The Sustainable Cities program seeks to significantly reduce carbon emissions and pollution through city-led, transformative climate action.

With more than four-fifths of Americans living in cities, the ways we make communities more livable allows for enormous progress in addressing climate change. The Summit Foundation supports equitable, community-led programs and policies that improve well-being and catalyze the bold vision and action necessary to solve climate change.

The solutions exist to halve our greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and achieve full carbon neutrality by 2050. Cities are economic hubs, seats of government, and laboratories for equitable, community-led change. Our grantees lead this change by working with cities to expand and electrify transit networks, promote alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles, remove fossil fuels from buildings, and give people choice in how they power their lives.


Transforming Transportation

The United States’s transportation sector contributes more than 30 percent of annual carbon emissions and generates pollution that leads to significant respiratory and cardiovascular disease burdens. Our grantees are creating solutions at meaningful scale: expanding transit networks, ensuring city streets are designed for walking and biking, electrifying transportation, and promoting new forms of clean, shared mobility for everyone.


Decarbonizing the Built Environment

The U.S.’s building stock accounts for roughly one-third of our annual carbon emissions, and pollution from fossil fuel use in homes, schools, and workplaces exacerbates respiratory illness, fires, and other hazards. We support measures to make our buildings more efficient and carbon-free so that we can eliminate carbon emissions and indoor pollutants that put human health at risk.

Photo © william87/iStock

Photo © Wang An Qi/ Shutterstock

Our Program Approach

We focus our grantmaking on high-value, catalytic opportunities to rapidly decarbonize the built environment, ensure cities and suburbs can transition to clean energy sources, create carbon-neutral building stock, and electrify transit and transportation for all.


With temperatures and sea levels rising every year, time is not on humanity’s side. Nevertheless, the solutions exist to halve our greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, radically reduce air pollution, and achieve full carbon neutrality by 2050. These solutions are possible today, but a successful response to the climate crisis will require a transformation of our energy systems and land use patterns. It is also important to recognize that the climate crisis is intimately linked to social and economic inequality and will require solutions that address the underlying systems that perpetuate these inequalities.


We fund nonprofit organizations that drive concrete, actionable solutions to our climate crisis, focusing on grantees whose work centers equity and delivers significant reductions in fossil fuel use. Our grantees are grassroots groups, environmental justice organizations, community-based organizations, and communications experts. We prioritize funding organizations comprising and working in frontline communities and entities focused on equitable solutions to our changing climate.


While our work focuses on the United States, our grantees are global in scope: we believe we must partner with and share ideas, models, and resources with our sister cities across the planet if we are to combat a crisis that affects everyone on the planet. Our grantees’ work focuses on cities and suburbs, but the policies they advance aren’t just local: we support work that is statewide and even national in scale.


We support grantees and projects that challenge existing power structures inhibiting climate progress and organizations whose work is timely, measurable, and scalable. Given the urgent nature of the threat we face, we are solutions-oriented, science-minded, and focused on the geographies and issue areas where our grantees can make the most impact in the shortest amount of time.