2018 Annual Report

Forsythia Foundation is pleased to report on its philanthropic activities in 2018. The foundation awarded a total of $780,000 in grants and contracts to 16 organizations that address pressing issues in environmental health and green chemistry, including those advocating for chemical policy change and fostering innovation in green chemistry. Additionally, as of the end of 2018, Forsythia has more than 50 percent of its corpus in blended-value investments, which have positive social and environmental impacts and provide financial returns.

Forsythia employs three different strategies to ensure that governments and businesses prioritize human health: 1) Leaning on trusted partners to defend existing federal policies; 2) Fostering collaboration among the sector to pursue market- and state-based strategies; and 3) Leveraging this moment in time to invest in burgeoning opportunities at the intersection of food and toxics.

The environmental health (EH) community continues to face the challenges posed by a tumultuous political environment, as the administration weakens, reverses, or eliminates federal regulations and entities. However, we are beginning to see the impact of investments outside of the federal arena that the foundation and its peers have made over the years. Our partners have reported that large, disruptive businesses are adopting safer chemical policies and phasing out toxics in their products, effectively shifting the market to move toward “healthier” products. States are passing policies that ban the use of toxic chemicals in our everyday lives, such as Washington state’s recent banning of perfluorinated chemicals in firefighting foam, a victory for the EH movement.

The aggregate impact of our partners is greater than the sum of its parts—we have seen the field make significant strides in the toxics movement, even in this challenging political environment. Throughout 2018, one theme emerging from the work of Forsythia’s partners is coordinated collaboration. Organizations and partners in the EH sector openly collaborate, share knowledge, and seek creative avenues to leverage each other’s strengths to ensure that human health is a priority in policy and business worldwide.

In particular, this coordinated collaboration has translated to the emerging intersection between food and toxics, which is garnering cross-sector support from a host of stakeholders across private businesses and the public sector. Last fall, Forsythia hosted a 2-day summit where grantees, scientific researchers, nonprofits, and policy advocates convened to discuss how to continue to build momentum in this arena to ensure that food and water are safe for all and prioritize human health.

Forsythia Foundation awarded the following grants and contracts in 2018:
*Denotes contract

Breast Cancer Prevention Partners
San Francisco, CA
Support for BCPP’s policy advocacy focused on strengthening the oversight and regulation of consumer products and chemical management

Center for Environmental Health
Oakland, CA
Support for market pressure and advocacy for toxic-free products and living environments

Clean Production Action
Somerville, MA
General operating support for CPA’s Chemical Footprint Project and GreenScreen®

Bolinas, CA
General operating support for the Collaborative on Health and the Environment

Washington, DC
Support to increase its legal and staff capacity for the environmental health program
$90,00 (first of two installments)

Environmental Health Strategy Center
Portland, ME
Support for EHSC’s work in reducing toxics in food products and packaging

Environmental Working Group
Washington, DC
Support for TSCA implementation

Green Science Policy Institute
Berkeley, CA
Research and dissemination of information on fluorinated chemicals

Healthy Building Network
Washington, DC
Support for the consolidation of the Data Commons and Pharos databases

Resolve, Inc.*
Consultation and facilitation for a 2-day food and toxics summit

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families
Washington, DC
Support for the expansion of Mind the Store’s retailer coverage

Safer Made*
Support to develop a report on food packaging

Toxic-Free Future
Seattle, WA
Support for Safer States’ multi-partner municipal government procurement initiative

UCSF Foundation
San Francisco, CA
Five-year commitment of $500,000 to create an endowed chair for the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment
$100,000 (second of five installments)

Virginia Organizing Inc.
Charlottesville, VA
General operating support for Environmental Health Sciences and Science Communication Network

Forsythia Foundation made the following program-related investments in 2018:
Ecosystem Integrity Funds I, II and III
San Francisco, CA
Venture capital investing 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

  • No investments were made in 2018 to Ecosystem Integrity Fund I, with $165,000 of a $200,000 commitment invested as of the end of 2018
  • $15,000 invested in 2018 in Ecosystem Integrity Fund II, with $212,000 of a $250,000 commitment invested as of the end of 2018
  • $32,000 invested in 2018 in Ecosystem Integrity Fund III, with $92,000 of a $200,000 commitment invested as of the end of 2018

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
$46,000 invested in 2018, with $104,000 of a $200,000 commitment invested as of the end of 2018

The Lyme Forest Fund IV
Hanover, NH
Focusing on the acquisition and sustainable management of large working timber, ranch, and agricultural lands with unique conservation values
$20,000 invested in 2018, with $200,000 of a $200,000 commitment invested as of the end of 2018

Safer Made
San Francisco, CA
Venture capital fund investing in companies that remove or reduce the use of harmful chemicals in products or manufacturing processes
$300,000 invested in 2018, with $600,000 of a $2,000,000 commitment invested as of the end of 2018.