Clean Energy Group’s Commitment to the Equitable Distribution of Funds 

In 2020, Clean Energy Group (CEG) made a commitment to award 50 percent of annual Technical Assistance Fund (TAF) grants and 100 percent of annual Resilient Power Leadership Initiative (RPLI) funding to advance the resilient power goals of organizations led by Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color (BIPOC).  

Communities of color are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, from increased risk of flooding, to living in sometimes dangerous urban heat islands, to exposure to asthma-inducing pollution and proximity to the dirtiest power plants. Communities of color are also more likely to experience a power outage. In California, pre-emptive power shut offs to prevent wildfires disproportionately impact communities of color. In Texas during the 2021 winter storm, Black and Latinx neighborhoods were more likely to face power outages and lived in older homes less equipped to withstand the cold temperatures. Anecdotally, the Technical Assistance Fund staff have heard from our partners how their electric infrastructure does not perform as well as more white and affluent areas. The disparities in experiences caused by decades of disinvestment in segregated neighborhoods and structural inequalities have compounding effects. 

Organizations led by people of color have historically faced more structural barriers and received less investment. A study released in 2020 found that, on average, Black-led organizations report 24 percent smaller revenues and 76 percent less unrestricted net assets than their white-led counterparts. Furthermore, the endowments of social change nonprofits led by people of color were nearly four times smaller than white-led organizations, their average percentage of revenue was less than half and, as of 2022, fewer BIPOC-led nonprofits received foundation funding and corporate donations. A study analyzing the distribution of grants to environmental organizations found that, out of $1.34 billion disbursed over two years, only 1.3% (or $18 million) was awarded to communities of color, low-income communities, and Tribal and Indigenous groups. $11 million was awarded to ‘environmental justice activities’, but only nine percent of that funding went to environmental justice organizations, which are ‘rooted in, accountable to, and representative of [the communities] most directly impacted by the issues being addressed’. The Donors of Color Network created a pledge to challenge the nation’s largest climate funders to commit publicly to greater transparency and to give at least 30% of their climate funding to the BIPOC-led power building groups who are the most successful in fighting the climate crisis. Follow the movement’s progress on the Climate Funders Justice Pledge website. 

Recognizing the structural inequalities and barriers BIPOC-led communities and institutions face, CEG seeks to increase access to resilient solar+storage systems for those most impacted by the climate crisis, including projects led by Indigenous, Black, and Latine people, and Asian Americans.  

In 2022, 43 percent of funding support went to BIPOC-led community service providers – the highest percentage of funding awarded to BIPOC-led organizations since the TAF and RPLI were established in 2014. To consistently realize CEG’s equitable funding commitment, CEG is working to reach out to new communities and establish new partnerships with local Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) that can conduct the TAF feasibility assessments. CEG seeks not only to award more funding to BIPOC communities, but also to foster long-term relationships and build local capacity and resilient power expertise within marginalized communities. Communities of color have historically been excluded from the clean energy transition and would benefit the most from clean, reliable, and resilient power solutions. 

This is just one of several steps CEG is taking in its commitments to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice.