It all started on 1 March 2021. Not even a year old yet, the Clima Now foundation differs significantly from conventional, traditional support models thanks to its support concept.
Three go-getters have joined forces. Nathalie Moral and the two brothers Martin and Daniel Meili have been working together for many years. The idea was to create an organisation that takes action against climate change, and take action against it now. What resulted was a two-pager with the vision of some sort of philanthropy 3.0 concept. They were quickly joined by Tobias Rihs, Ruedi Gerber, Sabine von Stockar and Patrick Tobler, who all count among the first members of the group. It was only after the foundation launch that the organisational structure gradually emerged – who is on the Board of Trustees and who should be responsible for operations. ‘We were very open right from the beginning. We didn’t want to do anything unnecessary,’ says Nathalie Moral. ‘We didn’t even have a name when we started at the WWF premises, where we wanted to contribute to the ecosystem in a complementary way.’
Not a support programme in the traditional sense
The Spotlight competition emerged as a result of an exchange with the WWF. Shining the spotlight on areas that haven’t yet attracted much interest from others, it aims to involve as many people as possible in the casting process and to get them to participate. The first time around, 189 teams and individuals responded to the call to submit a project idea. A jury narrowed down the submissions to 33 projects and presented them on the ‘Wall of Fame’. ‘We wanted as many people as possible to visit the platform,’ Ms Moral says. ‘We want the world to see what cool projects are out there.’ The community was able vote for the projects on the platform, and 17,000 votes were cast. Seven teams were ultimately nominated for the grand finale, and were invited to participate in the first Clima Now Pitch Night. Three teams ended up winning and, in addition to the prize money, will receive access to the Spotlight Support Programme so that they can put their idea into action.
Positive tipping point
Die Initiantinnen und Initianten von The initiators of Clima Now would like to see a society that cares for the environment. The foundation therefore focuses on the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 established by the United Nations, which stands for sustainable development and action to combat climate change. ‘In our communication, we talk about the so-called tipping points at which reversal becomes difficult,’ explains Ms Moral. ‘We want to bring about a positive tipping point, where society experiences a mind shift.’ To this end, the foundation works in three areas: it funds solutions, it creates visibility by providing a platform and it brings the ideas together in a large community. The initiators know that money alone won’t solve the problem; there needs to be a change of mentality. ‘We want to inspire people by providing solutions and by encouraging them to think for themselves, to vote, to have their say and to donate.’ The foundation wants to give people a wake-up call and get them to take action. ‘We believe in solutions,’ says Ms Moral. ‘We want to show that everyone can do their bit.’
Strengthen climate networks
The development of a climate coalition is an important matter to Ms Moral. Her idea is to bring foundations and other funding bodies together to share projects on a low-threshold platform, to learn together through special focus topics and to have a stronger voice in the ecosystem. She aims to enable peer-to-peer exchange. The Center for Philanthropy Studies (CEPS) is currently conducting a survey among climate foundations. Compared to other areas, the number of environment-focused foundations launched has increased at an above-average rate over the last ten years, as the CEPS Annual Report 2020 has shown.
Get 100,000 people to take action in five years
In Switzerland, 100,000 signatures are needed to submit a popular initiative. ‘If we can inspire 100,000 people with our cause, we will have the power to make an impact in society,’ says Ms Moral. ‘We’re still right at the beginning, but we believe that we will achieve this goal.’ The 17,000 votes cast during Spotlight has made the CEO confident. It shows that there is a considerable number of people who want to take action and do something about climate change, right here and right now.