KITX WOMEN: CLARE HERSHELL
CO-FOUNDER OF GROUNDSWELL GIVING
I had my “aha” moment in 2014 watching the film Chasing Ice. There is a scene where an ice shelf the size of Manhattan collapses into the ocean. It shuddered as it fell with such a human quality I felt I was witnessing a tragic, untimely death. I had this epiphany that the earth itself and its systems is a living, breathing thing- and fragile too, just like us. I remember driving home afterwards with a fierce intention to actively seek out a way to engage in meaningful climate action. It began with taking culture shapers within my own networks to the Great Barrier Reef hosted in partnership with the Climate Council (Kit Willow was a guest on our 2018 climate fellowship on Heron Island). Then the bushfires hit in late 2019 and I realised our community needed to accelerate our climate ambition to do a lot more, and fast.
I think the bushfires really brought the climate crisis home and into the present in a way that felt very personal and immediate - ‘climate change’ was no longer an abstract, future threat. It was happening. To us. Now.
The scale of the impact was enormous. We’ll never forget breathing in hazardous smoke, losing homes and communities, 20% of our nations forests and over 3 billion animal lives.
What the bushfires, floods and pandemic has shown us is the power of community to mobilise together. During the bushfires, there was such a community outpouring with so many donations being directed to the fire services, to injured wildlife, which was wonderful, but there was also a large number of people recognising that we had to address the issue at the root of the cause, and those people wanted to know: “How do we fund and accelerate climate action?” making an investment in a safer future for all of us.
Kit Willow was one of our founding members! Anyone can become a Groundswell member online (you should join!) by pitching in $20 a week or $1000 per year as a tax deductible donation. The more members who join, the more grants are made, and we all get to vote on a shortlist of amazing climate nonprofits every grant round so it’s also an excellent way to learn about what’s going on. To date, we have raised and distributed nearly $2 million directly, and have also acted as a clearinghouse for larger donors who use our vetting processes as a shortcut in their own philanthropy.
We fund climate advocacy work that can shift the dial on climate action in Australia - this includes strategic community campaigns, litigation, energy transition dialogue, First Nations leadership in caring for country, and more.
Groundswell also offers gratis memberships to First Nations change-makers as recognition that First Nations people are on the front lines of climate change and have traditionally been excluded from decision-making processes about the distribution of philanthropic funding.
Purchase Endangered Jumper with $10 of every sale going to Groundswell!
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