CleanTechies Podcast
#163 Rockefeller’s $1B for Climate, Nature-Based Solutions, Philanthropic Capital, & More w/ Thomas Belazis (Rockefeller Foundation)

#163 Rockefeller’s $1B for Climate, Nature-Based Solutions, Philanthropic Capital, & More w/ Thomas Belazis (Rockefeller Foundation)


No transcript...


  1. We’ve launched a Patreon 🥳🚀 please check it out and consider buying us **just one** latte ☕️

Join the Patreon ☕️

  1. Thanks for returning to the CleanTechies Podcast on Substack! We have a big favor to ask you. Please take a couple minutes to fill out our listeners’ survey! Thank you SO much for being a supporter.

Take the Listeners Survey

🌎 Welcome back to the CleanTechies PodLetter, Impact Investor edition.

Today, we are talking to Thomas Belazis from The Rockefeller Foundation.

We have yet another great episode on the role that philanthropy plays in the climate fight. We discuss…

  • How and WHY The Rockefeller Foundation (TRF) is going all-in on Climate

  • How TRF uses their philanthropic capital to unlock other funding

  • A nugget on how the philanthropy related to the king of oil, John D. Rockefeller thinks about the future of their role in ClimateTech

And a lot more.

📺 Watch on YouTube
🍎 Apple Podcasts
🎧 Spotify
🗣️ Join the Slack Channel

Subscribe to get these episodes and show notes directly in your inbox - if you find this valuable, consider becoming a paid subscriber to help us continue this work.

Already a subscriber? Join our Patreon to support the show by becoming a patron! 🙏

The Guest: Thomas Belazis

  • Thomas is Director of Innovative Finance at The Rockefeller Foundation, but his background and journey into impact-investing is somewhat unique.

  • Originally from the rust-belt (midwest), with a poverty lawyer for a father and nurse for a mother, his decision to go into the business world nearly caused his parents to have a heart attack.

  • His career started in consulting out of a company in Brazil. In this role, he worked a lot on international opportunities and this opened his eyes to a number of things.

  • Eventually, he moved into investing, working for hedge funds investing in emerging markets. During this time, he learned about impact investing. This idea and his interests aligned well and seemed to fill a gap.

  • Eventually, he would land his first role at The Rockefeller Foundation where he rose the ranks and climbed to his current role.

🚨🚨🚨 Shoutout to our sponsor Net Zero Insights — Net Zero Insights is the leading market intelligence platform on climate information with all the latest you need on funding rounds, VCs, and the climate tech ecosystem. Use this link to schedule your demo and get a 10% discount! 🚨🚨🚨

The Foundation: The Rockefeller Foundation

Philanthropic Capital, Nature-Based Solutions, Impact Investing,

One Liner: Investing Catalytic Philanthropic capital into emerging impact markets.

Originally founded in 1913 with donations from the historically-significant John D. Rockefeller, the giant who created Standard Oil, this foundation was one of the first well-organized and systematic foundations.

From the beginning, their charter has been “…to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal and sustainable.” This, plus the origin of the money, makes it fitting that they have recently committed $1bn to investing in climate.

This amounts to about 75% of their spend going forward.

Enjoying the CleanTechies PodLetter? Please show your support by subscribing!

📝 Show Notes:


  • What Thomas Does at TRF

  • TRF’s $1bn Climate & Net Zero Commitment

  • Why Nature-Based Solutions

  • Catalytic Capital & Unlocking Funding

  • The Role of Philanthropy in Climate

  • Flexible Investment Approach

  • His Career Journey and Mentorship

  • Collaboration with Elemental Excelerator

  • Future Projects

  • Emerging Market Interest

  • Global Ambitions


Asks 👋

  • We recently launched a listener survey, and we would love to hear how we can improve the show and what you like most.

Take the Listeners Survey

  • Have a specific guest or topic you’d like us to discuss? Leave a comment and let us know.

Leave a comment

Here’s the thing: Somil and I both have day jobs, so if you’re in the helping mood, we both have an ask for you today.

Somil: I’m currently seeking to connect with founders in the built environment space for a project I’m working on. If you’re in that space, schedule a chat here!

Silas: As many of you know, my day job is solving people’s hiring headaches in climate - do you have a hiring headache? Well, let me be your Advil. (booking here)

🚨🚨🚨 Early-stage founder looking for top-tier talent - reach out to Silas, and he’ll save you hundreds of hours with your critical searches.

Get Hiring

🙏🏽 Thanks for tuning in, and see you all next episode!

CleanTechies Podcast
CleanTechies is a Podcast and Newsletter where Somil & Silas interview the leading ClimateTech Founders and Investors to share their advice and journeys with other Founders and Investors to help others succeed.