Context

Environment Funders Canada (EFC) is a network of funders working toward a sustainable future. We aim to respond to environmental crises with ambitious and innovative solutions.

Membership in EFC is open to organizations and individuals that:

  • Make grants of at least $20,000/ year to benefit the environment in Canada.
  • Act primarily as grant-makers, not grant-seekers.

Our membership may be comprised of:

  • Community Foundations
  • Corporate Foundations
  • Private Foundations
  • Public Foundations
  • Government Funding Programs
  • Corporate Giving Programs
  • Donor Advised Funds
  • Individual Philanthropists
  • Family Offices
  • Public pension funds & other public institutions

We seek to provide our members with:

  • a safe and trusted space where funders can come together to learn and share without solicitation for funding or pressure to fund in a particular way,
  • an open, generous, supportive and respectful place for knowledge-sharing, exploring and encouragement, and
  • a welcoming culture that embraces inclusion, generosity, diverse backgrounds and different political views and approaches to change.

Member Behaviour Guidelines

The following guidelines apply to all individuals representing EFC member organizations.

  1. All members must agree not to use EFC membership for the purposes of grant-seeking or promoting business products and/or services.
  2. As environmental funders and grant-seeking organizations become more strategic in their approach, there is likely to be more cross-over in their respective roles. Overall, this strengthens relationships and the environmental movement as a whole. However, there are certain situations in which this could become problematic.  For example, funders may prefer that grant-seekers not be party to certain strategic funding discussions, or funders may prefer not to be solicited for funds at EFC events. To avoid these situations:
    • EFC members shall notify the Executive Director of “grantee conflicts of interest” if any of their staff/directors also serve as staff/directors of grant-seeking organizations within the environmental NGO (ENGO) sector.
    • Where possible, EFC members shall ensure that their designated EFC contacts are not staff/directors of grant-seeking organizations within the ENGO sector.
    • EFC member representatives who serve as staff/directors within ENGO’s are not permitted to attend EFC gatherings that are designated as ‘funders-only’.
    • When engaging with the EFC network, any EFC member representative who also serves as an ENGO staff/director must ensure that they are representing the interests of the EFC member only, and not those of their ENGO.
    • Any EFC member representative who also serves as an ENGO staff/director shall not take advantage of access to fellow EFC members to promote their ENGO, its projects, or programs, or to solicit funds from fellow EFC members, unless they have been specifically invited to do so by EFC or the EFC member(s) involved.
    • Should questions arise about the appropriateness of an EFC member representative’s behaviour with regards to ENGO involvement, the matter shall be brought to EFC’s Executive Director or Board Chair for consideration.
  3. When interacting with the EFC community, we ask that all members seek to be:
    • supportive of different approaches to achieving change and of different areas of funding interest,
    • ethical and honest, and
    • transparent about potential direct or indirect conflicts of interest (see item #4 below) as soon as possible, in order to maintain the nature of EFC as a trusted, open and honest space.
  4. Avoid engaging with the EFC network where financial conflicts of interest exist. These conflicts may be:
    • Direct financial conflicts — where you or a family member could benefit financially through sharing information that benefits business or other financial interests
    • Indirect financial conflicts — where you or a family member are involved with an organization in a paid capacity, for example as staff member, paid consultant or board member, and the organization could benefit through information being shared

      If at any time you are uncertain about whether there is a conflict of interest or whether information you wish to share with the network is appropriate, we encourage you to review EFC’s Conflict of Interest Policy and/or contact EFC’s Executive Director.

  5. Members share personal information about themselves, their funding and their views with the EFC network on the understanding that this will not be used for purposes beyond furthering environmental philanthropy amongst funders. All members must be respectful of individual privacy by maintaining confidentiality of members’ personal details, funding and views.
  6. When members speak publicly as EFC representatives, they should be mindful to reflect that our membership holds diverse opinions on what constitutes effective environmental funding, which organizations and policies are best placed to deliver environmental change, and on environmental matters more generally. To adequately represent these broad views, public comment on behalf of EFC is made only by the Executive Director, Board Chair, or those expressly authorized by the Executive Director to speak on a particular matter. We ask that you do not speak on behalf of EFC in public forums or to the media unless the Executive Director has specifically asked that you do so or has otherwise approved the material you intend to present.
  7. Members understand that EFC is charitable and must engage only in activities which further one or more of its charitable purposes in order to maintain its federal charitable status.

Process

The Member Code of Conduct (Code) has been developed with and approved by EFC’s Board of Directors.

This Code is available on the EFC website and shared with all members through the annual membership renewal and new member application processes, where members will be required to provide confirmation that this Code has been shared with all individuals representing their organization within the EFC network.

EFC will not evaluate the day-to-day operations or activities of its members. However, EFC’s Board reserves the right to refuse or cancel membership of any entity engaged in efforts that undermine the mandate and values of EFC.

We hope that this Code provides members with clear guidance and standards of behaviour  when engaging with the EFC network to foster the open, honest, trusted and welcoming exchanges that underpin knowledge-sharing and collaborative funding, building more and more effective philanthropy.

If at any time you have questions about what is appropriate under the Member Code of Conduct, please do not hesitate to seek guidance from senior EFC staff.

Other Relevant EFC Policies