Fostering a Healthy and Sustainable Environment Frequently Asked Questions

 

1. Why is the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation rethinking its environmental grantmaking strategy?

In 2018, the Foundation launched All For NC, ZSR’s Framework for Grantmaking and Learning. One of the major strategies of that framework is the State-Level Systemic Change (SLSC) Strategy. The Foundation believes that lasting state-level systemic change is most likely to be achieved and sustained through the combined efforts of networks of local, regional and statewide organizations working with different constituencies; using multiple strategies and approaches; and working together towards common or aligned goals. One of the priority areas for the SLSC Strategy is Fostering a Healthy and Sustainable Environment.

Prior to All For NC and, indeed, for decades, ZSR has invested in the environmental movement in North Carolina, helping to establish and build the capacity of many organizations that are fostering a healthy and sustainable environment.

We continue to celebrate the accomplishments of our longtime environmental partners, who have made and continue to make significant and commendable strides on a number of environmental issues, yet recognize the work is not done. At the same time, we believe that new strategies need to be pursued to complement the efforts related to fostering a healthy and sustainable environment and other work so that all of it becomes even more effective.

Given the state’s history and the current context, this moment is an opportunity for the Foundation to increase its focus on the intersection of environmental and other justice issues through a racial equity lens.

Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities across North Carolina continue to be significantly impacted by the layered effects of climate change, polluting industries and systemic racism. To ensure our environmental grantmaking is more inclusive, balanced and equitable, during the Fall 2021 grant cycle the Foundation will seek to target more organizations that center communities that are most directly impacted by environmental injustices. This will include allocating a portion of funding to these types of organizations.

At the same time, we will continue supporting environmental partners that play unique and critical roles in systems change and continue seeking to center racial justice and be equitable partners with directly impacted communities. This will include funding these types of organizations. We believe that supporting these organizations, as well as supporting new grantee partners that center communities that are most directly impacted by environmental injustices, will contribute to a vibrant and aligned systemic change infrastructure by transforming power structures and sharing resources to build equitable networks, collaborations, alliances and coalitions. 

2. What types of organizations/networks would fit the new direction of ZSR’s environmental strategy?

While we will continue to support efforts in the Fostering a Healthy and Sustainable Environment priority area, our new direction includes greater focus on:

  • Organizations and networks strengthening the ability of directly impacted communities to shape the decisions and systems that affect their lives.
  • Funding Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) led and centered organizations.
  • Funding organizations already working at the intersection of issues, including climate, environmental and energy justice, and democracy issues. (We define “democracy” here as strengthening the ability of people to shape the systems that affect their lives).
  • Supporting ground-up, decentralized, and interconnected networks. 
  • Strengthening the capacity of organizations and networks.
  • Supporting work that promotes shifting control of energy, land and labor to communities, such as increasing community-owned energy and green economic development, and community control, ownership and stewardship of land.

3. I am a current grantee under the environmental priority area. Am I still eligible for funding?

Yes, current grantees are still eligible for funding. We will continue supporting environmental partners that play unique and critical roles in systems change and continue seeking to center racial justice and be equitable partners with directly impacted communities. This will include funding these types of organizations. We believe that supporting these organizations, as well as supporting new grantee partners that center communities that are most directly impacted by environmental injustices, will contribute to a vibrant and aligned systemic change infrastructure by transforming power structures and sharing resources to build equitable networks, collaborations, alliances and coalitions. 

4. I am a current grantee under one of the Foundation’s other priority areas, but my organization’s work intersects with environmental, climate and energy justice issues. What should I do?

The Foundation recognizes that an organization’s work may fit in more than one priority area. Thus, the Foundation also has a focus on work that cuts across two or more of the priority areas.

The State-Level Systemic Change Strategy grant application has an option to categorize the proposal as “cross-cutting” and a space to explain how the work of your organization impacts more than one of the Foundation’s priority areas. For additional questions about whether your organization is eligible to apply, please email info@zsr.org or call 336-725-7541 or 1-800-443-8319.

5. Is this new direction applicable to all priority areas of the State-Level Systemic Change Strategy?

This new direction applies to the Fostering a Healthy and Sustainable Environment priority area; however, as part of the State-Level Systemic Change Strategy, we recognize that the four priority areas intersect in multiple ways, and look for approaches that not only strengthen each, but also work holistically within and across them.​ Local, regional and statewide Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) led and serving organizations that are working to achieve state-level systems change, within all four priority areas, are strongly encouraged to apply.

6. I think my organization’s work may fit this new direction of ZSR’s environmental grantmaking strategy. Who can I talk to for more information?

For questions about whether your organization’s work fits the new direction of ZSR’s environmental grantmaking strategy, please contact Caitlin Burke (caitlinb@zsr.org; 336-725-7541 ext. 113) or Tania Durán (taniad@zsr.org; 336-725-7541 ext. 123). For all other State-Level Systemic Change Strategy questions, please contact info@zsr.org or 336-725-7541 or 1-800-443-8319.

7. Can my organization apply as or through a fiscal sponsor? What are the process and requirements?

Yes. Please refer to question #7 under the State-Level Systemic Change Strategy grant cycle Frequently Asked Questions.

8. Can my local or regional organization apply for funding under the State-level Systemic Change strategy?

Yes. Please refer to question #6 under the State-Level Systemic Change Strategy grant cycle Frequently Asked Questions.

9. How do I know whether to apply for General Operating Support or a Project Grant?

Please refer to questions #13 under the State-Level Systemic Change Strategy grant cycle Frequently Asked Questions.

10. What should I do if I have questions about the State-Level Systemic Change grant cycle, including how to apply?

Organizations are encouraged to read through our list of State-Level Systemic Change Strategy Frequently Asked Questions and Rarely Fund List to find out more about whether their work fits into the State-Level Systemic Change Strategy.

For more information about ZSR’s State-Level Systemic Change Strategy, including eligibility criteria and/or how to apply, visit: https://www.zsr.org/state-level. For all other questions, please email info@zsr.org or call 336-725-7541 or 1-800-443-8319.