BuildUS Fund is a new collaborative fund offering a generational opportunity to support a strong future of healthy and sustainable communities. We talked with WKKF Policy Officer Bonnie Kwon about the importance of this fund in building a more equitable and sustainable future.
Kathy: What is the goal of the BuildUS fund?
Bonnie: BuildUS is a pooled fund to accelerate America’s transition toward a worker-centered, cleaner and more equitable economy. The fund will support the implementation of four landmark pieces of federal legislation – the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act – and will help ensure that the broadest swath of Americans see and feel the impacts of these investments.
Kathy: Why is this fund from a collaborative of funders so critical at this time, and why did the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) support BuildUS?
Bonnie: At the Kellogg Foundation, we envision a nation that marshals its resources to ensure that all children have an equitable and promising future – a nation where all children thrive. Recent federal legislation presents a generational opportunity to build a clean energy future that ensures healthy and sustainable communities for children and families. Given the scale and breadth of opportunities available, early local implementation successes in decarbonization will build momentum and provide tangible examples of how public green investments benefit the economy, the environment and equity. Making these benefits real to communities nationwide will strengthen public support for clean energy investments and make equitable implementation of federal decarbonization legislation more likely.
Kathy: How will BuildUS invest in implementation?
Bonnie: BuildUS aims to maximize the economic and decarbonization progress by investing in historically marginalized communities and strengthening public support for equitable economic and clean energy reforms. The fund will deploy grants to a mix of government, nonprofit and private partners in four distinct areas:
- Accelerating state and local efforts to utilize federal investments;
- Empowering workers to engage in the clean energy transition;
- Addressing bottlenecks and scaling climate-focused solutions;
- Facilitating communications and outreach at the local, state and federal levels.
Kathy: Why is this work so important for greater racial equity across the US?
Bonnie: Before us is an opportunity to help improve the lives of children and communities by transforming the country’s physical, technology and energy infrastructure. The unprecedented and historic levels of public investments can create good jobs and make our economy fairer and more equitable for communities everywhere. Philanthropy can scale and leverage resources for implementation that centers racial equity by focusing on communities that have been overlooked, from Black and Brown communities to former industrial strongholds, and to rural mining and agricultural regions.