Some of America's biggest foundations doled out more than half a billion dollars to some of America's biggest environmental groups

US Foundations And Others Heavily Fund Green Activists

By —— Bio and Archives--January 7, 2019

Global Warming-Energy-Environment | Comments | Print Friendly | Subscribe | Email Us

US Foundations And Others Heavily Fund Green Activists
Major foundations handed nearly $4 billion to global warming activists, anti-fossil fuel campaigners and other environmentalists over the past eight years.

“The truth is the environmental left is a deep-pocketed and powerful force in American politics that is working to stop all natural gas, oil and coal production in the United States,,” said Institute for Energy Research (IER) president Tom Pyle.1


Some examples: The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation gave out $2 billion in grants to environmental causes, including climate activism between 2008 and 2016. The Energy Foundation handed out $444 million in grants and the Sea Change Foundation doled out $373 million (1)  ( More on the Sea Change Foundation later on.)

IER followed the money to more than 1,500 environmental groups, including Climateworks and the Natural Resources Defense Council that got $1.7 billion and $79 million, respectively, from major foundations.

The IER database is only the tip of the iceberg. IER tracked more than 8,000 grants from the 10 largest US-based grant-making foundations over an eight year period. Notably, IER found about four times as much funding than a recent study.1

Significant funding was devoted to global warming related issues and significant funding was also devoted to mobilizing public opinion and to opposing the fossil fuel industry.

Billions more are on the way for the environmental movement. A group of 29 foundations pledged another $3 billion over the next five years ‘to reduce the rate of global warming.’2

Matthew Nisbet, a communications professor at Northeastern University, examined the climate change and energy grants given by 19 green-leaning philanthropies, including familiar names like the Hewlett, Kresge and MacArthur Foundations. Between 2011 and 2015, the 19 foundations made 2,502 grants totaling nearly $557 million to environmental groups like the Sierra Club (the largest single recipient, with nearly $49 million in grants), Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense Fund. 3

Of that $557 million, the big environmental groups received nearly $187 million to promote renewable energy and efficiency. They got another $92.5 million for climate change related communications, media and mobilization and nearly $82 million to oppose hydraulic fracturing and to promote actions to limit/oppose the fossil fuel industry. But no grants were focused on promoting nuclear energy, though $175,000 in grants were devoted to opposing nuclear energy for cost and safety reasons. 3

Discussing right-wing think tanks skeptical of man-made climate change, Paul Driessen reports one of them received $582,000 from ExxonMobil over a 14 year period, another got $5,716,325 from Koch Foundations over 18 years and the Koch brothers gave at least $100,343,292 to 84 groups denying climate change science in 20 years. 4

Billionaire and potential presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg gave the Sierra Club $110 million in a six year period to fund its campaign against coal-generated electricity. Chesapeake Energy gave the Club $26 million in three years to promote natural gas and attack coal. Ten wealthy liberal foundations gave another $51 million over eight years to the Club and other environmentalist groups to battle coal. 4

The Sea Change Foundation mentioned earlier provided donations to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters of $13.5, $15, and $18.1 million, respectively. This organization has been targeted by Congress over potential ties to Russian oligarchs. House lawmakers asked the Department of Treasury to investigate a Bermuda-based shell company that gave Sea Change $23 million in 2010 and 2011. The Sea Change group got the $23 million from the shell corporation Klein Lt,. which only exists on paper. Klein Ltd has deep ties to Russian energy investment groups and is incorporated in the Bahamas so it doesn’t have to disclose its donors. This is an example of high-level Russian and oil political interests funding and supporting American environmental groups which then launch attacks on the US natural gas and oil industry. 5

Robert Bryce sums it up: “To underscore: over a five year period, some of America’s biggest foundations doled out more than half a billion dollars to some of America’s biggest environmental groups and not a penny was spent promoting nuclear energy, even though nuclear provides about 20 percent of US electricity and twice as much as emissions-free juice as all US solar and wind combines.”3


  1. Michael Bastasch, “Big green: insides the $4 billion US foundations funding green activists,” the gwpf.com, September 17, 2018
  2. Alex Daniels, “Grant makers boost climate-change commitments by $3 billion,” philanthropy.com, September 14, 2018
  3. Robert Bryce, “Environmentalists foolishly go to war against nuclear power,” nypost.com, June 12, 2018
  4. Paul Driessen, “Let’s do follow the climate money!”, Canada Free Press, December 30, 2018
  5. Andrew Follett, “Here’s how Russian oligarchs gave $23 million to US environmentalists,” The Daily Caller, December 8, 2015



Only YOU can save CFP from Social Media Suppression. Tweet, Post, Forward, Subscribe or Bookmark us

Jack Dini -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Jack Dini is author of Challenging Environmental Mythology.  He has also written for American Council on Science and Health, Environment & Climate News, and Hawaii Reporter.

Commenting Policy

Please adhere to our commenting policy to avoid being banned. As a privately owned website, we reserve the right to remove any comment and ban any user at any time.

Comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence and death, racism, anti-Semitism, or personal or abusive attacks on other users may be removed and result in a ban.
-- Follow these instructions on registering: