New $10 Million Program is Helping Frontline Climate Justice Groups
Build Communications Capacity & Narrative Power
As the climate crisis accelerates, frontline organizations — those led by the grassroots in communities most impacted by climate change, environmental racism, and other systemic injustices — are ramping up their work to develop solutions and protect their communities, despite being historically and chronically underfunded, particularly in the area of communications. Frontline climate organizations in the US and abroad are advocating for a Just Transition away from the dig, burn and dump economies and toward more regenerative ones.
Sadly, many organizations have had to rely on volunteers or short-term consultants to handle communications, if they have any dedicated capacity at all. Too often frontline organizations are left out of the story or must contend with larger, outside organizations to represent community interests. It’s critical that frontline organizations have the communications support they need to tell their own stories, advocate for key policies, celebrate successes, and engage their neighbors.
Across the country, frontline climate organizations are spearheading local Just Transitions to a clean energy economy, from securing policy wins and designing sustainable neighborhoods to running green job training programs and practicing regenerative farming. They build out worker cooperatives and community-controlled renewable energy, and coordinate mutual aid networks to help their communities prepare for and respond to climate-driven extreme weather events. We all benefit from witnessing the powerful work led by the grassroots. Their stories show the world what’s possible.
We are excited to announce the launch of a major new program — Communicating Our Power — designed to address the funding inequities and underrepresentation of frontline communities.
Through this $10 million program, Climate Justice Alliance, Center for Story-based Strategy, and The Solutions Project are partnering to support 20 frontline climate justice organizations across 16 states to build their communications capacity and narrative power. Each cohort member will receive funding to hire a full-time communications staff person, who will participate in a two-year grassroots-centered and expert-facilitated fellowship program focused on creating original content and developing communications and narrative strategies. They will also collaborate and learn from other frontline climate justice organizations.
The 2022–23 Communicating Our Power cohort includes:
- Alternatives for Communities & Environment (Boston, MA)
- Blacks in Green (Chicago, IL)
- Community to Community Development (Bellingham, WA)
- Detroit Black Food Security Network (Detroit, MI)
- Farmworker Association of Florida (Apopka, FL)
- Ironbound Community Corporation (Newark, NJ)
- Kheprw Institute (Indianapolis, IN)
- Little Manila Rising (Stockton, CA)
- Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (Chicago, IL)
- Native Movement (Anchorage, AK)
- Native Renewables (Flagstaff, AZ)
- Parable of the Sower Intentional Community Cooperative (Vallejo, CA)
- PODER (San Francisco, CA)
- Rise St. James (New Orleans, LA)
- SouthWest Organizing Project (Albuquerque, NM)
- Southwest Workers Union (San Antonio, TX)
- People’s Justice Council (Birmingham, AL)
- The Smile Trust (Miami, FL)
- UPROSE (Brooklyn, NY)
- Virginia Interfaith Power & Light (Richmond, VA)
Our vision is to turn Communicating Our Power into an on-going program to open participation to many other climate justice organizations. We are actively fundraising to advance this goal.
A recent report from Carbon Switch found that environmental justice organizations, which are predominantly led by women and people of color, receive only about 0.5% of all environmental donations. Without resources flowing to those organizations most accountable and connected to frontline communities, how can our movement coalesce, let alone advance, a compelling, shared narrative? Addressing this gap isn’t just the right thing to do; the lack of scaled media support, communications, digital capacity, and amplification of frontline stories holds back the entire movement for climate justice.
Frontline communities and their organizations are leading Just Transitions to a more just and sustainable society through local, living, regenerative economies. We celebrate their brilliance, vision, and ingenuity and invite you to join us in spreading stories of hope, inspiration, and climate justice.