Climate Emergency Fund Backers List Includes Jeremy Strong, Chelsea Handler

Meet the high-profile donors behind the Climate Emergency Fund, which provides financial support to environmental groups worldwide.

Six person collage showing four men and women
Jeremy Strong (top left), Chelsea Handler, Thomas Middleditch, Abigail Disney (bottom left), Adam McKay, James Murphy. Getty Images.

When the Climate Emergency Fund, a global activism supporter best known for promoting “disruptive climate activism” of the soup- and glue-on-art variety, released its most recent annual report, the Funder List included a star-studded lineup of influential donors.

The 501c(3) nonprofit is the primary funder for environmental organizations like Just Stop Oil, Scientist Rebellion and Extinction Rebellion. Based in Los Angeles, it was co-founded in 2019 by Aileen Getty, granddaughter of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty; Rory Kennedy, daughter of Senator Robert Kennedy; and investor Trevor Neilson.

The fund doled out $5 million worth of grants last year, giving donations to 44 organizations in more than 30 countries, according to the annual report. It doesn’t have an endowment but instead raises money for grants from more than 2,000 individual donors.

While the Climate Emergency Fund only publicizes donors who have chosen not to remain anonymous, its 2022 report of financial supporters names several significant figures in film, philanthropy and media.

Jeremy Strong, Succession actor

In addition to being listed as donor of the Climate Emergency Fund in 2022, the group describes Jeremy Strong as a “selected celebrity supporter.”

The actor financially supports three groups backed by the fund: Action on Climate Emergency, Declare Emergency and Elected Officials to Protect America, all of which have pushed for President Joe Biden to declare a national climate emergency.

Most well-known for playing Kendall Roy on HBO’s Succession, Strong has also had roles in The Big Short and Zero Dark Thirty.

Adam McKay, director of The Big Short and Don’t Look Up

Adam McKay is not just a Climate Emergency Fund supporter but also a member of its board of directors. He pledged $4 million to the fund in September of 2022, its largest-ever personal donation.

The organization is “unique in their commitment to funding civil, non-violent, disruptive activism,” said McKay in a statement at the time. “We are past time for politeness, past time for baby steps.”

In February, the director held an auction of personal items, including an opportunity to be a walk-on in his next film, with the proceeds benefiting the fund.

McKay, who is known for comedies like Anchorman and Step Brothers, chronicled an apocalyptic climate crisis in his most recent film, Don’t Look Up.

Aileen Getty, oil heiress

Philanthropist and Climate Emergency Fund co-founder Aileen Getty gave the organization $1 million as of August 2022. She is also on its board of directors.

She continues to support the organization with donations through the Aileen Getty Foundation, and in October of 2022 penned a Guardian op-ed on the need for climate demonstrations.

Getty is also the founder of the nonprofit Gettlove, which focuses on housing the homeless in Los Angeles.

The Onward Together Foundation, co-founded by Hillary Clinton

The charitable arm of an organization co-founded in 2017 by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean, the Onward Together Foundation is listed as a 2022 donor for the Climate Emergency Fund.

Clinton has also engaged in other types of environmental funding. In February, she announced the creation of a $50 million fund to support women fighting climate change in association with the Self Employed Women’s Association.

Chelsea Handler, comedian and host of Chelsea Lately

Comedian Chelsea Handler was another donor to the environmental fund in 2022. The former host of talk shows like Chelsea Lately on E! and Chelsea on Netflix, Handler was also the subject of Chelsea Does, a 2016 documentary series.

Handler has made financial contributions to many other nonprofits over the years, including a $10,000 donation to the Red Cross in 2012 and $1 million in 2017 for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico.

James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem

Both James Murphy and his wife Christina Topsoe are listed as financial supporters of the Fund. A musician and producer, Murphy is best known for forming the rock band LCD Soundsystem.

Topsoe is a member of the board of directors for a Danish company that develops and supplies decarbonization technology. In 2015, the couple opened the Four Horsemen, a wine bar in Brooklyn.

Geralyn Dreyfous, producer of Born into Brothels

Academy Award-winning producer Geralyn Dreyfous is on the fund’s board of directors, in addition to donating to the group in 2022.

Dreyfous, who also worked as a philanthropic consultant, has directed several documentaries focused on social justice issues, including Born into BrothelsThe Invisible WarThe Square and The Hunting Ground.

She is also the founder of the Utah Film Center, a non-profit which provides free film screenings for local communities.

Abigail Disney, grandniece of Walt Disney

Another prominent supporter of the Climate Emergency Fund is Disney heiress, philanthropist and producer, Abigail Disney. In September of 2022, she pledged $200,000 to the fund.

Shortly afterward, she wrote an op-ed for CNN where she criticized the global emissions of billionaires and called for corporate social responsibility, later tweeting that “private jets are a cancer.”

Disney has produced several documentaries, including Pray the Devil Back to Hell and The Armor of Light.

Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley actor

Another “selected celebrity supporter” for the fund is actor Thomas Middleditch. An active climate investor, he has made donations to the Rainforest Action Network and sold t-shirts benefiting the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“The main thing was climate,” Middletich told Bloomberg in 2017 when discussing how he selects technology companies to invest in.

Known best for his role in Silicon Valley, Middleditch has made appearances on The Office and Key and Peele, in addition to voicing animated characters on Penn Zero: Part Time Hero and Rick and Morty.

Rory Kennedy, daughter of Robert Kennedy

A co-founder of the Climate Emergency Fund, Rory Kennedy is also on its board of directors and remains a donor.

“In the history of our country, major social shifts have really happened, starting out, on the streets,” Rory told The New York Times in a 2019 interview. “We’re very much running out of time here—we need to help people understand we need a radical change in direction.”

In addition to her philanthropic endeavors, Kennedy is a producer and director who has made more than 40 documentaries and films including Last Days in Vietnam and American Hollow.

Climate Emergency Fund Backers List Includes Jeremy Strong, Chelsea Handler