Part of the AEGN’s mission is to deepen members’ understanding of the many ways their philanthropy can support the environment — ultimately to maximise their impact. To this end, we produce a regular podcast series where members share stories of effective leadership for our planet, climate and future.
Stephen Pfeiffer generously shared his story with AEGN CEO Amanda Martin in May 2023. Key take-aways from their conversation follow.
To listen to the episode and access a full transcript and show notes, head to our podcast page.
Give while you live
“Have a think of your overall life giving and see that if you have that strategy where you’re aiming to leave a lot after you pass away, maybe think about giving it now because it’s going to be much more impactful now than it will be decades into the future.”
Consider spending down
“In the critical decade … we do have the power to get this right and to make a real difference — where we limit global warming to 1.5 [degrees] or maybe 1.6, 1.7 and prevent the worst-case scenarios. And this is the opportunity … So, we need to give urgently … I thought that’s it [spending down], that is the proportional response that’s needed.”
Choose your strategic focus
“I came up with six areas that I wanted to focus on: people power (grassroots community building), transforming politics, the economic transition, litigation and climate justice, moving the money and regenerating nature … a lot of this stuff was pulled from the AEGN’s climate framework.”
Take a partnership approach
“My approach … is also deeply rooted in the ideas of trust-based philanthropy rather than the need for excessive reporting [and] the need for excessive data collection.” (Stephen gives core funding multi-year grants to the Australian Democracy Network; Our Islands Our Home campaign; Australian Parents for Climate Action; Grata Fund (The Australian Climate Case); The Next Economy; Original Power; and Multicultural Leadership Initiative.)
Factor climate into your giving
Climate change is impacting all causes that philanthropists care about and already fund, so “funding climate is an insurance policy … Think about giving anywhere between at least a quarter to a half of what you can give towards climate to make sure that those other areas that you’re really passionate about, we get to enjoy the fruits of the achievements and the funding that goes into them because we guarantee a safe, healthy, flourishing society at the same time.” (For more, see the AEGN’s Climate Lens tool.)
Share your insights
“The more information that we all share with each other as givers, the more strategic we can be … information about what are the change levers that we’re funding, what are the organisations that are activating those change levers … then we’d be able to help each other go, right, where are the gaps? I think there’s enormous benefits to be gained from that openness.”
“You don’t need to become an expert and feel like you know absolutely everything. Have a few conversations with some other AEGN members, talk to the team there and just get started. Jump in and you’ll learn along the way.”
We do have the power to get this right and to make a real difference — where we limit global warming to 1.5 [degrees] or maybe 1.6, 1.7 and prevent the worst-case scenarios. And this is the opportunity … So, we need to give urgently.
Meet More Members