Although a portion of our grant-making is already dedicated to environmental causes, we know these issues create risks and opportunities across all our themes, from health to heritage, and particularly to young people’s future prospects and wellbeing. There is also an important role for the cultural sector: to help us imagine the future, remind us of transitions we’ve made in the past, and inspire the collective shift we need to achieve together.

Across all our themes, the contribution that charities and civil society organisations can make will extend far beyond merely reducing the environmental impact of their own operations.

Our Chief Executive, Nick, wrote about this for SCVO – read his blog here.

Our grant-making

In terms of mitigating the risks of climate change and biodiversity loss, our most relevant grants are being made under our Natural & Built Environment theme. Our support for the restoration of seagrass meadows around Scotland’s coasts, for example, is helping lock-up carbon and provide more diverse marine habitats.

But, recognising the broader opportunities for charities to act to support a fair transition to a sustainable future, we aim to embed consideration of climate and nature across all our grant-making.

For Scottish Culture and Heritage, we have made it an explicit aim to support Scotland’s culture and heritage sector to play its role – both through its influence on society and its own activities.

For example, we have partnered with Creative Carbon Scotland to support their own leadership in this space and to help us continue to learn about this topic.

Our Youth Opportunities giving group is focusing on youth leadership and empowerment, working with the 2050 Climate Group to engage young people in our target communities.

We also continue to listen to the youth organisations we partner with about the climate-related conversations they are having with the young people they work with. This will help us consider if we have more of a role in helping respond to their ideas or concerns.

In relation to Health and Social Causes, we recognise that people who are disadvantaged, marginalised and in poverty stand to be most affected by the direct impacts of extreme weather and nature loss as well as the effects of policies designed to help mitigate them.

Our grant-making focuses on the resilience and empowerment of people in this situation and funds work that gives them more influence over decisions that affect their lives. We believe that there will be co-benefits from this in terms of their resilience in the face of the environmental crises.

Critically, across all our themes, we aim to work with our grantees in ways that enable them to build and sustain the core capacity to learn, engage their stakeholders, plan, adapt and collaborate in response to climate change and other issues relevant to their various missions.

This is partly about providing core or unrestricted funding, where appropriate, and also about adding value beyond the amount of direct funding we’re providing to frontline charities, as explained below.

Strategic investments

We are keen to be led by our grantees’ needs and views on the climate and nature crises. But we have found that, for many, the challenges of the last few years on top of the usual demands of sustaining their organisations means that they have struggled to make the connection with their own work, or to develop a clear strategy on it.

To support their learning, we’ve funded places on a short, accredited Carbon Literacy course for representatives of organisations we fund. This covers the causes and implications of climate change and the opportunities for their organisations to take action. Three cohorts of participants have participated up to April 2024.

With several other funders, we’re contributing to SCVO’s work enabling the broader Scottish third sector to become more ‘climate confident’. Our grant is helping to fund a package of support and resources that builds on the resources available on their website.

Everyone’s environment

And at a UK-wide level, we are helping to fund charitable think tank NPC’s Everyone’s Environment initiative.

This project is working with over 60 social and environmental charities to:

  • gather evidence of the impact the environmental crises will have on different social groups;
  • hear directly from people in these groups about what environmental solutions they want to see happen;
  • bring social and environmental charities together to address barriers to action and find common ground on policies for a fair transition to a sustainable future;
  • advocate for policies that will address them in an equitable way.


Our funding is helping ensure that people and charities in Scotland are involved in the research and related policy work.

Check our Reports and Publications page for the latest outputs from this work.


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