SOLUTIONS PROJECT INC

Let’s create the future we want.

aka The Solutions Project   |   Oakland, CA   |  www.thesolutionsproject.org

Mission

The Solutions Project (TSP) funds and amplifies grassroots climate justice solutions created by Black, Indigenous, immigrant, women, and other People of Color-led organizations across the U.S. To date, we’ve given over $30 million in grants to primarily women of color-led organizations operating on less than $500,000 annual budgets. We are currently supporting over 125 grantees.

Ruling year info

2014

Chief Executive Officer

Gloria Walton

Main address

4096 Piedmont Ave No 728

Oakland, CA 94611 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

46-3811348

NTEE code info

Energy Resources Conservation and Development (C35)

Management & Technical Assistance (R02)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (S01)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

For centuries, Black, Indigenous, and immigrant communities have experienced the worst of environmental degradation, economic exploitation, and all the health impacts that follow. Today there are over 40 million people in the U.S. affected by environmental injustice, facing the health impacts of living with polluted air, water and soil. At the same time, for just as long, these communities have developed and implemented some of the most effective intersectional solutions to improve environmental, health, economic and social outcomes in their communities. Yet because of how deeply white supremacy is embedded in the country’s systems and basic functions, these solutions have been ignored and under-resourced for centuries. Centuries. The organizations at the forefront of climate justice innovation are chronically under-funded, with just 2% of U.S. climate philanthropy supporting climate justice or just transition work.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Solidarity Philanthropy

The Solutions Project backs climate changemakers with grants, amps up their media capacity, and hooks them up with influential people. They do the heavy lifting — we're there for support. Our three core strategies are:

Solidarity Philanthropy: TSP is at the forefront of Solidarity Philanthropy, which builds on the foundation of Trust-based Philanthropy with practices defined by grassroots organizers and racially-conscious movement work. Nearly 100% of our grantmaking dollars go to neighborhood-level intersectional climate solutions in communities most impacted by pollution and climate change (overwhelmingly Black, Indigenous, immigrants, People of Color and women). We provide multi-year general operating support for grassroots organizations working at the intersection of climate + racial justice.

Population(s) Served

We are a recognized leader in bold, positive, and reflective climate narratives rooted in grassroots power-building. The communications capacity we provide our grantees aims to shift the national dialogue on climate change to center just solutions to the climate crisis and increase grantee influence with critical audiences. Our team and program delivery partners provide earned publicity, communications training, digital content development, marketing services, and access to major media or brand platforms like celebrity and corporate social channels that further amplify our grantees’ work.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Ethnic and racial groups
Women and girls
Ethnic and racial groups

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

FastCompany MOst Innotative Non-Profits 2022

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of stories successfully placed in the media

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Multiracial people, Indigenous peoples, People of Asian descent, People of African descent, People of Latin American descent

Related Program

Narrative Strategy

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Total dollar amount of grants awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Indigenous peoples, Multiracial people, People of African descent, People of Asian descent, People of Latin American descent

Related Program

Solidarity Philanthropy

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.


→ Impact: INCREASING INSTITUTIONAL POWER OF FRONTLINE ORGANIZATIONS

→ Impact: INCREASING NARRATIVE POWER OF FRONTLINE ORGANIZATIONS

→ Impact: INCREASING DECISION-MAKING POWER OF FRONTLINE ORGANIZATIONS

Solidarity Philanthropy: TSP is at the forefront of Solidarity Philanthropy, which builds on the foundation of Trust-based Philanthropy with practices defined by grassroots organizers and racially-conscious movement work. 100% of our grant-making dollars go to neighborhood-level intersectional climate solutions in communities most impacted by pollution and climate change (overwhelmingly Black, Indigenous, Immigrant, People of Color and women). We provide multi-year general operating support for grassroots organizations working at the intersection of climate, racial, and economic justice to build their organizational capacity.

We invest in eco-systems and movement-building where communities are already working together to improve lives and sow the conditions for systems change. Amidst current and pressing climate disasters, we also invest rapid-response funds for urgent and immediate needs.

Narrative Strategy: We are a recognized leader in bold, positive, and reflective climate narratives rooted in grassroots power-building. The communications capacity we provide our grantees aims to shift the national dialogue on climate change to center just solutions to the climate crisis and increase grantee influence with critical audiences. Our team and program delivery partners provide earned publicity, communications training, digital content development, marketing services, and access to major media or brand platforms like celebrity and corporate social channels that further amplify our grantees’ work.

Cross-sector collaboration: We build cross-sector influence with our grantee network. We open opportunities for scaled resources and audiences for frontline leadership and climate justice solutions through our high-trust relationships. For example, we have relationships with established artists such as Mark Ruffalo, Don Cheadle, and Regina Hall; industry leaders like Seventh Generation, a Unilever Company; influential media outlets like TIME Magazine and TED; and allies across philanthropy and government who mobilize to support collective impact.



We are an all-female, majority women of color staff. Many of our team members grew up in under-resourced communities of color, many of which were neighborhoods dealing with environmental injustice. Many of our staff have worked directly with frontline communities for the majority of their careers and those who haven’t share our deep commitment to justice and equity that this work requires. We are connected to the climate justice movement, which explicitly fights for the liberation of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and People of Color.

Our team sees themselves in the communities who live at the intersections of climate change and social justice. And a majority of us know people who are directly impacted by poverty, violence, and structural inequities. That’s why the movement is deeply personal and our relationship to the work is different. We cannot separate the personal from the political, because these issues affect our daily lives. We see the climate crisis as the most urgent intersectional issue because we see humanity suffering, and this is an opportunity for us to come together, break generational systems, and build a more sustainable future.

Our Philanthropic Trustees, who advise us on funding strategy and grantmaking, are trusted non-profit or philanthropic leaders in our field. Members are asked to serve because of their demonstrated leadership in the climate justice movement and wisdom of the systemic barriers facing frontline communities.

Frontline Solutions, a Black-owned national consulting firm that believes in the principles of equitable evaluation and design engagements that prioritize learning in service of movement-accountable equity and impact, evaluates our grantmaking on an annual basis.

In 2022, TSP was named the #2 most innovative NGO in the world by FastCompany, and won a Gold Anthem Award for Best Strategy in Environmentalism. We are the only climate justice intermediary recognized with an Impact Award by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. TSP’s blend of grantmaking support, technical assistance, capacity building, media muscle, and our ability to leverage celebrity reach empowers our grantees’ activism to yield successes.

In our organization’s 8-year grantmaking history, we have achieved the following:

Return on Investment: $30 million invested in 283 organizations across the U.S.These grassroots organizations then went on to win major public funding for their solutions, including one billion for solar on affordable housing in California, $400M for transition infrastructure in Miami, and $200 million for wind development in New York, a state that now boasts one of the strongest climate policies in the country. Our grantees have not only built power to influence climate justice mandates from the federal government - their innovations are setting new standards. We are the only climate justice intermediary recognized with an Impact Award by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.


Media Influence for Impact: 2000+ mainstream media stories that cover climate justice leaders advancing solutions that improve the lives of people in their communities and beyond in outlets including CBS This Morning, CNN, Jimmy Kimmel, MTV, LA Times, New York Times, NowThis, People Magazine, The Daily Show, The Today Show, and Time Magazine. We have increased the storytelling capacity and public influence of 75+ grassroots organizations and our independent media tracker has shown a major shift in positive media coverage of clean energy through an equity lens, in communities of color, and in support of 100% renewable energy since our 2017 baseline report. In 2021, 20% of clean energy news coverage referenced communities of color, up from 2% in 2019, illuminating mainstream media’s recognition of the racial reckoning, and also due in part to TSP’s narrative strategies work.

100% Renewable Energy Commitments: 150,000+ advocates have advanced our "100% for 100%" (100% Renewable Energy for 100% of the people) agenda, messaging and transition maps, including the whole of the environmental movement, countless Democratic candidates at all levels, Republican mayors, and dozens of corporate CEOs.

We co-founded the 100% NGO Network (now the Just Solutions Collective) with the Sierra Club that grew to more than 100 organizational members moving 100% campaigns across the country. As a result of this shared direction, more than 170 cities and eight states or territories have already codified commitments to 100% clean energy, largely for electricity.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    We exist to support under-served and marginalized peoples and disrupt the systems that keep their innovations from scaling. These communities are impacted by a multitude of systemic issues: racism, white supremacy, environmental degradation, economic injustice, and more. As a result, community-developed solutions are addressing structural inequities across the board and are also rooted in the communities’ history, wisdom, and experience.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We have increased the ease of the application process, and are building out new program areas in response to grantee needs.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    We strongly believe in self-evaluation and to being in service to our community - which is our grantee network. To that end we undergo a rigorous third-party evaluation of our role as a grantmaker each year, seeking to learn lessons from the field so we can better serve our movement. As background, we have been evaluating our role since 2017, partnering with Frontline Solutions, a Black-owned national consulting firm that believes in the principles of equitable evaluation and design engagements that prioritize learning in service of movement accountable equity and impact. We co-developed categories of indicators to evaluate our funding model, and have gone through three cycles of evaluation with the firm.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

SOLUTIONS PROJECT INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

SOLUTIONS PROJECT INC

Board of directors
as of 04/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Sharon Alpert

Don Cheadle

George Goehl

Brandon Hurlbut

Boundary Stone Partners

Billy Parish

Mosaic

Favianna Rodriguez

Center for Cultural Power

Justin Winters

One Earth

Mark Ruffalo

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 4/22/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Female
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 04/22/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.