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Building More Inclusive Communities

Funding to Support an
Equitable Transition

The changes driving the transition of our business to an all-electric future represent a seismic shift in our industry.

Shifts of this magnitude have a history of leaving communities behind. As we accelerate that future, we must listen, learn and apply an equity lens to our actions. We understand that climate change does not impact every community equally, and that sustainable technology alone is not enough for everyone to benefit from an all-electric future.

In its first year, the Climate Equity Fund disbursed grants to 19 nonprofit organizations. One recipient was a novel EV project, the St. Louis Vehicle Electrification Rides for Seniors (SiLVERS) program sponsored by Forth Mobility. SiLVERS provides EVs to two community centers that offer nonemergency rides to elders and distribute food to homebound seniors in North and South St. Louis. The program supports historically underserved communities with electric technologies to offset tailpipe emissions from fossil fuel-powered trips.

Our understanding of community challenges associated with climate change has led to the establishment of a $50M Climate Equity Fund that provides philanthropic support to community-based organizations. We have doubled our investment since an initial $25 million in 2021.

Grants are focused toward furthering the four areas of GM’s Climate Action Framework for an Equitable Transition:

  • future of work
  • electric vehicle (EV) access
  • EV infrastructure equity
  • climate equity

Engaging with Stakeholders

Our everybody in approach to an all-electric future extends to engaging with stakeholders on key topics. In 2021, Ceres convened a diverse group of stakeholders to provide recommendations to GM to help inform our role in an equitable transition to clean mobility within the United States. The discussion centered around three themes:

  • Defining equitable clean mobility, which may differ among communities and their historic context;
  • Economywide obstacles such as affordability of vehicles and access to charging infrastructure; and
  • Viable solutions in which GM can play a role such as charging and car share opportunities.

In addition, other transition considerations were discussed, such as the impact on today’s workers and the need to prepare the next generation of workers for an EV future.

Climate Equity Fund: Year 1 Highlights1

605 individuals better qualified for clean energy jobs

19 nonprofits funded

94,287 individuals impacted

11,600 students, educators and mentors to implement sustainability projects

82,367 individuals to be impacted by climate change mitigation programs

  1. General Motors awards grants for a one-year term. Therefore, grants awarded throughout 2021 may still be in progress in 2022, and some impact numbers may be estimates.

Program Highlights

The Heat, Health and Equity Initiative (HHEI) addresses the disparate effects of extreme heat, one of the deadliest impacts of climate change, on low-income communities and communities of color throughout Northern Manhattan. The HHEI works to ensure the community is aware of the impact of extreme heat, and how to access benefits and programs, while also working to advance community-driven policy recommendations to improve federal and state programs.

Valley CAN estimates only 20% of the needed zero-emissions-vehicle (ZEV) maintenance technicians receive training. Valley CAN partnered with community college automotive programs and the California New Car Dealers Association and their members to expand a successful ZEV maintenance pilot, creating a job pipeline for graduates and preparing to implement ZEV maintenance training curriculum statewide.

A grant from GM will help RMI identify EV “charging deserts” in low-income communities across major North American cities. With this support, it will also create a large government, industry and community stakeholder effort to streamline residential and public EV charging infrastructure permitting, creating more opportunities to bring EVs to low-income neighborhoods.

Investing in Our Hometown

Another key focus of our corporate giving strategy is the city of Detroit, home to GM’s global headquarters.

In 2021, we announced a $50 million investment in Detroit-based nonprofit programs that expand access to education and employment opportunities and strengthen city neighborhoods.

We’ve aligned these specific areas of focus to address the needs of Detroit and its residents. Last year, we funded 53 projects that will impact 173,490 individuals. Portfolio highlights include:

  • 1.25 million pounds of fresh and shelf-stable food provided to families.
  • 129 individuals to enroll in paid training, internship and full-time employment opportunities.
  • $150,000 in grants awarded to 10 local small businesses.

10th Anniversary of GM Student Corps

A paid summer internship program for high school students in underserved Michigan communities that offers life-skills training, college and work readiness, team building and community service.

1,570 students engaged since 2013