Grantmaking /

Climate Change Statement

The Foundation requires applicants to provide a brief statement about what their organizations are doing or considering to reduce or eliminate their impact on climate change. The statement should address the organization’s operations as well as its programming.

Ways You Can Help Curb Climate Change

Energy Efficiency

  • Turn on power-save modes on equipment and appliances
  • Turn off equipment during nights and weekends. Attach computers, copy machines, microwaves etc. to power strips for ease in turning them off at the end of the day. (Even when not in use, appliances use electricity. According to Co-op America, turning computers and copiers off after work can cut energy usage up to 75 percent)
  • Install an automated thermostat and/or set temperatures so that it will be comfortable during the day and will use less energy during nights and weekends
  • Close the blinds at windows that receive direct sunlight after work and on weekends to prevent excess heating in the summertime
  • Use a ceiling fan or other fan in the summer. Fans use 98 percent less energy than A/C and make you feel up to 6 degrees cooler
  • Ensure radiators and heaters are not blocked by furniture
  • Add weather stripping to all doors and windows
  • Use energy-efficient LED bulbs
  • Use thin fluorescent tubes (T8) which use less energy but have the same output as T12 tubes
  • Turn off lights when exiting rooms or install motion sensors
  • Schedule an energy audit though your local power company
  • Buy rechargeable batteries and a charger
  • Look for EPA Energy Star certified options when purchasing new equipment or appliances


Responsible Paper Usage

  • Purchase chlorine-free, high post-consumer waste recycled paper.
  • Use email for internal distribution in place of hard copies
  • Keep mailing lists up-to-date and avoid duplicates
  • Edit documents on-screen as much as possible to avoid printing multiple drafts
  • Conserve paper by printing and copying double-sided
  • Use the reduction feature on a copier to fit more on a page
  • Print using lowest quality print setting when appropriate to conserve ink and cartridges
  • Use postcards for mailings when possible and use the smallest size envelope required
  • When appropriate, stock fax machines, copiers and printers with scrap documents to make use of both sides of office paper
  • Use reusable inter-office envelopes
  • Cancel junk mail and notify senders if you are receiving more copies of a mailer than you require.
  • Work with printers who use responsible inks and papers

In the Kitchen

  • Keep washable plates, mugs, glasses and silverware in the kitchen and avoid disposables
  • Purchase recycled and non-chlorine bleached paper towels and napkins
  • Hang hand towels in the kitchen and bathroom, and use cloth napkins in place of paper ones
  • Establish a system for washing cloth items
  • Bring lunches in reusable rather than disposable containers
  • Provide a dish washing area to support the use of reusable dishes
  • Bring your own bags when shopping
  • Frequent restaurants that purchase local foods
  • Compost food waste

Office Supplies, Products and Furniture

  • Have a “used goods area” within the office and include binders, folders, padded envelopes, cardboard boxes, disks, etc. Use these before purchasing new supplies
  • Purchase and use products that are recycled and recyclable
  • Purchase unbleached or chlorine-free, high post-consumer waste recycled paper products, including binders, envelopes and toilet paper
  • Purchase Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper
  • Consider products with minimum packaging and purchase in bulk
  • Use refillable pens and tape dispensers instead of disposable ones
  • If replacing your carpet, look for non-toxic recyclable carpeting
  • Purchase products from local suppliers to avoid long-distance shipping and packaging and from suppliers committed to environmental issues
  • Purchase used items from thrift stores when possible

Recycling and Proper Disposal

  • Set up a comprehensive office recycling program for paper, cardboard, glass, metals and plastics and clearly label all recycling bins
  • Recycle toner cartridges through manufacturers
  • Collect and recycle batteries, especially rechargeable batteries.
  • Donate or sell old cell phones for reuse
  • Recycle packing peanuts. Call 800-828-2214 to find the nearest drop off location
  • Donate equipment and furniture to a resale store such as the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, the Salvation Army or the Greater Cleveland Furniture Bank
  • Audit your paper use by comparing your present and past paper usage. Set new paper reduction goals after each audit

Meetings and Events

  • Support environmentally responsible hotels and meeting spaces
  • Ensure that meetings and trainings are held at locations served by public transportation, and include train or bus directions on the invitation
  • Buy locally grown food and support caterers who do
  • Avoid disposable dishes or box lunches when possible
  • Label foods at events if they are local
  • In evaluations of meetings and events, ask how the event could reduce its carbon footprint in the future

Sample Climate Change Statements

Grant applicants who have not prepared a climate change statement for the Foundation might find these sample statements useful in thinking about how to describe their organization’s efforts.

Scenario 1: An organization that is just beginning to think about its impact on climate change

While we have never really considered what our organization’s impact is on climate change, we are exploring the following strategies:

  • Subsidizing bus passes for employees
  • Changing office light bulbs to LEDs
  • Instituting a recycling program
  • Reducing paper use by printing and copying double-sided documents
  • Educating employees and community stakeholders about global climate change
  • After implementation, we plan to evaluate how these strategies are working for our organization and establish additional goals.

Scenario 2: An organization that has adopted climate-friendly office practices

Climate change has been a serious consideration for our organization for a long time. Initially, we sought to address the problem through public transportation subsidies and energy reduction strategies such as conversion to energy efficient light bulbs and increased attention to turning off computers, lights and electronics when we are out of the office. However, we recognize that our organization can do more, and we have set the following goals for our office operations:

  • Conduct an energy audit to determine where, when and how we are using the greatest amounts of energy. With this information, we will determine additional ways and places to conserve energy.
  • Eliminate use of disposable dishware and eating utensils to cut down on waste.
  • Purchase from local vendors and suppliers whenever possible.
  • Work with other building tenants to increase building-wide recycling efforts.
  • Conduct a carbon footprint audit to determine where and how our office and staff are emitting greenhouse gases. We will use this information to guide future goal setting with regard to greenhouse gas reduction.

Scenario 3: An organization that is addressing climate change through both office operations and programmatic efforts

Given our organization’s role in revitalizing Cleveland’s urban neighborhoods, we have thought about how we impact climate change in our programs and advocacy work. As we continue efforts to draw residents, businesses and visitors to the city’s core, we combat sprawl and promote a vibrant urban environment. By encouraging individuals and businesses to move to Cleveland, we bring them in greater proximity to one another, which allows individuals to walk, bike or take public transit to work. We are also advocating for increased funding of public transit and bike lanes on neighborhood streets.

In addition to our programmatic contributions to fighting climate change, we also have taken a number of steps in our offices to counter global warming. Whenever our staff members are required to travel, we purchase carbon offsets to counter the effects of our air travel on global warming. We also purchase paper products that are made from 100 percent recycled post-consumer waste and provide a space within our office for gently used office items so that supplies such as binders and hanging file folders can be reused. Finally, we are working to reduce the junk mail we receive by removing our names from mailing lists. We keep our own mailing lists updated to ensure that we are only sending information to those who wish to receive it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Foundation requesting this information from us?

The Foundation wants to build awareness of the problems posed by climate change and help our grantees understand that they must play a role in addressing this critical issue.

What is the Gund Foundation doing about climate change?

The Foundation has for many years promoted awareness of global climate change and actively supported measures to combat it through its grantmaking. This has included not only grants in our environment program but also grants in other program areas that strengthen the urban core and support public policies to fight sprawl and rebuild cities. We also have made a number of changes in our office operations. We completed an energy audit, and as a result of recommendations from that study have switched from incandescent to energy-efficient lighting, installed timers on lights in certain areas and started recycling paper, glass and cans. We also used recyclable carpets and nontoxic paints in our last office renovation. We use recycled paper for our work, purchase “green” office products whenever possible and set our printers to automatically print on both sides. The Foundation also provides employees with subsidized transit passes to encourage the use of public transportation. We recognize that, like everyone else, we can always do more to combat climate change. As such, we will continue to set ambitious goals and strive diligently to meet, if not exceed, them.

What type of information should we include in our grant application?

Tell us in a simple one-page statement what your organization is doing or thinking about doing with regard to climate change. This should refer to both your programs and your office operations. We have provided sample statements as well as a list of steps your organization might consider, both above.

How does The Gund Foundation intend to use the information it collects?

We will use the information to help others understand how they can address this serious problem.

Will our grant application be looked upon more favorably if our organization is addressing climate change in its practices or will we be denied a grant if our organization is not doing anything to curb climate change?

At this time we are primarily interested in raising awareness about this urgent issue and learning what our grantees are doing to address the problem. In the future, an organization’s practices with regard to climate change may become a factor in our grantmaking process.

If we need money to address our climate change impacts, will the Foundation provide funds for this?

While we will consider requests related to climate change as part of any grant request, many solutions result in savings to an organization rather than costs. Also, it is important that all citizens and organizations take responsibility for their roles in influencing climate change.

How can we make a difference in our organization?

If you do not know where to begin, a number of resources are provided on our website to help you get started.

We rent our office space and have no control over our landlord’s policies and practices. What can we do to curb climate change?

You might be surprised by what you can do in your office. Small steps with regard to energy usage, waste reduction and recycling can substantially reduce your organization’s contribution to climate change.

Is the Foundation solely interested in office operations or is there a requirement to account for program activities as well?

We are interested in all of your organization’s goals and activities with regard to climate change. Many programs, such as those aimed at improving the quality of life in the urban core, help to address climate change because they combat sprawl and the energy consumption it encourages.

Our organization’s budget and staff are small and overextended. How can we afford to do this?

Many measures involve just changing habit patterns and may cost nothing. Some will even save money—like turning off the lights and computers when you do not need them or printing on both sides of a page.

What are carbon offsets?

A carbon offset is a way to negate the carbon emissions of your activities by funding a project that removes carbon from the atmosphere or results in the avoidance of emissions that would have otherwise occurred. Offsets typically go to fund renewable energy or energy efficiency projects that wouldn’t have been feasible otherwise. The Cleveland Climate Action Fund offers a way to purchase offsets that fund local projects in the Cleveland area.