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So far Admin Imago Dei Fund has created 301 blog entries.

Voices on Climate: Charitie Ropati’s Journey with Girl Rising and the Power of ‘Radical Joy’

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It’s often the voices of courage and hope that resonate most powerfully when facing daunting global challenges. This month, we are pleased to share a blog post from our partner, Girl Rising, that highlights the critical role women and girls have as catalysts for change. Our changing climate impacts everyone, but it is the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, particularly women and girls, who bear the greatest burden.

At Imago Dei we’re grateful to uplift partners who amplify voices like Charitie Ropati’s through transformative initiatives such as the Future Rising Fellowship program. Charitie’s message of “radical joy” amidst the climate crisis serves as a poignant reminder of the resilience inherent in communities facing adversity.

For climate action to be successful or sustainable, it must involve women. We value Girl Rising’s approach to nurturing the voices of young women, so they can tell the stories of the impact of climate change on them and their communities on the global stage. Their work to empower young leaders to become advocates working at the intersection of gender equity and climate justice can change the way the world values girls and their education.

We recognize that climate action must be inclusive and equitable, with women and girls in the communities that are impacted playing central roles in decision-making processes. By nurturing the next generation of leaders and lifting up their voices, we lay the groundwork for a more equitable, sustainable, and climate-safe future for all. – The Imago Dei Team


“I am here to remind you of an indigenous practice that I believe is vital: Joy. When the land is healthy, the people are healthy. But it is also true that when the people are healthy, the land is healthy. So we must approach this unprecedented time of crisis with optimism and hope. Have the courage to invest directly in joy and the joy of our communities.”

This message about ‘radical joy’ was delivered by Yu-pik and Samoan Future Rising Fellow Charitie Ropati, in a keynote speech she gave recently at the United Nations during the 2024 Partnership Forum of the Economic and Social Council.

Her audience – 500 UN delegates and Ambassadors, as well as Charitie’s own parents who traveled from Alaska – blinked back tears as Charitie shared stories about the trauma and ‘hard decisions’ shouldered by native people in the face of the climate crisis.
Charitie shared the story of how, in 1967, her great grandfather and others from the community physically moved their village 11 miles northwest to save it from sinking due to permafrost melting. Now an engineering student at Columbia University, Charitie studies permafrost and will graduate as the first native woman to earn a civil engineering degree in Columbia’s 270 year history. Reminding the assembly that Indigenous peoples make up less than 5% of the earth’s population but protect 80% of the biodiversity, Charitie demanded more of global leaders. “Invest in communities that have continuously adapted to climate change, communities like my own. Decisions should not be made about us, without us,” she urged.

Charitie’s speech stood out because she told a powerful story. “While she was unwavering in her demand that global leaders wake up to the consequences of their inaction, the beautiful stories Charitie shared of joyous moments cutting fish with her grandmother, or watching her mother graduate college, illustrated the powerful, even daring, act of fighting indifference with optimism. Charitie’s work and approach makes us all rethink our roles in this crisis” said Nicole Savini, Future Rising’s Executive Producer.

“I learned from my mother to never be wordless when my community needs me.” Charitie said. “So I have traveled over 3000 miles to find myself in a position to tell you: Stop pretending that this crisis is not happening and take direct action. I believe that a just transition from the fossil fuel industry is possible, I need you all to believe this as well.”

Her speech earned a rousing applause and was referred to and lauded by numerous speakers during the rest of the day’s programming. Canadian Ambassador Bob Rae began his remarks by saying, “I want to congratulate Charitie Ropati on a wonderful speech today… Your speech had great impact. Keep going. Don’t stop (more applause)”. We at Girl Rising echo Ambassador Rae’s sentiments. It is an enormous privilege to work with young women leaders like Charitie through the Future Rising Fellowship program. The Future Rising Fellows are a growing presence on global stages all over the world. Their work for climate and gender justice and their speaking truth to power is a lesson for all of us, and truly a reason for optimism and joy. Thank you, Charitie.

Charitie’s entire speech can be viewed here.

This post first appeared on the Girl Rising website and has been reposted here with permission.

Keeping The Spark Alive: Grantee Partners Investing in Wellbeing

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Having joined Imago Dei, just three months ago, I am already deeply inspired by the incredible work of our grantee partners and the impact they achieve in the world. Our partners, while diverse in their missions and the ecosystems they work in, all share a common thread – the presence of passionate dedicated leaders who wholeheartedly serve their communities. In serving so tirelessly, it would be easy for our grantee partners to overlook their own spiritual, emotional, and psychological wellbeing. So, I was thrilled to discover how Imago Dei’s commitment to partners extends to their holistic wellbeing by nurturing the “inner life” of their leadership and staff through the Keep the Spark Alive Fund. This funding is available to current grantee partners in our core portfolio with smaller budgets.

Looking back on 2023, it’s fascinating to see the ways each of our partners defined what “keeping the spark alive” means to their staff and organization. From restorative activities to soul care literature, this blog will explore the unique ways three grantee partners – World Without Exploitation (WorldWE), African Road, and Kupenda for the Children – used the Keep the Spark Alive Fund to support wellbeing in their organizations.


At Imago Dei, we find immense joy in investing not just in the impactful programs of our grantee partners, but also in the individuals steering these initiatives and their teams. The annual Keep the Spark Alive Fund is our commitment to supporting the wellbeing within smaller organizations working tirelessly towards positive change. Every year, our grantee partners define what “keeping that spark alive” means to them, dedicating themselves to establishing a lasting culture of wellbeing for their organizations.

Our partners, engaged in the vital work of restoring human dignity, unleashing human agency and healing societal fractures, use the Keep the Spark Alive Fund for a variety of activities to nourish their spark – the essence of what drives them. These range from staff retreats to stress management programs, showcasing the innovative ways our partners prioritize nurturing their inner life.

We know that good leadership is irreplaceable for achieving the social impact our grantee partners set out to achieve. As Perennial Co-Founder, Britt Yamamoto, shared on our blog previously, “more than anything—ideas, strategic plans, policies, funding—positive social change requires humans, leaders, to make the impossible possible.” With employees in the nonprofit sector among those particularly vulnerable to burnout, investing in the inner life of leaders and supporting their capacity for renewal is critical to Imago Dei’s holistic approach.

Here, we share three creative ways grantee partners shaped a culture of wellbeing for their staff in 2023:

World Without Exploitation (WorldWE)

WorldWE’s all virtual team gathered in person for a self care presentation titled “Tuning into the Wisdom of the Body to Optimize your Advocacy Journey.” Led by Laura Mahr, a former practicing attorney and founder of Conscious Legal Minds, the presentation focused on tools to promote productivity and build resilience to stress. The team learned how to cultivate resilience by “neuro-hacking” their nervous system throughout the day through “mini-moments of well-being.” Through the lens of neurobiology, staff and survivor trainees discussed strategies for self-care, empowering them to mitigate vicarious trauma in their daily work.

African Road

The leadership and staff at African Road recognized the shared desire for spiritual connection and growing stronger as a team. With funding from the Keep the Spark Alive Fund, they organized a 2-night retreat with a facilitator to guide the team in restorative reflection, dialogue, and practice. This dedicated time together provided space for team building, spiritual coaching, soul care, and reflection. The retreat, filled with restful and insightful moments, strengthened team connections and contributed to a caring staff culture. For African Road, it was an opportunity for the team to exhale, reflect, and grow stronger together.

Kupenda for the Children

Kupenda invested in the course “Discover the Enneagram: A Tool for Christian Spiritual Transformation” to dive into the individual desires and motivations of its staff to explore how they impact team dynamics. Facilitated by Enneagram trainers, Doug and Adele Calhoun, the course fostered a sense of unity, understanding, and compassion among team members. The Keep the Spark Alive Fund enabled Kupenda to provide the virtual course to all 14 staff members in the U.S. and Kenya, focusing on team building, conflict management, and spiritual growth. The insights gained from the Enneagram are actively being applied, influencing task delegation and enhancing overall team effectiveness.

Pictured above, Nyanam is also exploring the Enneagram to advance team self-awareness. In 2024, the team will be reading Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram by Adele and Doug Calhoun and The Road Back to You – Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron, and reflecting together during weekly team meetings.

More reflections from our grantee partners on how they’re keeping the spark alive.

With the holidays behind us, and a new year underway, January can be a great time for goal setting and reflection on what nurturing your inner life means for your organization. These stories exemplify how grantee partners are not just focusing on their external missions but also prioritizing the internal wellbeing of their teams. As we start this new year, may we all take inspiration from their commitment to the whole person, weaving a fabric of compassion, resilience, and wellbeing into the heart of their work.

A Letter of Gratitude for Our Partnership

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As our year draws to a close, we feel that familiar mix of emotions many feel as we prepare for the holiday season — gratitude for all the gifts of the past year tinged with fragility and deep longing for a better world. As a team, we have cherished every opportunity to interact with you by email, at conferences, zoom meetings, and in-person meetings. One of the greatest joys we derive in this work is investing in the humanity behind our grantee partners’ incredible programs to “keep the spark alive” as you work so hard to restore human dignity and agency and repair the many fractures and divides of our world.

At the 2023 Center for Effective Philanthropy Conference in Boston this past October, many of the speakers spoke very personally about how they keep going in the face of despair and the sense of pending doom that lurks in the air today. Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, climate activist and co-editor of All We Can Save, spoke poignantly about not having hope from knowing too much yet still choosing to live in joy. Our team was struck by how most of the speakers exhibited this embodied quality of joy in just being alive and doing their part for the betterment of our world in the face of what they referred to as the “polycrisis” of our time. Dr. Johnson’s words were especially meaningful in light of our team’s reflection on her book last year as part of our learning around climate. As we look back on our year as a foundation, we as a team are so grateful to rub shoulders with and support incredible human beings like you who just can’t not throw yourselves into the many different crises at hand. As a foundation, we are not on the frontlines of the work that we fund but are close enough with those who are to feel and know the challenge of this work and how deeply relational it is. An unstated yet maybe primary reason we attend conferences is to absorb some intangible energy from being with others to “keep the spark alive,” to keep on keeping on even when we don’t feel hopeful.

Beyond “polycrisis”, there are so many terms and acronyms used in the philanthropic/social change sector to carve out lanes and approaches to maximizing effectiveness, impact, return on investment, proximity, decolonization, systemic change, intersectionality, the list goes on and on! So much brilliance and big ideas in this work and so much to keep learning and digesting as we each try to offer our best to the world. As Jacob Harold, Co-founder of Candid and author of the book The Toolbox: Strategies for Crafting Social Impact, notes, “The problem is obvious: the world is too complex for any single framework. We who are working for a better world — whether as users or providers of capital — need multiple tools to engage with that complexity. Whether we call these tools “lenses” or “perspectives” or “strategies,” we need a lot of them.” (Read the article from the Center for Effective Philanthropy). At the end of the day, this work is an inescapably human endeavor. As we approach the Holiday season, we are ever mindful of the deeply sacred and relational ground of our work. We can’t bypass our own humanity and hide behind slogans, institutional affiliations, and ideological ways of seeing the world.

As we continue to learn from and embrace many of these frameworks, we are reminded of the perennial spiritual wisdom of loving thy neighbor as thyself that motivated us as co-founders fifteen years ago. In our deeply polarized world with this-is-the-only-way fundamentalisms on all sides, it feels like the invitation to be good neighbors needs to be underlined again and again as we find ourselves increasingly alienated from one another. Whatever one’s political, religious, ethnic, or ideological identity or way of framing one’s values/work, there is something deeply transformative about simply experiencing one another’s shared humanity. “Loving one’s neighbor as thyself” is an end in and of itself, but it can yield dividends of joy and connection (dare we say love?) that are quite literally change happening before our eyes.

One highlight for us this year was celebrating 10 years of the Contemplative Fund and Deacons Fund by convening our Boston-based faith partners for a lunch with the theme: “Keeping the Spark Alive Together.” These grantee partners work in very different ways in the city— some more focused on outer work, addressing the myriad social problems facing our city and welcoming asylum seekers, others more focused on the inner life of change. We were so touched to be in the space together and share a meal with friends and partners. At the event, Rev. David Bailey spoke to us about his journey of discovering the inner, contemplative path of faith and how essential this is in the work of racial reconciliation to mend ancient wounds and bring people together. Indeed, there is a ground of being we all share as human beings. A place where we are more the same than we know, and we can meet and see if we can together repair the messes and divides we have inflicted on ourselves as a human family.

When we launched the Imago Dei Fund in 2009, we were motivated by our faith to be good stewards of the resources in our hands. There was also this very basic human impulse to do our part to be “good neighbors in Boston and beyond”. As we looked out over the room at that lunch, we were overcome with the notion that all gathered there were exemplars of being both good stewards and good neighbors.

Stepping back to reflect on all of our partners, your capacity to lead and work with relentless courage, integrity, and joy in the face of such seemingly immovable and compounding problems keeps our spark alive. It makes us want to be and do better as stewards of our resources and work at Read More

Reflection on Partnership and Accountability

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This month, we are excited to announce the launch of our new Advisory Board as part of our ongoing effort to learn from our grantee partners and the communities they serve. We place great emphasis on the value of relationships and mutuality for learning and accountability, and our advisors will bring more perspectives and voices into shaping our grantmaking strategy.

Our Advisory Board is just one way we seek to center our grantees in our work. Our Impact Partner, Andrew Jones, shares his thoughts on the importance of genuine partnership and downward accountability to Imago Dei’s approach.


Institutional donors everywhere trumpet partnership as central to their approach. “Find a funding opportunity – partner with us,” per one major donor’s website. The term is ubiquitous in international development and has been for decades, all too often sapping it of any real meaning. Donors present themselves as funding partners and NGOs receiving funds, in turn, as programmatic partners to local organizations on the ground. Yet the reality is that these relationships typically bear little resemblance to partnership in the true sense of the word. Instead, they are marked by a clear hierarchy and imbalance of power, with those in control of the resources too often defining goals, setting targets, and directing the work itself.

In my international humanitarian, human rights, and development career, the funding for the work we did came from a wide range of public and private donors, from high net wealth individuals and foundations to major bilateral and multilateral government agencies. Early in my career, I was asked to spearhead a new human rights initiative at CARE, a large international relief and development NGO. The vision was to embed a commitment to human rights values and principles within the organization’s relief and development programming. One of the core principles we articulated in CARE’s emerging rights-based approach was ‘downward’ (as opposed to upward to donors) accountability, recognizing community members served by international aid projects as rights bearers and feeling at least a moral duty to be accountable to them. Far easier said than done, of course. While progress was and has been made, the aid system overall makes it extremely difficult to put into practice.

Ultimately, donors’ overly aggressive targets, timelines, and deliverables tend to suffocate efforts to put communities first in defining solutions and owning the process. The bottom line is downstream organizations in the aid system end up being contractors, not partners in any meaningful sense of the word. And, as a result, communities served by international aid are systematically neglected in key decision-making processes affecting their lives. In a system where ‘upward’ accountability still predominates, genuine local partnerships and community-driven development remain elusive.

When I joined the Imago Dei Fund last year, I was struck by how grantees were centered in our approach and by how much the quality of funder-grantee relationships was highlighted. While the foundation continuously seeks to learn and has plenty of room to grow, we are striving to genuinely partner with our grantees. What does this look like? In line with Imago Dei’s core values, the main features of what we refer to as our relational approach include:

  1. Deep respect for locally rooted partners’ knowledge of the challenges the communities they serve are facing and the most promising solutions in response.
  2. Prioritization of multi-year unrestricted funding so that partners have the space to continuously engage the communities they serve and freedom to design and redesign what they’re doing programmatically.
  3. Determination to minimize what we request, application and reporting-wise, so that partners can stay focused on their work in the communities they serve.
  4. Commitment to regular communications, and especially being available at all times, listening well, and being as responsive as possible to requests for advice and support.
  5. Willingness to gather and act on regular, honest feedback from partners.
  6. Deep desire to see our partners thriving, making resources available for self-care, mental health, and wellbeing of the soul.

When I share our trust-based, relational approach with peer funders, a concern I hear relates to ensuring that philanthropic dollars are well spent and generate their intended impact, often framed in terms of accountability to foundation leadership and boards. The desire, even obligation, to be good stewards of foundation resources is compelling. Does Imago Dei’s approach sacrifice stewardship and, by extension, accountability? Or is it, more accurately, reorienting how many of us think about accountability, shifting its locus to where it first and foremost belongs? That’s how we see it, at least. For any donor, our first accountability should be to communities served by our grantees and ensuring they’re in the lead.

One way we can shift accountability ‘downward’ is through inviting representatives of those communities to help us learn better, engage with us in strategic decision making, and hold us accountable. As part of the Imago Dei Fund’s new 3-year strategy, we have launched an Advisory Board to play exactly this role.

Another way is to allow grantee partners and communities to lead in defining, pursuing, and assessing the impact that matters most to them. A central part of my job is to frame the impact we seek to have as a foundation and set up a process for tracking our impact over time. ‘Our’ impact of course derives from the impact our grantees are having in the communities they serve, which grows with the increasing organizational resources, capacities and effectiveness that should result from our (and others’) grants and non-monetary support. We are putting in place a system for collecting relevant impact data, but we do not feel the need to be dictating to our grantee partners. Instead, we look to them to take the lead in defining the impact they want to have and the approach they want to take, at the community level, in assessing and reporting on their impact over time. At the same time, we remain actively engaged in learning Read More

How Local Nonprofits Continue to Support Newly Arrived Immigrants

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Last week my colleague Sonya and I had the pleasure of visiting Bishop Nicolas Homicil at his Voice of the Gospel Tabernacle Ministry church in Mattapan. As a long-time grantee partner, we were aware of the important work that he and many of our other community-based partners in Boston do to meet the needs of their communities. In fact, Bishop Homicil’s work was recently featured in a local newspaper. As is often the case, faith-based organizations are the first place that newly arrived immigrants seek out when they need assistance. Many provide food, emergency shelter, and serve as critical points of connection to other services and resources. In short, they welcome newly arrived immigrants with love and do their best to help them integrate into the community. Our visit drove home not only the immense need, but the powerful way Bishop Homicil and others are responding to the increased need driven in part by the crisis at the Southern border and instability in Haiti. As part of our new strategy the Imago Dei Fund, has affirmed our role in continuing to support this essential work in the community and in particular to strengthening the network of support in the Haitian diaspora in Boston. An important part of that network is the Immigrant Family Services Institute that offers a range of services and is an important advocate for immigrants in Massachusetts. We are happy to spotlight their work here as a way to share what we have been learning about the needs and the powerful way the many nonprofit organizations are responding. ~ Jennifer Oakley, Program Partner Imago Dei Fund


Immigration Family Services Institute (IFSI), was founded in 2015 by Executive Director, Dr. Geralde V. Gabeau and other dedicated Haitian professionals with the belief that when voices of marginalized people are centered, the outcome is equity, inclusion, and greater wellbeing. IFSI’s mission is to expedite their successful integration into the social and economic fabric of the United States with justice and dignity. Inspired by a humanist vision of global solidarity and peace, IFSI aims to address the needs and aspirations of recently arrived immigrants in the United States by being a leading institute for direct services and programs, thought leadership, coalition building, and advocacy. Adopting the ‘It Takes a Village’ African proverb that resonates with immigrants, IFSI’s team welcomes all into the IFSI Family and accompanies these resilient individuals and families on their journeys, creating pathways to new beginnings.

In solidarity, IFSI quickly pivots to meet clients where they are, providing emergency services, temporary housing and food, and processing work applications. Once basic essentials are met, immigrants are better positioned for opportunities in education and workforce development. At the heart of its mission is the educational program, and IFSI takes special pride in fostering a nurturing and safe environment for young people and adults to learn, develop intellectual curiosity, and acquire practical skills. IFSI offers after school and summer programs rich in academics and the Arts to help students thrive. The adult education program provides classes focused on ESL/ESOL, literacy, technology, certified nursing and culinary arts to support pathways to gainful employment, meaningful inclusion, and optimal living for those served.

Across Massachusetts IFSI’s offices serve as ‘One-Stop Centers’ bringing together, in one place, linguistic and cultural expertise in service delivery, providing information that connects immigrants to the resources they most need and in proper sequence. These areas include housing; healthcare; legal assistance; and education for children, youth and adults, as well as workforce development, job placement, and advocacy. IFSI’s advocacy efforts are broad and range from individual empowerment to systems change; educating a broader public through radio, published news and Navigator stories (found on IFSI’s website); collaboration with coalitions and partners; and meetings with policy makers, fostering better understanding of the immigrant context with impact to facilitate a greater understanding of developments, and to shape timely, appropriate, and scaled responses.

With the third-highest number of Haitians in the country, Massachusetts has 81,050 individuals – 1.16% of the state’s population – and is fast growing. The number of newly arrived IFSI families increased from 520 in 2020 to more than 9,000 family units served this year to date, 17 times that of 2020. In this year alone, IFSI has welcomed more than 14,000 individuals at its doors. They face language and acculturation challenges, an education gap, scars from years of violence and repression in Haiti following the assassination of their president in 2021, and a national immigration border crisis. Upon arrival, they are met with social and structural barriers, intolerance, and inequity– further exacerbated by a housing crisis and bottlenecks at the federal level with application processing of Temporary Protective Status and work permits, which are vital to self-reliance.

In 2021, IFSI elevated advocacy efforts with community partners statewide, mobilizing its Haitian brothers and sisters in protest against injustice and inequity. Ascending the state house steps together in a call to action led to meaningful systems change, yielding a first ever $8M Haitian Resettlement Assistance Program (HRAP) pass-through grant in 2022, with IFSI named as administrator.

Last month, IFSI led a charge to amplify awareness of the ongoing shortage of available and affordable housing as it relates to the influx of newly arrived immigrants. Dr. Gabeau’s statewide advocacy focused attention on the crisis at the intersection of an unprecedented influx of immigrants and the longstanding affordable housing shortage in the Greater Boston area. Her participation in dialogue with legislative leaders culminated in one-to-one conversation with Massachusetts Governor Healey. This resulted in the August 2023 announcement of the State of Emergency to address the migrant housing crisis, a turning point in heightened awareness and a push toward system change. IFSI works tirelessly to create lasting change and dares to dream of a time when ALL immigrants are accepted, and full inclusion is realized.

Continuing Our Climate Learning Journey

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As we have shared in previous blogs, Imago Dei Fund has been on an intentional learning journey around climate change. Like many of you, we have been struck by the stark warnings and the closing window to mitigate its worst impacts. Indeed, one only needs to look at the news to hear about heat waves, droughts, forest fires, increasingly intense storms, flooding, and other natural disasters. Dig a little deeper and it is clear that many of these impacts fall most heavily on women and girls and frontline communities who rely on the land and ocean to sustain them and their families.

As we have engaged with our grantee partners around this issue, we have heard loud and clear that climate change is a priority for many of them. It intersects with all of the issues we care about – gender equality , poverty reduction , migration and displacement of people, agriculture, girls’ education, health and well-being, and the list goes on. Based on what we are hearing from grantee partners as well as our own understanding of the existential threat climate change poses, we are feeling the urgency to do more and have named climate change as a key priority in our recently completed strategic plan.

Earlier this year, the three of us participated in the online course Climate + Philanthropy: A Compact Learning Journey. We wanted to deepen our collective understanding of the issue, analyze how it intersects with our work, examine how other foundations were mobilizing to address it, and identify opportunities for engagement. Each of us got so much out of the course. On a psychological level, it did a great job of making us feel both uncomfortable and motivated. We learned how we got ourselves into our global climate crisis in the first place and became more aware of things that we can do and fund to be part of the solution. By the end of the course, we all felt energized to be part of the global movement to halve our carbon emissions by 2030 and come as close as we can to a carbon neutral world by 2050.

We want to emphasize that this is not a new issue to Imago Dei Fund. In the early years of the fund, there was a focus on what we called “creation care”: mostly supporting faith-based actors to use their platforms to raise awareness about the environment and the need for all of us to do our part to care for creation. And, while it has remained a thread in our holistic approach to grantmaking, it has not been an explicit priority in our decision making over recent years.

However, as we move into our next strategic phase, more fully defining and expanding our role vis-a-vis climate change is a priority. To demonstrate this commitment, Imago Dei Fund recently signed on to the International Philanthropy Commitment on Climate Change. What does this pledge mean? For us, it is not only a public commitment to climate action but a framework that will inform how we integrate climate change in Imago Dei Fund’s work. This does not mean that we are abandoning our commitment to centering the needs of women and girls or to holistic grantmaking, rather we are lifting up climate as an essential element to both of these goals.

Before signing the pledge, we looked carefully at the seven pillars for action in the International Philanthropy Commitment’s Implementation Guide. These include: Education and Learning, Commitment of Resources, Integration, Endowment and Assets, Operations, Influencing and Advocacy, and Transparency. Going forward, we will be examining the climate impacts of our grantmaking, operations and investments much more intentionally.

As a faith-inspired foundation that centers women and girls and takes a holistic approach to grantmaking, we know we need to work with our partners to address climate change. We signed the #PhilanthropyForClimate pledge because we are committed to ongoing learning and intentionally driving more resources to combat the crisis. ~ Ross and Emily Jones

Recognizing the urgency of the issue, we have decided to focus initially on our grantmaking as we believe we can have the most impact there in the short term. We will continue to gather feedback from our existing grantee partners, allocate funding to climate related work, and define a climate lens to apply to our grantmaking. In addition, we will look to further mainstream positive impacts on not only women and girls but also on the environment in the investments of IDF’s corpus, which holds the potential to unlock vast additional resources beyond grantmaking alone. Last but not least, we will continue to focus on education and learning to ensure that everyone in the organization understands the issue, can collectively own it, and can think creatively as a team about relevant opportunities and how we can best contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts here in Boston and around the world.

We fully understand that there will be challenges in making this shift and many decision points will be difficult to navigate. After all, we are talking about all aspects of the organization – what we do and how we do it. The questions are many. How do we ensure that our grant dollars are working to support initiatives and programs that are benefiting local communities and are sustainable in both the short and long term? How do we think about travel? How do we take a responsible and thoughtful approach to aligning investments and deploying capital? None of these will be easy and we are not promising to get it all right. However, we recognize the time to act is now and are absolutely committed to making progress, learning with our partners as we go, and sharing our learnings along the way.

“The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes.”
John 3:8a