Seeing the impacts of climate change on the community’s health and resilience led the The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation to forge an innovative partnership with the Climate and Health Alliance.
The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation (the Foundation) was established in 1923 and is one of Australia’s leading philanthropic organisations dedicated to supporting Melbourne and its community.
Today the Foundation has four strategic priorities which are: Education and employment, environment and sustainability, healthy and resilient communities, and homelessness and affordable housing. Seeing the impacts of climate change on the community’s health and resilience led the Foundation to the Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA).
Human health and climate change
Climate change is recognised by the World Health Organisation as the single largest threat to health, and yet in Australia the amount of philanthropic resources dedicated to the issue is very small. The Foundation set out to change this through their strategic support for the Climate and Health Alliance and could not be happier with the impact they are seeing.
“Following participation in the COP 21 Philanthropic Funders Initiative, it became clear that climate change would be a challenge that would impact all of the Foundation’s work well beyond the Environment and Sustainability program. For example, the health impacts of climate change was added as a key outcome for our Healthy & Resilient Communities program in 2016 and the support of health organisations such as Climate and Health Alliance and Doctors for the Environment has been critical to our work in climate change.“ Dr Catherine Brown, CEO Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.
Beginnings of a partnership
Eight years ago, the Foundation conducted a major project to research and identify how to have the greatest philanthropic impact. By putting a climate lens over the Foundation’s healthy and resilient communities work, CAHA came out on top as an organisation to support, and in the words of Harriet McCallum, Senior Program Manager at the Foundation:
“CAHA does an extraordinary amount of work with the funding we have provided. I know the money we provide to CAHA works very hard.”
The relationship between the Foundation and CAHA is far from a traditional granter-grantee relationship. Harriet views the relationship as a “true partnership” where CAHA and the Foundation work together as “critical friends” to develop new programs to fund and deliver.
“I know the relationship between granter and grantee needs to be more equal to be effective. The funding is only as effective as the organisations that we fund, so a partnership approach is vital.”
CAHA has developed a strong network of trusted voices beyond the usual suspects to talk about climate change.
Harriet McCallum, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation
Results from a trusted source
When asked to sum up CAHA’s most significant impact, Harriet is clear that the alliance the organisation has formed is an incredibly powerful platform for broadening concern about climate change. By building an alliance right across the health sectors from midwives, nurses, pharmacists, medical students and doctors, CAHA has developed a strong network of trusted voices beyond the usual suspects to talk about climate change.
Today because of the work of CAHA and others in the space, governments at a local and state level are both acknowledging and acting on the health consequences of climate change. By building successful examples at a state and local level, CAHA hope that Australia will one day have a national climate change and health strategy.
In the closing words of Harriet: “If you’ve been funding climate change for some time, please consider funding health and climate, as it is so important and helps people understand how our future depends on rapid mitigation.
The Climate and Health Alliance have also been featured on the Project Clearinghouse climate issues back onto the agenda by leveraging the increased public trust in health care workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Harriet McCallum, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.
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