The pooled fund will focus grantmaking on local, state, and federal efforts to achieve a low-carbon, worker-centered, equitable economy
WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 26, 2023) — Today, a group of major philanthropies announced the launch of BuildUS, a pooled fund to accelerate America’s transition toward a worker-centered, cleaner, and more equitable economy. The fund will support the implementation of four landmark pieces of federal legislation — the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act — and will help ensure that the broadest swath of Americans see and feel the investments made possible by this legislation.
The BuildUS fund is an effort by a broad group of philanthropies to address these needs while proactively building out partnerships between national, place-based, and issue-based funders. The pooled fund is launching with an initial commitment of more than $50 million over the next three years, with ongoing efforts to raise additional funds. Initial funders include Carnegie Corporation of New York, Marguerite Casey Foundation, Omidyar Network, the Open Society Foundations, the Skoll Foundation, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and other partners.
Jennifer Harris will lead BuildUS during its launch phase. Harris previously led the Hewlett Foundation’s Economy and Society Initiative and most recently served as a Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director for International Economics on the National Economic Council and National Security Council. BuildUS will be staffed by a lean national operations team that will drive overall strategy and grantmaking, and that has deep expertise in economic justice and organizing, community economic development, and climate.
“Now is the time for America to build,” said Harris. “By rebuilding the country’s energy, physical infrastructure, and technology backbone — through public investment that attracts private investment to create good jobs, we can rebuild our very economy to make life better, fairer, and healthier for workers and families. And we can start in places that are too often overlooked, from Black and Brown communities, to former industrial strongholds, to rural mining and agricultural regions,” said Harris. “But none of this is self-actualizing. That’s why it is so heartening that funders focused on issues ranging from democracy, to the economy, to climate and more are seeing this implementation work for the leveraged bet it is, and are pulling together to do it at scale. ”
BuildUS aims to maximize the economic and decarbonization potential of legislative progress by making complementary investments in communities of color and rural communities, and strengthening public support for equitable economic and clean energy reforms. To make progress toward those goals, the fund will deploy grants to a mix of government, nonprofit, and private partners in four distinct areas:
- Accelerating state and local efforts to utilize federal investments;
- Empowering workers to engage in the clean energy transition;
- Addressing bottlenecks and scaling climate-focused solutions;
- Facilitating communications and outreach at the local, state, and federal levels.
Across all four areas, the fund will prioritize investments in new, innovative tools that hold the potential to fundamentally reshape how our economy operates.
BuildUS and its funders will work closely with other individual foundations and pooled funds, such as the recently launched Invest in Our Future effort, which brings together philanthropic organizations in a national effort to ensure that the clean energy economy is made real and includes everyone.
BuildUS is fiscally sponsored by Amalgamated Foundation, an independent nonprofit public charity. Grant proposals will be reviewed by invitation on an ongoing basis. For more information, visit build-us.org.