Foundation Center Focus on Education
Climate Change - Educating the Public

Educating the Public


“While 41% of Americans see climate change as a ‘serious problem’, 33% see it as only ‘somewhat serious’ and 24% as ‘not serious’.”
— “Human Development Report 2007/2008,” United Nations


Just 2% of foundations’ U.S.-focused giving for climate change in 2007 supported public education


How can we increase public awareness about the serious threat posed by climate change?


Reach out to new and strategic audiences and empower individuals to take action to reduce emissions and conserve resources
— The 11th Hour Project

Case Study

The 11th Hour Project
  • Nonpartisan public education and communication program to spread awareness about climate change and promote solutions
  • Launched in 2005 by the Schmidt Family Foundation
  • Foundation has contributed more than $2.4 million since 2006


  • Distributed “An Inconvenient Truth” to over 4,000 congregations and 500 colleges
  • Funded a 6,000-person DC youth rally to demand action on climate change by Congress
  • Helped fund “Altered State,” permanent exhibit on the effects of climate change at the California Academy of Sciences
  • Sponsored a two-year investigation of the coal industry and a documentary
  • Invested in the start-up of Climate Central, a nonprofit that will disseminate the latest research on climate change and its solutions

Research Sources

Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World
United Nations Development Programme
Human Development Report 2007/2008

11th Hour Project

Schmidt Family Foundation

2006 Annual Report
2007 Annual Report

Environmental Grantmakers Association

Confronting the Climate Challenge

Program on International Policy Attitudes Studies of U.S. Opinion

California Academy of Sciences

Climate Central
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