Two Issue Briefs Aim to Get Funders Up-to-Speed

February 24, 2014

This post was authored by former HEFN Communications Associate Lauren Linville.

It’s a no-brainer: most people understand that everything we touch, eat, and breathe can impact our health. Observations from everyday living tell us that our bodies are healthier when we breathe clean air, drink clean water, and avoid toxic exposures.

But if you’re a funder looking to help improve environmental conditions for people’s health, you may need a lot more than just an everyday understanding of environmental health.  Funders often have common questions as they consider environmental health, such as:  Who is being affected, and by what environmental conditions? What’s the evidence about these problems or about solutions?  What are other funders doing?  And how can my grantmaking help?

Fortunately, the answers to these questions are now easier to find than ever before.  HEFN has recently unveiled two new issue briefs designed explicitly for funders just getting started.  Authored by HEFN Directors Karla Fortunato and Kathy Sessions, and consultant Michael Passoff, the issue briefs draw on the HEFN community’s 15 years of experience, aim to be accessible, yet comprehensive “first reads” for any funder.

Healthy Environments, Healthy People: A Funder Guide on Improving Environmental Conditions for Health,” is our version of a 101 course in environmental health and justice grantmaking. It covers:

  • The evidence base linking environmental conditions to health outcomes, including research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization;
  • The basics about environmental health concerns like particularly hazardous exposures, vulnerable populations, links to diseases, and environmental justice concerns; and
  • A range of grantmaking strategies to address these concerns and improve environmental conditions for health.

Catalyzing Change: A Funder Guide on Protecting People and the Environment from Toxic Chemicals,” is everything a grantmaker would need to know about the impact of chemicals on our health and the environment.  It has: 

  • Background on the 20th century chemical revolution resulting in exposures to thousands of chemicals, most untested for safety and weakly regulated;
  • Science takeaways about harmful exposures, health impacts, and people and populations most impacted; and
  • Overviews of grantmaking strategies tackling toxic threats to people and the environment, ranging from policy reforms and market campaigns, to community engagement and organizing, to research and green chemistry innovation.

We hope these briefs provide an easy “on-ramp” to get new funders up-to-speed on environmental health and justice.  Funders also may find more information through HEFN’s blog, curated resource library, webinars and meetings, working groups, and social media offerings.  Let us know what else you need to start making investments for cleaner environments, safer chemicals, and healthier people.  

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