Our Work:

Climate justice to build the future we need.

CDF_Environment Icon_Grass Green_Environment

Diverse and inclusive climate justice movement

Social, economic, and environmental justice are intimately connected and integral to our collective wellbeing and survival.

We recognize many challenges such as: climate impacts that are borne unequally by different communities including those who are racialized, low-income, and who are unhoused; the need to address inequity and polarization in ways that promote dialogue, mutual understanding and shared action; and the importance of building reciprocal connections between people, communities, and with the land and waters from coast to coast to coast. This moment is a reminder that the status quo must be disrupted.


We see an opportunity to support and catalyze climate justice to build the future we need by being bold, imaginative, collaborative, and inclusive.


July 12, 2024


“Ecojustice has been at the forefront of environmental protection using the law for over 30 years. Yet it was our partnership with the Catherine Donnelly Foundation which spawned our most visionary work – fighting for Canada to join a global movement of legally recognizing the human right to a healthy environment. With CDF’s support, Ecojustice has pushed legal boundaries in litigation to fight for Canada’s youth to have the right to a climate-safe future, and law reform to entrench that right. When we achieve those goals, it will be because of CDF’s support. I am proud to be supported by this remarkable organization that shares our values and vision of a thriving environment, safe climate, and healthy communities.”

Devon Page

Ecojustice’s Executive Director

Environment at a glance


By Spring 2024, our Environment funding stream will have provided more than 200 grants.


These grants total over $9.4 million.

A woman and young child standing on a beach looking at the water

Objectives and approach

Our Funding Objectives

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation seeks to foster a diverse and inclusive climate justice movement, where communities and voices that are under-served lead the path forward to a climate-safe, resilient, caring, and socially-just future.

Our Approach

Our Environment funding strategy is aimed at promoting climate justice and supporting initiatives that mobilize to accelerate the transition to a post-carbon world. Our approach recognizes an inseparable bond with nature, intersections with other social movements, and a desire to address the root causes of climate change. We are committed to building an inclusive society where no one is left behind, upholding UNDRIP, respecting inherent Indigenous rights, and to reconciliation with First Nation, Inuit, and Métis people.

We have particular interest in projects that:

  • Arise from or engage with communities and voices that are under-represented and excluded such as racialized, low-income, Indigenous, and youth in building greater climate stability and resilience.
  • Are Indigenous-led, to better sustain the health of the land, waters, climate and community and to advance climate and environmental justice in ways determined by Indigenous leaders and communities.
  • Support capacity within First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities and sharing their worldview of an interconnected relationship with nature as a foundation or model for building a sustainable future.

(read more about CDF’s commitment here)

Our Priority Areas

We support initiatives that address climate change and climate justice through a wide range of approaches and disciplines, including: community ways and knowledge, civic engagement, law/policy reform, finance/economics, ecosystem health, communications, and working alongside labour and other social movements to build power.

What We Fund:

  • Support for climate justice leaders and innovative initiatives that build a diverse and inclusive movement;
  • Projects that demonstrate to people in positions of decision-making power that there is an appetite for fast action on climate solutions.
  • Projects that inform and seed public opinion and/or support public engagement and mobilization, including grassroots or organizing work.
  • Creation and sharing of positive and empowering narratives that offer hope and a vision for how we want to live together in a post-carbon world.
  • Broadening a collective power base through collaboration and mutual learning across diverse communities, sectors, disciplines, geographies, and messengers.

Our environment initiatives

Supporting coordinated activity to create social, environmental and structural change

Individual organizations work to change what is important to them or their communities. The Catherine Donnelly Foundation funds projects that promote networking and coordinated activity to create social, environmental and structural change.

After all, it is easier to transform our world if we work together - across communities, sectors and philosophies - identify common problems and find solutions that benefit everyone.

That’s why the Foundation recently provided funds to support For Our Kids, a nationwide environmental network helping parents and grandparents connect with like-minded neighbours and organizations to mobilize against the climate emergency.

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation also committed to Indigenous Climate Action’s three-year plan to develop resources to connect and empower Indigenous climate change leaders and position them as agents of change for climate justice.

The Foundation supports projects that encourage a just and equitable transition to a low-carbon economy, such as the installation of solar panels at Indigenous language and culture camps that promote Indigenous-led climate justice movements in Elliot Lake, Ontario and Moose Lake in the traditional territory of the Fort McKay First Nation, Alberta. In New Brunswick, Community Forest International is mobilizing citizen climate action by encouraging relationships among settlers and First Nations and by providing access to the emerging conservation economy.

Our longstanding relationship with Ecojustice assists their goal of establishing environmental rights as part of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – a legal strategy that could guarantee every Canadian’s right to a healthy environment. Ecojustice’s ambitions are bold and require perseverance– CDF has supported the initiative for ten years Link to Ecojustice thank you video here

Together these projects build greater understanding of the climate emergency, address climate justice, a green transition and potentially unlock an underlying condition to meet our target of a clean, sustainable environment.

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