COVID-19 update

SARS-CoV-2 graphic

An open letter from our CEO to our grantee and co-funding partners.

At Shockwave, transparency is one of our core values, and we’d like to share how we are changing in response to the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic.

We help people and communities adapt, survive, and thrive in the face of a changing climate and we remain dedicated to supporting those who are helping to build a more adaptable and resilient world.

We believe that effective crisis response requires a systems level outlook. Many of the same organizations working to create a more resilient future can and are using their capabilities to respond to this pandemic.

While climate change remains a looming threat, we would be remiss not to focus on the challenges we are facing today. We do so with an eye towards using the lessons we are learning from responding to this catastrophe to address not only Immediate resiliency needs but also those we will need for the next challenge. Climate change resiliency includes improving public health infrastructure—the pandemic has accentuated and accelerated that need.

For the near future, I have paused our more experimental catalytic grant-making and investment strategy in favor directing those funds to organizations that will have immediate effect on health outcomes as well as providing systems change for future crises.

To share just a few areas we will be supporting that address both the pandemic as well as future climate needs:

  • In many parts of the world, there is not sufficient access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH).
  • Effective epidemiological responses require resources for surveillance and detection.
  • Improving social safety nets and the systems around them to help people when disaster strikes.
  • Learning opportunities to document what works and doesn’t, and sharing best practices during the pandemic response.

As a general policy, we prefer to give unrestricted grants because we believe capacity building is necessary for successful organizations. If we’ve done the diligence to invest in an organization’s leadership, we believe they will spend the money wisely. We will continue that policy and have proactively removed any program restrictions on the few grants that had them. We want to give our partners the maximum flexibility necessary to adjust to these new circumstances.

I know that, like us, our co-funders, and those we support are all making difficult choices at this time. Our funding corpus has been affected by the market, and our partners are worried about their viability in a changing economic landscape. You are not alone.

We see some opportunity for hope. With such an unimaginable crisis, initiatives we once believed impossible are now on the table. The world is changing to come together to survive.

We encourage you to show leadership–adapt thoughtfully and quickly. Think not of how to make your projects profit from this crisis, but how they relate to the global good. Use your platforms and resources to encourage others to do the same.

I personally want to encourage other grant-makers and investors to redouble their efforts and enthusiasm during this difficult time. I welcome collaboration, and will make myself available as a resource to funders, investees, and grantees.

We at Shockwave thank all of our colleagues for their continued effort and wish them and their families good health and well-being during this crisis.

Together we will adapt, survive, and thrive.


Shockwave supports projects, initiatives and organizations that build a future where communities and ecosystems are resilient in the face of climate change. Through a mixture of grants and strategic investments, we support activities that focus on climate change adaptation and resiliency infrastructure. We prioritize projects that provide economic uplift in developing countries and provide seed funding at an early, pivotal stage. We incorporate in this work lenses on environmental justice, equity, and strive for community-first approaches. For more information, visit https://shockwave.org/.

COVID-19 - A CALL TO ACTION

In response to the pandemic crisis, we have removed all program restrictions on existing grants and prioritizing investments in pandemic response.

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