Online funders hub features multisolving

Investing at the Frontlines of Climate Change is a funder toolkit for those working at the intersection of health, climate change, and equity. We are thrilled to see that it emphasizes a multisolving approach.

The toolkit is the work of funder groups,  including: the Environmental Grantmakers Association, the Biodiversity Funders Group, the Climate and Energy Funders Group, Grantmakers for Health, the Health and Environmental Funders Network, and more. Its embrace of multisolving as way of making simultaneous progress on health, climate change, biodiversity, energy, and equity is significant. According to an article first published in Inside Philanthropy, the networks involved in the project together represent almost 1,700 members and grant roughly $800 million each year. “The group sees that transcending the classic sectors of philanthropy is imperative to mount an effective response to the wicked problems we face.”

A multisolving spirit predominates throughout the toolkit.

“The environment and climate are critical determinants of health and well-being. Climate change is a health equity issue.” – Alison Perencevich, Grantmakers in Health.

“Investing in climate-affected communities will not just protect the climate.  It will help impacted communities take control of their health and their future.” —Jeff Wise, Health and Environmental Funders Network

“It is no coincidence that the communities most impacted by COVID-19 are also overburdened by pollution, respiratory illness, climate change, and high unemployment.” – Dianne Takvorian, Environmental Health Coalition

We especially endorse the following recommendation the toolkit gives for getting started: “Be curious about active or potential alliances and multi-solving between your issue interests and others affected by climate change.” 

Below we end with one more piece of advice from the toolkit, but really, you should go check it out for yourselves.

“Develop resilient neighborhoods and communities that mitigate environmental and climate risks and help people thrive. Addressing challenges of extreme heat, air pollution, water quality, weatherproof housing, energy costs, and access to nature are top of mind for many communities. Philanthropic investments in housing, transportation, economic revitalization, food access, green spaces, and other social determinants of health are opportunities to mitigate hazards and support regenerative, sustainable practices. For example, increasing tree shade, parks, bike-friendly roads, pedestrian paths, clean energy sources, and healthy building design support both community health engagement and climate-resilience.”

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That opened a new front of research at Climate Interactive: what else would improve around the world if countries truly transitioned away from fossil fuels? From improvements in air quality to energy security we documented many co-benefits of climate action, and incorporated some of them into Climate Interactive’s well known computer simulation, En-ROADS.

But, the multiple benefits of actions to protect the climate remain mostly theoretical without ways of overcoming the obstacles to multisolving. That’s why, from the beginning of our work we have collaborated with others to understand the bright spots of multisolving around the world and to pilot multisolving approaches. First in Milwaukee in partnership with the Milwuakee Metropolitan Sewerage District and then in Atlanta, with Partnership for Southern Equity, we began to see what was possible by bringing the different parts of a system together in pursuit of actions and investments that lifted up many goals at once.

From this action research, along with a series of case studies of multisolving projects, we began to see attitudes and approaches that are in common across a wide diversity of multisolving projects, a topic we wrote about in Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Then came 2020. Pandemic. Escalating climate change impacts. Dire warnings about biodiversity loss. And more and more folks connecting the dots between each of these issues and structural inequity. Invitations to write, speak, and teach about multisolving came fast and furious and with it the possibility that what we’ve learned from multisolving bright spots could help support leaders around the world to respond to crises with multisolving. That spark led to the launch of the Multisolving Institute and our mission of supporting leaders as they pursue multisolving approaches