2014 Annual Grants Report

Forsythia Foundation is pleased to report on its grant-making and impact investing activities in 2014. The foundation awarded a total of $705,000 in grants to 15 organizations that address key issues in environmental health and green chemistry. The foundation also invested a total of $131,000 in three mission-related investments pertaining to environmental health. More broadly, as of the end of 2014, Forsythia had $8.275 million (33 percent) of its corpus in blended-value investments, which have positive social and environmental impacts and provide financial returns.

The foundation continues to pursue its long-term objective of improving human health by reducing harmful chemicals in our lives. The foundation works toward this goal by engaging in three areas of activity:

  • Strengthening the field’s ability to effectively reduce toxic exposures by building organizations’ internal capacities
  • Driving the demand for safer products and living environments by supporting organizations that excel at translating science for decision makers in public policy and medicine, and at leading public awareness and action campaigns for consumers, manufacturers, and retailers
  • Striving to make green chemistry the standard operating procedure, so that all materials are safer by design

In 2014, the foundation made timely investments in efforts to inform and advocate for sound reform of chemicals policy and to educate the public about the deleterious effects of chemicals exposures on humans. In anticipation of meaningful reform to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in 2015, the foundation re-affirmed its commitment to promoting chemicals policy reform and its implementation. It supported the Breast Cancer Fund—an organization dedicated to the prevention of environmental exposures leading to breast cancer and a respected advocate in TSCA reform debates and process—and the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition, a grassroots advocacy platform advocating for federal chemicals policy reform.

Along with the continued drumbeat for federal policy reform, Forsythia also explored new avenues for building the field and disseminating vital information about health and the environment by investing in the work of the Center of High Impact Philanthropy  (CHIP), enabling CHIP to write a funder brief on the effects of toxic chemicals on children’s brains. Combined, these efforts continue to draw attention to pressing issues in environmental health and promote the need to meaningfully scale green chemistry.

Forsythia will continue to direct its future grant making and investments toward the goal of improving health by reducing hazardous exposures where we live, work, play, and learn. The foundation will continue to focus on mechanisms to increase demand and access to safer alternatives. In particular, in 2015, Forsythia’s efforts at scaling safer chemical processes, alternatives, materials, and supply chains includes an initiative to spur innovation in and commercialization of green chemistry technologies by developing an independent innovation accelerator to assist researchers, chemists, and inventors in getting safer materials into the marketplace. We look forward to reporting on the progress of this new initiative in the year to come.

Forsythia Foundation awarded the following grants in 2014:

Breast Cancer Fund
San Francisco, CA
Operating support

Bolinas, CA
Operating support for the Collaborative on Health and the Environment

San Francisco, CA
Support for the environmental health/toxics program

The Endocrine Society
Washington, DC
Meeting support

Charlottesville, VA
Program support for Material IQ

Gordon Research Conferences
West Kingston, RI
Support for the 2014 Environmental Endocrine Disruptors Gordon Research Conference

Health Care Without Harm
Reston, VA
Support for the Safer Chemicals Challenge

Healthy Building Network
Washington, DC
Support for the chemical data commons

Rachel’s Network
Washington, DC
Annual membership

Sustainable Markets Foundation
New York, NY
Operating support for the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition

Tides Center
Medford, MA
Support for implementing Clean Production Action’s GreenScreen Institute’s business plan

University of Massachusetts – Lowell
Lowell, MA
Support for Lowell Center for Sustainable Production’s GC3 project

University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
Support for Center for High Impact Philanthropy to integrate information about the effect of toxic chemicals on children into toolkit for funders on early childhood investment strategies

University of California, San Francisco
Oakland, CA
General operating support for the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment

Virginia Organizing Inc.
Charlottesville, VA
Support for Advancing Green Chemistry to perform beta testing on the Tiered Protocol for Endocrine Disruption (TiPED)

General operating support for Environmental Health Services (EHS)

Travel support for the Health and Environmental Funders Network’s annual meeting

Forsythia Foundation made the following mission-related investments in 2014:

Ecosystem Integrity Funds I and II
San Francisco, CA
Venture capital investments in companies and projects that reduce or ameliorate key threats to ecosystem integrity, including land fragmentation and conversion, depletion of productive capacity, and contamination of land, air, and water
$18,000 of a $200,000 commitment invested in 2014 in Fund I
$100,000 of a $250,000 commitment invested in 2014 in Fund II 

Sonen Global Sustainable Real Assets
San Francisco, CA
Financing core environmental infrastructure and natural assets that generate financial returns driven by the creation of tangible social and/or environmental benefits
$13,000 of a $200,000 commitment invested in 2014