Please note that the Climate focus area is changing its approach in 2023. During this time, our application portal will not be accepting Climate funding applications.

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The McConnell Foundation dedicates itself to three focus areas to guide its work. Learn more in our Overview section.

Scope · Contribute to Canada’s transition to a net-zero carbon economy in a way that produces sustainable and equitable outcomes for all.


Overarching Frameworks

We seek partners who aspire to create inclusive organizations and who endeavour to apply the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Accessibility (EDIA) framework in their activities.

In addition, the Climate focus area intends to support and carry out the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.



We aim, through our theory of change, to support Canada’s efforts of transitioning to a net-zero carbon economy in a way that ensures productive, equitable outcomes for all. We shall contribute to this by applying a social justice framework to our funding and investments, and by advancing systemic change. This also includes global equity, meaning that Canada will take on its fair share of the global efforts required to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5C. The Government of Canada has committed itself, in the spring of 2021, to a new target to reduce greenhouse emissions by 40 to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030. Canada can and needs to do a lot more. 

In addition to the three strategies outlined in the table below, all organizations seeking funding for the Climate focus area will be required to demonstrate how:

  • They seek to integrate an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Accessibility (EDIA) framework within their organization.
  • Their project may involve those who have been traditionally excluded, marginalized or underrepresented in climate solutions, and those who are most vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

Strategies and Criteria

Innovative climate mitigation solutions are being implemented through effective collaboration in all sectors of society.

All sectors of society can contribute to reducing carbon emissions. We support projects that address systemic barriers to reducing carbon emissions such as effective climate communications and public policy changes.

We will support organizations and coalitions advancing climate mitigation projects in a collaborative manner. Specifically, we require that organizations and coalitions indicate in their grant request the economic or societal sector they are operating in, indicate the emissions reduction potential associated with that sector and how their project advances a pathway to net-zero by 2050.  Sectors may include renewable energy generation, energy retrofit of buildings, sustainable mobility solutions, regenerative and climate resilient agriculture, training and other transition support for the labour force impacted by the transition. While nature-based climate solutions are essential to addressing the climate crisis, the Foundation will not support projects advancing nature-based solutions such as reforestation and tree planting, nature conservation or biodiversity preservation.

Criteria questions for climate solutions: 

  • How does your project contribute to climate mitigation?
  • How is your project contributing to reaching a net- zero carbon economy?
  • Applicants must identify in which sector the Greenhouse Gas emissions reduction would take place, and quantify if possible.

Including marginalized, racialized, underrepresented or vulnerable people ensures that climate solutions deliver equitable and sustainable outcomes for all.

An equitable transition to a net-zero carbon economy requires that those individuals, groups and populations that have been traditionally excluded, marginalized or underrepresented in climate solutions, and those who are most vulnerable to the impact of climate change, be resourced and empowered to participate in climate solutions that affect them.

We want to strengthen organizations who represent marginalized and vulnerable groups and support a greater diversity of individuals to participate in the net-zero carbon economy transition.

This may include organizations representing:

  • Racialized individuals
  • Youth
  • Newcomers to Canada
  • Women
  • Workers in fossil fuel industries
  • Communities who depend on fossil fuel industries for employment and tax revenues
  • Northern communities who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change
  • Canadians facing energy poverty
  • Indigenous communities

Criteria questions for diversity and inclusion:

  • Applicants must describe the diversity and inclusion challenge or opportunity the proposed initiative is responding to.
  • Is your project led by equity-seeking individuals or communities?
  • How are you including or supporting individuals or communities that are underrepresented in the decision making and/or leadership of your organization?
  • How will your project increase equity (fair redistribution of costs or benefits) in the net zero- carbon economy?

Sustainable finance tools and knowledge are increasing the flow of private capital to fund an equitable transition.

Canada cannot reach a net-zero carbon economy without significant investments of capital from the private sector. In addition, climate change poses significant risks to Canada’s financial sector including physical risks of intensifying weather events, the financial risks of stranded assets, and wider risks to the system of increased volatility and unpredictability.

This transition requires major shifts in the flow of  capital investment and risk management across different sectors, including renewable energy, sustainable mobility systems, building energy efficiency, climate resilient agriculture and clean technologies.

Currently, knowledge and data gaps in Canada prevent asset managers, public pension-fund managers, financial institutions from making these sustainable finance investment decisions at the scale that is needed. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is moving ahead rapidly in strengthening climate risk disclosure practices, decarbonizing their investment portfolios and attracting private capital investment in their clean technology sector. Canadian companies need to seize these new market opportunities and attract capital investors in Canada if we are to remain competitive and prosper in the new global climate economy.

The Foundation will support projects that advance climate risk disclosure across the financial sector and that address specific barriers, data and knowledge gaps needed for financial institutions, asset managers, pension fund boards and corporate boards to advance sustainable finance.

Criteria questions for sustainable finance projects or organizations:

  • How does your project advance capacity and expertise in sustainable finance in Canada?
  • Who in the financial sector would benefit from your project?
  • What are the gaps that your project is addressing to advance sustainable finance?
  • How will your project facilitate private or public capital moving out of carbon-intensive activities or into climate mitigation solutions?
  • How will your project increase equity (fair redistribution of costs or benefits) in the net- zero carbon economy?

Recent Funding

Institute for Research on Public Policy

Funding will identify sectors where labour disruptions are expected because of the transition to a net-zero carbon economy and create an interactive map with socio-demographic data illustrating these.

$ 140,000 2023 - 2026

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Energy Mix Productions

Funding will support local organizations working on income insecurity to engage individuals in climate solutions and grow a structured network for vulnerable populations.

$ 400,000 2023 - 2026

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Climate and Affordability Task Force

Funding will contribute to federal policy recommendations for low-income Canadians' climate resiliency and demonstrate that tackling climate can also make life more affordable for Canadians.

$ 308,000 2023 - 2024

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Conservation Council of New Brunswick (CCNB)

Funding will grow three pillars of climate activities in New Brunswick: citizens engagement, campaigns and policy, and research, including cleaning up the electricity grid in the Atlantic provinces.

$ 500,000 2023 - 2026

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Funding will strengthen CDP's impact on the Canadian economy by growing its capacity to drive increased corporate climate disclosure, accountability for financed emissions, and regulatory ambition.

$ 700,000 2023 - 2026

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International Sustainable Development Institute

Funding will contribute to IISD’s role in sharing knowledge and research for oil and phase out regulation and just transition policies and investments.

$ 600,000 2023 - 2026

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