or email to learn more.

Recommended First Reads:

Achieving a Climate for Health:  Philanthropy to Promote Health and Justice through the Challenges of Climate Change, a HEFN/ecoAmerica report

Is the Energy Boom in Your Backyard?  Oil and Gas Extraction Threatens Health and Communities Across the United States, a Grantmakers In Health Views from the Field essay

Drilling Deeper: Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing and Related Grantmaking Strategies, a HEFN report

Drilling Deeper: Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing and Related Grantmaking Strategies (4-pager), a HEFN issue brief

From Our Blog

Sonoma Coast Cliff
Blog posted on March 6, 2020
Michael Lerner, co-founder and chair emeritus of HEFN, and president of the Jenifer Altman Foundation and Commonweal, shares how we can...
Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay
Blog posted on January 24, 2020
HEFN enters 2020 energized to sustain the momentum and accomplishments from the past year and offers sincere thanks to the dedicated...

Stay Informed