Just ahead of making headlines with news of her pregnancy this week, Rihanna pledged to give $15 million to climate justice organizations through the Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF), an NGO founded by the singer, fashion designer, and businesswoman.
In an announcement last week, CLF said they will commit $15 million to 18 organizations working on climate justice across the US and Caribbean in collaboration with #StartSmall, a philanthropic initiative started by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.
The money will be geared towards groups “focused on and led by women, youth, Black, Indigenous, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ communities” with an emphasis on building community resilience through climate adaptation measures. As many have previously pointed out, these marginalized groups are anticipated to feel the most severe impacts of the climate crisis.
"At the Clara Lionel Foundation, much of the work is rooted in the understanding that climate disasters, which are growing in frequency and intensity, do not impact all communities equally, with communities of color and island nations facing the brunt of climate change. This is why CLF prioritizes both climate resilience and climate justice work across the U.S. and Caribbean," said Robyn "Rihanna" Fenty, Founder of the CLF.
Some of the groups set to see money from the pledge include the Climate Justice Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network, the Caribbean Climate Justice Project, the Climate and Clean Energy Equity Fund, Black Visions Collective, and the Black Feminist Fund.
A number of these pledges have been made in partnership with Dorsey’s #StartSmall initiative, which has given almost $450 million to a range of causes, ranging from climate justice and COVID-19 relief to projects that look to further girls’ education and health. A full list of the efforts supported by #StartSmall can be seen on Dorsey’s live public spreadsheet tracking his donations.
Named after her grandparents Clara and Lionel Braithwaite, Rihanna set up CLF in 2012 as a philanthropic organization to fund education and climate resilience initiatives in Africa, the Caribbean, and North America.
Rihanna was born in Barbados, a Caribbean island that’s extremely vulnerable to the potential impacts of climate change, including coastal erosion, sea-level rise, an increase in tidal and storm surge levels, rising temperatures, changes in rainfall, and so on. Her work has already helped out Caribbean communities feeling the sting of the climate crisis. Back in 2019, when Hurricane Dorian wreaked havoc in the Bahamas, the CLF raised funds to provide relief through the sale of limited collections by Rihanna’s lingerie brand Savage X Fenty.
With the climate crisis heating up, it looks like CLF is also stepping up a gear with their efforts to help some of the world's most vulnerable communities.