Climate & the Environment

Vermont’s deep connection to the working landscape, natural resources, and outdoor recreation ties our economic vitality directly to a healthy natural environment. Under pressure from over development and climate change, philanthropy can energize innovative solutions for our farms and forests, and help protect our natural resources. With an emphasis on historically marginalized communities who have disproportionately shouldered the burden, grantmaking will build on the historical work of the High Meadows Fund in the following areas:

Land use and the forest economy

78 percent of Vermont is forested, contributing to clean air and water, carbon storage, recreation, and the forest products industry. Keeping forests as forests supports our local economy and makes Vermont a healthy, beautiful place to live and visit.

Farm viability and food systems

Central to our rural economy, it is increasingly challenging for farmers to make a living in Vermont. Exploring new markets and technologies that support the future of Vermont’s agricultural economy also promotes soil and water quality, climate mitigation, and our working landscape.

Climate and environmental justice

Environmental burdens (pollution, decaying infrastructure) and benefits (clean water, access to land) have been unevenly spread across Vermont’s population. By addressing obstacles and challenges that place unequal impacts on individuals or communities, we can more equitably distribute those burdens and benefits.

Clean and efficient energy use

Philanthropy can play a critical role in helping Vermont to meet its climate change goals without leaving communities behind. Grantmaking will focus on coordinating nonprofits, businesses, and public agencies in emission reduction strategies; technological innovation pilots; and engaging communities most impacted by the clean energy transition.