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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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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.

Girls, The Agents of Change

April 2, 2019

Funding for adolescent girls has been gaining traction in recent years. While feminist funders have traditionally focused on women and young people, there has been a drive to put more flexible funding in the hands of girl-led and girl-centered organisations. This evaluation reviews and assesses the With and For Girls Collective, the With and For Girls Award and the awards journey with a view to drawing out lessons from the Collective's experience to help encourage funders to increase flexible funding and other resources to girl-led and girl-centered organisations globally.

Girls to the Front: A Snapshot of Girl-led Organizing

October 11, 2018

The research used in-depth interviews and an online questionnaire, as well as an exhaustive desk review to collect data from girl-led groups and organisations, girl-centred organisations and the stakeholders that support them at different levels. This is an exciting opportunity to spotlight how girl-led organising takes place and how funders can provide flexible support that responds to the needs of girls and their organising. 

How Youth-Led Grantmaking Benefits Young People, Their Communities, and the Philanthropic Sector

November 1, 2017

In this brief, we explore Youth Philanthropy as a model with the potential to make grantmaking more democratic, inclusive, and responsive to the needs of underserved communities. It is also a model that, if more widely supported and expanded, could contribute significantly to the preparation of sophisticated future grantmakers who share social justice values. This brief explores the landscape of youth philanthropy in the United States, providing concrete examples of best practices in youth philanthropy, particularly for teenagers. We review youth philanthropy's potential benefits for both communities and for young grantmakers themselves. We also offer recommendations to funders for how to best support youth philanthropy or how to expand and deepen their support for this growing practice. 

Top 10 Best Practices for Youth-Led Innovation and Change

April 1, 2016

Top 10 lessons learned from funders supporting and integrating youth-led innovations and technologies.