Ivey Foundation to ‘spend down’ $100M endowment focusing on economy-based climate solutions. Decision offers big opportunity, but also risk of 'drowning out' other approaches.

Assuming the foundation distributes roughly an equal share of their $100 million endowment each year, they’ll be the largest private philanthropic funder of climate initiatives in Canada for the next five years, according to Devika Shah, executive director of Environment Funders Canada.

Why It Matters

The climate crisis is urgent and the Canadian philanthropic ecosystem has billions in capital that can help. Choosing to spend down offers the Ivey foundation the chance to dramatically accelerate the environmental sector’s work to ensure a liveable future. It also gives the foundation the power to pick winners within the environmental movement, shaping what narratives are dominant and whose voices are heard loudest.

This journalism is made possible by the Future of Good editorial fellowship covering the social impact world’s rapidly changing funding models, supported by Future of Good, Community Foundations of Canada, and United Way Centraide Canada. See our editorial ethics and standards here.

On Tuesday, the Ivey Foundation went all-in for the climate. 

In an open letter, the foundation’s president and board chair announced the country’s sixth-oldest foundation will spend down its $100 million endowment within the next five years. In keeping with the foundation’s strategy over the last decade, spend-down funds will support organizations with a targeted focus on climate solutions that promote economic prosperity, with a strong focus on the foundation’s existing grantees.  

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