Climate Justice Impact Strategy

We develop long-term strategies and partnerships to address and decrease the harm that low income people and communities of color experience from climate change.

Mt Rainier and the port


Reducing the risks of climate change requires addressing its root causes, identifying and adapting to its impacts and ensuring community resiliency to respond to climate change.

The Climate Justice Impact Strategy is Seattle Foundation’s comprehensive work to ensure that communities of color and low-income communities are leading and shaping efforts to reduce the disproportionate effects of climate change that they experience.

We invest in community-based research, build coalitions that bridge social and environmental justice and strengthen the capacity of nonprofits working to advance climate solutions. We use our voice, exercise our leadership and align philanthropic efforts to increase climate justice for our most vulnerable communities. 

The Need

Research shows that frontline low-income and communities of color are first and worst hit by climate change and its impacts. In Washington, 46 percent of all toxic sites are in areas mostly populated by people of color, while 56 percent are in largely low-income areas. These communities experience the harms of pollution and climate change, including extreme weather events, contaminated drinking water and waterways, poor air quality and unhealthy housing. 

Due to the legacy of discriminatory zoning laws, employment practices and banking policies, communities of color in Washington state also have greater barriers to transportation, healthy housing, education, insurance and other resources that help them deal with the impacts of climate change.

The goals of the impact strategy are to:

• Use our leadership to raise awareness of climate change’s disproportionate impacts on communities of color.

• Support an inclusive movement toward solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

• Ensure that efforts, systems and policies to minimize the adverse impacts of climate change benefit communities of color and low income communities address the risk factors concentrated in them.

For more information about our Climate Justice Impact Strategy, please contact Sally Gillis at s.gillis@seattlefoundation.org