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The Next Step for Ballmer Group: Helping Children and Families by Fighting Climate Change

Today, we are excited to announce that we are expanding our giving to help address another critical challenge facing families in the U.S. and around the world: climate change.

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We are excited to announce that we are expanding our giving portfolio to help address a major challenge impacting children and families around the world: climate change.

Since our inception seven years ago, Ballmer Group has focused on improving economic mobility for children and families in the United States. Now, we are also tackling climate change, an issue with far-reaching impacts. We are pleased to share that Sam Ballmer, son of Connie and Steve Ballmer, has joined Ballmer Group as our new Climate Lead. Sam has chosen to focus his career on climate change, and his passion and commitment has led Ballmer Group to expand into this new area of climate philanthropy.

Science shows that we are in a critical window of time to limit global warming.

“The need to act and the opportunity for philanthropy to play a significant, global role is clear. The science is evident and astounding. We know every tenth of a degree of warming matters to the health of the planet and the lives of billions of people—and that every action we take today will make exponentially more positive impact than if we continue to delay action,” Sam notes. “My family and our philanthropy are committed to act with the urgency and longevity that the global climate crisis requires. To accomplish this, we are working closely with established climate leaders to ensure that our first contributions can have a significant impact."

To accelerate our learning and giving impact, Sam and team are working with Climate Leadership Initiative (CLI), an advisory service that helps philanthropists quickly and confidently find their path to climate impact. We are honored and grateful to partner with CLI, as well as with our peer philanthropists experienced in the climate space to accelerate and scale our impact. Our initial giving strategies are focused on halting and reversing deforestation and reducing emissions. You can continue to follow our climate giving activities, as well as our economic mobility giving, on our Grants page.

Addressing deforestation: Tropical forests store 25 percent of the world’s terrestrial carbon in their soil and trees, yet are rapidly being cleared to make way for cattle, agriculture, logging, mining, and infrastructure. The result is a double threat to climate: we both lose natural carbon “sinks,” AND cut trees release stored carbon, contributing 10–15% of global emissions. While ending deforestation is key to reaching global climate goals, this area is underfunded and requires immediate attention.

Our initial approach is to align our support with Forests People Climate (FPC), a global collaborative of philanthropic and civil society organizations seeking to halt and reverse tropical deforestation while delivering just, sustainable development. FPC focuses on equitable and enduring solutions that safeguard tropical forests and support those defending them, in particular Indigenous Peoples and local communities. We are providing a total of $149 million over the next three years to four global organizations that will disburse support to hundreds of local civil society organizations in tropical forest regions working to stop deforestation.

Reducing emissions + more: Through our partnership with the Audacious Project, we have made grants to organizations that augment the deforestation strategy and push us to explore additional areas for investment, including emissions reduction and protecting and studying permafrost. Our grantmaking here centers on the understanding that to avoid the worst climate outcomes, we must cut global emissions in half by 2030 and reach “net-zero” emissions by 2050.

View this portfolio here and learn more about our first set of climate grantees.

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