Leonardo DiCaprio's Environmental Foundation Just Announced $20 Million In Grants. Here's Where It's Going.

"We are proud to support the work of over 100 organizations at home and abroad."

In his 2016 Oscars acceptance speech, Leonardo DiCaprio spoke about the reality of climate change and urged those listening, "Let us not take this planet for granted." Through his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, established in 1998, the actor has continued to put his money where his mouth is when it comes to environmental issues. 

That's never been truer than this week when LDF announced its largest set of grants, worth $20 million and supporting more than 100 organizations around the world. According to the organization's website, that brings its "total direct financial impact" to over $80 million in just under 20 years.


DiCaprio made the announcement at a climate change conference hosted by former Secretary of State John Kerry at Yale University on Tuesday. "We are proud to support the work of over 100 organizations at home and abroad," he said. "These grantees are active on the ground, protecting our oceans, forests and endangered species for future generations — and tackling the urgent, existential challenges of climate change."

The grants cover six areas. The first is climate change, with $3,573,562 supporting organizations such as the Solutions Project, which aims for 100 percent renewable energy, as well as SunFunder, which provides access to solar energy in developing areas of Africa and South Asia.

The next area, wildlife and landscape conservation, makes up $6,360,000 and benefits such programs as the Lion Recovery Fund, the Jane Goodall Institute, and Sequoia ForestKeeper — which protects the Giant Sequoia National Monument.

The marine life and oceans program is donating $3,756,000 to organizations that protect endangered habitats and control overfishing, including the Global Partnership for Sharks and Rays and Oceans 5.

Innovation, media, and technology make up $4,077,568. The money will support scientists and journalists focused on environmental issues, as well as investing in new technology to protect the environment. Organizations include The Daily Climate and the World Resources Institute.

LDF's grants also benefit indigenous rights, with $796,500 going toward the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, in their effort to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, as well as the Indigenous Environmental Network, among others.

Finally, the foundation will donate $1,436,750 to environmental efforts specifically in the state of California. They include the California Wildlife Center and From Lot to Spot, which turns vacant lots in low-income areas of Los Angeles into gardens and parks.

"This round of grants comes at a critical time," LDF CEO Terry Tamminen said. "With a lack of political leadership, and continued evidence that climate change is growing worse with record-breaking heatwaves and storms, we believe we need to do as much as we can now, before it is too late."

At Tuesday's conference, DiCaprio pushed for solutions such as renewable energy and sustainable agriculture, and urged voters to cast their ballots for candidates who believe climate change exists and want to do something about it.

"Quite simply, we are knowingly doing this to ourselves, to our planet and to our future, and the cost of our inaction is becoming clearer," the actor said, according to Variety. "Yet with all of this evidence — the independent scientific warnings, and the mounting economic price tag — there is still an astounding level of willful ignorance and inaction from the people who should be doing the most to protect us, and every other living thing on this planet."

You can learn more about the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation's grants on its website.


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