Participatory grantmaking encompasses a range of models, methods, challenges, and insights. At its core, this approach to funding cedes decision-making power about grants to the very communities impacted by funding decisions. This special collection gathers the experience and insights of funders who have shifted power and builds on the wisdom explored in the GrantCraft guide "Deciding Together: Shifting Power and Resources through Participatory Grantmaking".

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Deciding Together: Shifting Power and Resources Through Participatory Grantmaking

October 2, 2018

Funders are increasingly looking to engage the communities they serve in the grantmaking process, but there are few resources about how to do so. In this guide, we explore how funders can engage in participatory grantmaking and cede decision-making power about funding decisions to the very communities they aim to serve. Deciding Together: Shifting Power and Resources Through Participatory Grantmaking illustrates why and how funders around the world are engaging in this practice that is shifting traditional power dynamics in philanthropy. Created with input from a number of participatory grantmakers, the guide shares challenges, lessons learned, and best practices for engaging in inclusive grantmaking. 

Transparency & Accountability Initiative Participatory Strategy Resource Library

November 1, 2022

Many struggle to imagine how to bring elements of participation and power-sharing into the design of their strategies, both institutionally and programmatically.The Transparency and Accountability Initative (TAI) has built this library to illuminate what is (and isn't) a participatory strategy and describe how funders and nonpro´Čüts have designed and executed their participatory strategic processes. TAI encourages transparent, participatory, and accountable funding practices. 

Community Interest Funds 2022 Impact Report

October 13, 2022

The Omaha Community Foundation awarded 87 grants totaling $845,000 to local nonprofits and neighborhood groups through our five Community Interest Funds, which includes the:African American Unity FundLGBTQIA2S+ Equality FundFuturo Latino FundRefugee Community Grant FundOmaha Neighborhood Grants ProgramGrants made through our Community Interest Funds are strategic investments meant to increase access, equity, and opportunity. We engage everyday community members to lead grant processes, and we rely on them to exercise and apply their own power and understanding.Each committee is made up of residents who come from or identify with the population being served. They review proposals, and based on the needs they are seeing in their communities, they decide which projects will have the greatest impact.

Some Lessons from Participatory Grantmaking and Meditations on Power for the Field

July 26, 2022

In 2019, the Fund for Shared Insight, a national funder collaborative seeking to improve philanthropy by promoting high-quality listening and feedback in service of equity, created a participatory process of design, grantmaking, and implementation. The full initiative is still underway, but at this moment, we, Shared Insight's learning and evaluation partner, want to reflect on and share back what we are learning from extant data review, observations of meetings and events, conversations with staff, and data collected at up to three time points from those involved in the participatory processes. While there are many useful lessons to learn about how to do participatory grantmaking and what was learned specifically around issues of climate for people in the regions of focus, one of our unique areas of inquiry was to hear directly from those involved about how they felt about shifts in power through the process. We noticed some divergence in perspectives that we thought worthy of exploration. Given the focus on learning from this work, this report is less a full accounting of all lessons and outcomes and more a deeper look to help the funder collaborative and the field grapple with questions around power based on the lessons from this participatory grantmaking initiative.

Indigenous Women's Flow Fund: 2021 - 2022 Storytelling

July 7, 2022

The Indigenous Women's Flow Fund (IWFF) is an Indigenous-led grantmaking program that nourishes community-sourced initiatives and offers solutions and alternatives to systems in crisis. Grounded in trust-based philanthropic approaches, IWFF brings together five Indigenous women from across the United States, for a three-year period, to be decision-makers over grantmaking dollars and shape the program according to their vision.

INDIGENOUS WOMEN'S FLOW FUND: 2020 - 2021 Storytelling

May 1, 2021

The Indigenous Women's Flow Fund (IWFF) is an Indigenous-led grantmaking program that nourishes community-sourced initiatives and offers solutions and alternatives to systems in crisis. Grounded in trust-based philanthropic approaches, IWFF brings together five Indigenous women from across the United States, for a three-year period, to be decision-makers over grantmaking dollars and shape the program according to their vision.

YOUTH PARTICIPATORY GRANT-MAKING IN SIERRA LEONE: LESSONS FROM THE TAR KURA INITIATIVE

March 22, 2021

For nearly twenty years, the Fund for Global Human Rights has been a vocal champion of participatory philanthropy. We provide flexible general support that allows local groups to define and lead their own agendas. Fund grantees identify their priorities and approach and collaborate with program staff on defining measures of progress toward their intended outcomes.To us, participatory grant-making—which empowers affected communities to decide what and who to fund—is a further step in shifting power to grantees and movements.In 2019, the Fund partnered with Purposeful, a feminist movement-building hub for adolescent girls, to pilot a participatory grant-making initiative in Sierra Leone aimed at promoting youth leadership and amplifying the voices of young people.As our first foray into realizing the potential of participatory grant-making, this experience taught us many valuable lessons about how to foster genuine participation of children and young people.A targeted and intentional approach to reach a diverse group of children and youth is essential. This helps prevent a participatory process that only benefits young people in urban areas and those from higher socio-economic backgrounds.We also learned that true participation requires letting go of power while ensuring that young people have what they need to make meaningful and informed decisions. Support to child and youth-led groups should go beyond grant money to include a comprehensive package of grantee-led learning and accompaniment.The biggest lesson is about the need to be open and flexible throughout the process. Being willing to adapt as we went along allowed us to respond and make changes (almost) in real time. It also allowed us to learn from the young people about what it means to use your voice and make yourself heard in ways far beyond what we could have anticipated.

Decidiendo Juntos: Transferencia De Poder Y Recursos Mediante El Proceso Participativo De Otorgamiento De Donativos

December 4, 2019

En este documento titulado "Decidiendo juntos: Transferencia de poder y recursos mediante el proceso participativo de otorgamiento de donativos", examinamos por qué y cómo implementan los donantes la asignación participativa de donativos y transfieren el poder a las comunidades que reciben el impacto de sus decisiones de financiamiento. Con ejemplos y reflexiones de un grupo diverso de donantes, exploramos los beneficios, los desafíos y los modelos del enfoque participativo de financiamiento.

Social Justice Funders SPOTLIGHT: The Hyams Foundation

October 1, 2019

Social Justice Funders Spotlights present stories of innovative, effective social justice philanthropy in action. Each spotlight focuses upon a grantmaker and a grantee.Hyams FoundationThis spotlight is part of Sillerman's Participatory Grantmaking project.

Social Justice Funders SPOTLIGHT: The Headwaters Foundation

October 1, 2019

Social Justice Funders Spotlights present stories of innovative, effective social justice philanthropy in action. Each spotlight focuses upon a grantmaker and a grantee.Headwaters FoundationThis spotlight is part of Sillerman's Participatory Grantmaking project.

Social Justice Funders SPOTLIGHT: Disability Rights Fund

October 1, 2019

Social Justice Funders Spotlights present stories of innovative, effective social justice philanthropy in action. Each spotlight focuses upon a grantmaker and a grantee.Disability Rights FundThis spotlight is part of Sillerman's Participatory Grantmaking project.

Shifting Power And Resources To Grassroots Movements: Findings from consultations with activists and funders, July 2019

July 1, 2019

The question of how grassroots groups and activists based in the global south can mobilise adequate support to overcome the growing ecological, social, political and economic challenges they face and achieve positive change is a serious one that requires our attention. These groups face significant challenges in accessing key resources (financial and otherwise) to sustain their work.CIVICUS embarked on a consultation process to identify, in a participatory way, possible mechanisms that would increase the scale and quality of resources, both international and domestic, for groups and movements. Over the course of five months, we have had the privilege to learn from activists, organisers, young leaders and progressive funders from around the world about resourcing challenges, and to sense-check solutions and co-create scenarios based on lived experiences, bold ideas and deep understanding of social problems.This consultation is an attempt to move conversations forward at a practical level, exploring options that, pulled together, could help start a radical transformation in the range and quality of resources accessible to grassroots groups. As well as sense-checking the relevance, appeal and feasibility of emerging concepts, the process itself has been significant. These early explorations have directly engaged the groups that we seek to better resource, including a cross-section of grassroots activists, the financial arms of social movements and other strategic partners.