Greening our investments

Local grant making charity Sussex Community Foundation has made a commitment to work to reduce climate change. The Foundation’s trustees agreed to sign up to the Funders Commitment to Climate Change, an initiative supported by the Association of Charitable Foundations, which commits them to:

  • Educate and learn about climate change
  • Raise funds to help address climate change
  • Provide funding for charities and projects that reduce our negative impact on the environment
  • Steward our investments for a post carbon future
  • Decarbonise our operations
  • Report on progress.

Sussex Community Foundation holds an endowment fund of £23 million, which is invested to create an annual grant-making fund to support local communities. Over the next few months, the charity will disinvest from carbon industries and move towards investments that actively address climate change.

The charity’s investments are managed by two investment managers, Sarasin and CCLA, both of which are leaders in ethical investing. As a first step, those funds held by Sarasin have already been transferred to the company’s ‘Climate Active Fund’. All new donations for endowment will be invested in funds that actively address climate change.

Sussex Community Foundation provides grants to help local communities address a wide range of issues, including climate change. Since March 2018, it has managed the Rampion Fund which has given £1.25 million in grants, mainly to projects that improve the environment or help address climate change.

For example, the Foundation made a grant of £50,000 to enable Care for Veterans in Worthing to install solar panels on the roofs of its buildings, part of a wider greening initiative by the charity. Care for Veterans estimate that this will save them £25,000 per year in fuel bills.

Kevin Richmond, Chief Executive of Sussex Community Foundation said: “Many people feel that climate change is the single biggest issue facing our generation. As a charity that is working to help build a better Sussex for everyone, we are committed to doing what we can to ensure that the planet survives and thrives for future generations.”

“We have an ambitious plan to address climate change in everything we do, from the way we run our office to the grants we give to the community. There are many local community groups which are doing amazing work to build a sustainable future. We hope that our commitment will inspire more people to give to support this local community action and to help ensure that Sussex is a great place to live for generations to come.”

The Funder’s Commitment on Climate Change is an initiative started by charitable trusts and was launched at the Association of Charitable Foundations annual conference in November 2019. To date, 34 grant making trusts have signed the commitment. Further details are available here.

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