In 2015, Divest Carleton started a Fossil Free Fund, collecting donations from alumni that would be given to Carleton College if and when it decided to divest its endowment from fossil fuels. Each June, if the college had failed to divest, a portion of the Fund was distributed to the environmental nonprofits 350.org and MN350. Over the course of the Fund, a total of $11,752.50 was given by 100 individual donors, many of them giving multiple times.
The host site for the Fund, the Responsible Endowments Coalition, closed its doors in the spring of 2020. All remaining donations were distributed to 350.org and MN350. Divest Carleton has not yet found a new host, but we would like to offer some options in the meantime for alumni who wish to withhold or decrease their giving to the college due to its failure to divest and/or other factors. Some alumni are currently withholding funds until Carleton develops a plan to address racial justice on campus. We’ve included environmental and racial justice organizations in our list below.
Template Message to College
Whether or not you also give to Carleton, any of the organizations listed below would be great choices for additional donations. If you do choose to give to these organizations in lieu of a donation to the college (or in addition to a decreased donation), we would urge you to contact the Alumni Annual Fund to inform them of your giving decision. We know that they keep track of how many alumni make decisions like this, and your note will help to keep up the pressure on the college. Here is a simple template for an email to the AAF (firstname.lastname@example.org):
Dear Alumni Annual Fund,
I have ceased donating to the college until it pledges to divest its endowment from fossil fuel holdings. [AND/OR: I have ceased donating to the college until it demonstrates a serious, sustained commitment to dismantle racism and anti-Blackness on its campus.] I am therefore writing to inform you that in lieu of making a donation to Carleton this year, I have given to [insert organization(s) here]. Should the college choose to divest [AND/OR: develop a sustained plan to confront its inequitable culture and treatment of BIPOC students], I will be pleased to resume giving each year.
[Your Name, class year]
Options for Giving
Divest Ed: National organization training and leading student divestment movements. Has helped Divest Carleton with resources and advice.
MN350: Minnesota chapter of 350.org, which founded the college fossil fuel divestment movement. MN350 works toward a clean-energy future and incorporates social justice into its framework.
Cannon River Watershed Partnership: Partners with local farmers and volunteers to keep the Cannon River, which flows through Northfield, clean and healthy.
NOTE: The following organizations focus on racial justice, singularly or in addition to climate justice. Minority communities are more likely to be affected by both pollution and the consequences of climate change. The same mindset that leads to the degradation of the Earth also leads to inequality, as less privileged communities are sacrificed to an unceasing desire for financial wealth among a privileged few. When basic human needs are not met due to racism and other inequalities, organizing also becomes more difficult. This is especially true of organizing in spaces that are not welcoming to minority members. For all of these reasons and many more, we assert that climate justice must mean racial justice.
Carleton student BIPOC organizations:
Black Student Alliance BSA 4-U Fund (Venmo: @bsa-2020 or PayPal: PayPal.me/bsa2020)
African Caribbean Association (Venmo: @ACA-2020)
Men of Color (Venmo: @MOC-2020)
NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Network: Works with local communities to close toxic facilities, pass environmental legislation, and ensure that communities of color are included in the transition to a sustainable economy. (Support by giving to NAACP.)
Indigenous Environmental Network: Organized and led by Indigenous people, working to protect the integrity of the Earth. Indigenous people have been integral to environmental movements, as is demonstrated by their recent stands (and wins) against new fossil fuel pipelines.
GreenLatinos: Coalition of Latino leaders addressing local, regional, and national environmental issues that affect Latino communities.