Grantham, Hanne and Jeremy
Jeremy and Hanne Grantham have chosen one overarching focus for their philanthropy—the environment. From their perspective, if earth’s environmental crises aren’t dealt with quickly, nothing else they do will really matter.
As the cofounder and strategist of investment firm Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co., Jeremy Grantham earned a global reputation for identifying and avoiding speculative market bubbles. Now he sees a new kind of disaster looming—one he calls the “carbon bubble”— and it’s not getting enough of the right kind of attention. As he told the Guardian, “I find the parallels between how some investors refuse to recognize trends, and our reaction to some of our environmental challenges, very powerful. There is an unwillingness to process unpleasant data.” According to the outspoken philanthropist, “Anyone with a brain knows that climate change needs governmental leadership.” An equally outspoken Andrew Carnegie would surely have applauded this declaration. As he said, “The most precious citizen is the man who will go with his country or his party only if it be right, but who upon occasion hesitates not to condemn either when in his opinion it champions the wrong.”
In 1997, determined to bring more and better awareness to environmental challenges, Mr. Grantham and his wife, Hanne, cofounded the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, into which they have poured ever-increasing shares of their personal wealth. They believe that mitigating and adapting to a changing climate will lead us to a more sustainable and prosperous future. Yet despite the complexity of the challenge, the foundation’s mission is written with the simplicity Carnegie would have admired: To protect and improve the health of the global environment.
Hanne Grantham, cochair of the foundation, shares responsibilities in setting funding priorities and grant allocations, which support major programs worldwide, among them: the Carnegie Airborne Observatory, Carnegie Institution for Science; Divecha Centre for Climate Change, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College, London; and Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics. Support has also gone to the Environmental Defense Fund; InsideClimate News; the Nature Conservancy; Rare; World Wildlife Fund; and other groups working on clean air, forest protection, and environmental journalism. Above all, the Granthams recognize the urgency of spreading the word. “We focus on communications because we want the general public to better understand why environmental degradation poses grave risks,” their website says, “and why it is imperative that we act now.”