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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.
This document includes guidance on how to consider safeguarding in the planning, delivery, and review of participatory grant-making processes. Its primary focus is to ensure that those involved in participatory grant-making processes, whom we call decision makers, are kept safe from harm.Questions for decision makers to funders is a handout that these decision makers can use if they are considering getting involved in a participatory grant-making process. It includes questions they can ask funders to check if they have sufficiently considered safeguarding measures in their planning.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) Community team is committed to creating a more equitable, inclusive, and just California full of opportunity, where everyone and every community has the power to shape their future. Key to advancing this mission is CZI's Community Fund, which supports nonprofit organizations across San Mateo County, providing essential programming and acting as catalysts for social change in their communities.Since its inception in 2017, the Community Fund has supported 175 organizations with close to $26 million in grants. These grants empower local changemakers to tackle structural inequities in their communities, from the housing crisis to educational barriers. We hope that the fund — and its impact — will continue to grow, bettering the quality of life for people across San Mateo County and the Bay Area for generations to come.This report maps out the history and growth of the Community Fund, as well as the creation of the Fund's participatory grantmaking practice in the 2021 and 2022 grantmaking cycles, which propelled grants totaling $13 million to 139 organizations across San Mateo County. This collaborative funding approach engages directly impacted community members as part of the grant funding decision-making process in an effort to build trust and prioritize community voice.
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 nonproﬁts have designed and executed their participatory strategic processes. TAI encourages transparent, participatory, and accountable funding practices.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Funder grantmaking and learning practices are best when informed by grantee organization needs and experience. Yet, there are many factors that limit or even block this feedback loop.As funders, Transparency and Accountability Initiative (TAI) members recognize our responsibility to listen and respond to grantee questions and concerns, even when we are unable to provide the desired responses.We invite grantseekers to draw inspiration from this guide to seek clarity and advocate for potential needs with current and prospective funders.We hope the conversations highlighted in the guide will help you and your program officers continue to strengthen grantmaking and learning practices with your partners.
The modern version of the large philanthropic foundation found in the US and the UK emerged in the early 20th Century, but these have increased in size and ambition in recent years. Foundations such as the Gates Foundation offer wealthy elites an opportunity to perpetuate their influence, and thus are accused of enabling plutocratic philanthropy. The growing field of participatory grantmaking aims to address concerns about elite influence in traditional foundations by devolving decisions about philanthropic funding to those affected by the outcome of those decisions. In this research I develop a case study, based on 15 semi-structured interviews with people involved in both traditional foundations and participatory grantmakers, to understand articulations of participatory grantmaking and provide insight into how the approach differs in practice from traditional foundations. I find that inparticipatory grantmaking issues of power are foregrounded, and notions of legitimacy, agenda-setting, and accountability differ. Participatory grantmaking articulates activists as legitimate decision-makers, and unlike traditional foundations, where staff feel primary accountability to an unelected board, participatory grantmaking staff feel accountable to a broader movement. I discuss the broader implications of these findings for participatorygrantmaking as well as the use of participatory approaches in more traditional foundations. A two-page summary of the report can be found at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zpX7Ry7czcbvtcbzZDFcxZng3lzPR76S/view?usp=drive_open
Dutch development cooperation policy has a long history of providing support for women's rights and gender equality worldwide. It has used a range of instruments for this purpose over the past several decades, at both central government and through its embassies. While funding priorities have changed over the years, some themes have been policy constants and are still part of the current focus. These include empowering women and strengthening their leadership, promoting women's economic participation (access to work) and political participation, and combating violence against women. These policies aim to bring about tangible changes and to enhance the rights and opportunities of women and girls in the Global South. Another constant is the use of a mix of instruments and programmes, both targeting specific activities and mainstreaming gender in other activities. At the same time, there have been shifts in the forms of support for strengthening women's organisations, movements and networks. This paper will briefly discuss the modalities and instruments that have been used, the choices that have been made, and the lessons that have been learned.