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Environmental Solutions
July 29, 2021

Beginning in late 2021, AVDF will direct funding in its environment program to projects that aim to influence attitudes and behaviors in ways that will address key environmental problems. The Foundations expect to award 13-15 million dollars over the next five years to support this initiative, marking a significant annual increase in its environment portfolio.

When it comes to grant support for environmental solutions, people often think first and foremost about funding that seeks to yield or scale technical innovations, or funding to develop and test important policies and practices. These approaches are crucial, to be sure. But in seeking to address environmental problems, it is important not to neglect another category of approaches, namely, behavior change.

Environmental solutions that aim to change the way people behave—including the way people think about what they value, their behaviors, and the health of the environment—are often necessary to the success of these other approaches. For example, a breakthrough innovation may be ignored or underused unless its target audiences are aware of it and understand its connection to things they value. And even the most promising policies and practices must be communicated effectively in order to win sufficient public support.

With this in mind, AVDF grant-making over the next several years will aim to educate American audiences about urgent environmental problems (especially climate change), motivate them to take action, and guide them to effective solutions. AVDF will work with organizations that specialize in strategic communication, organizational transformation, and training, all informed by cutting-edge work in the natural and social sciences. And in doing so, AVDF will partner with a small but growing cohort of like-minded funders who have chosen to emphasize behavior change in their environment programming.

We hope that this work will contribute to lasting changes in the ways that individuals across the spectrum think and act concerning the most important environmental issues of our time.

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