Initiative on Racism and Islamophobia 

Person of Contact:

Maartje Eigeman and 

Hafsa Mustafa  

How do we strengthen our support and grassroots organizing?

Historically, projects against Islamophobia have been largely ignored by policy-makers and secular leftists. Nowadays, many muslim organizations have been created, in an attempt to counteract the current wave of right wing movements and political parties. Unfortunately, these organizations are greatly under-resourced. 

This initiative aims to build trust with the muslim community, and to challenge the idea of a transformative system that does not involve muslim.

As a follow up of the session on countering islamophobia, the participants have agreed to exchange more on the work that is being done by funders and civil society on this issue, to explore the potential for more coordination. Anyone who is interested and/ or who would like to keep updated about this work, please send an email to  martina@edgefunders.org. 

How to organize within Philanthropy to support Palestinian Self-Determination 

Persons of Contact: 

Chung-Wha Hoang, Sam Vinal,  Moukhtar Kocache

The conversation explored how resources, both funding and legal, can be shifted to supporting BDS work, instead of criminalizing it. The aim is to continue increase the funding support for Palestinian movements,  which are operating despite a context of continuous shrinking space for civil society. 

A first initiative would include a 3-5 years education program, as a rapid response in philanthropy. This would also be a great opportunity to strengthen the Palestinian-Black people power alliance, and will require further investments. 

In order to achieve these goals, the group discussed the creation of a Funder Consortium, which would work together in the preparation of a funders-movements statement. This document will include with inside and outside strategy on how to push back this anti-Palestine narrative, and methods to increase funding for Palestinians lead groups in the US. 

How to build an African Coalition 

Persons of Contact:

Julia Beatty, Ed Whitfield, Charles Long

The two open spaces were followed by a dine-around in the evening. It was a really great and intense conversation, which focused on the work that black communities are doing all over the world. Many ideas were raised during the day-long conversations, including an ongoing engagement on the African diaspora; the willingness for black allies to step up and commit to collaborate in the future; and build international solidarity, including the Brazilian context. 

Coumba Toure shared a really inspiring story of African Solidarity, commitments to fight agains violence and fascisms, and collaboration among movements globally. Must read in the EDGE Website

Feminist organizing school 

Persons of Contact:

Rose Longhurst 

In the New Orleans EDGE conference last year, the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance presented a taster of their 'feminist organising school', which prompted some funders to request a philanthropy-specific version. During the EDGE Conference in Brazil, the conversation continued, with more concrete step forwards and development. 

The conversation was framed around three main questions:

  1. Feedback on design, curricula, audience

  2. How this can support feminist movements

  3. Who else is working on this 

In terms of next steps, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance are seeking a suitable date for the event, with the support of the Gender Justice Initiative. 

A Convening Fund?

Persons of Contact:

Jonathan R. Njus

Building up on both funders' and movements' interest, this conversation explored the idea of creating a convening fund, which could potentially support "global encounters" between funders and movements, and facilitate deep dive strategy conversations. 

Inspired by the example of Thousand Currents’ CLIMA Fund, the Radical Hope Fund (NoVo Foundation), AJWS convening and learning exchange fund; and Mama Cash’s Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGA) Fund, the fund would aim to support spaces that are already open and flourishing, and leveraging upcoming events. It will consist in a sort of "gift" to the organizers, bounded and guided by a few broader themes (e.g. support for an active civil society).

Participants are currently presenting the idea in their foundations, and a follow up call in mid-June will assess whether or not there is energy around starting a fund, and which foundations might be interested in joining.  

Feminist Infrastructure, Communication Tech 

Person of Contact:

Ledys Sanjuan

The tech Open Space mainly focused on showcasing examples of feminist movement centred technology and explored some of the possibilities that funders could resource. In this sense, we first began by talking a little bit on how the internet works and where the information flows exist unveling a colonial structure of tech production and ownership. In other words, the tech is developed and owned in the Global North and the global south are consumers. We then discussed some of examples of feminist collectives as well as non feminist but alternative tech focused projects. 

As an example of alternative tech we brought FUXICO a free local network where information could be shared within a small community. FUXICO is a local network project developed by several different cyberfeminist collectives in Latin America and Spain,  Kefir.org (Mexico), Periféricas (Spain) and Vedettas (Brasil). Still in its beta-version, what FUXICO teaches us is that with this technology, there is a possibility to connect folks in remote areas without internet access where they can share files, pictures, etc and even chat and that information is stored safely. 

Even though this is just the beginning of a conversation, we believe more can be done to weave in tech into the different discussions taking place at EDGE. For example, how we can embed the question of feminist technology within the Gender Justice Initiative or within how we fight against the rise of fundamentalism in the media. Likewise, we identified the need to bring more tech funders like the Mozilla Foundation and the Open Tech Fund to the EDGE Funders Alliance network to rope them into these conversations regarding systemic change. 

We really appreciate everyone who took the time to participate and learn about the importance of tech for social movements in the current global political climate. 
 

Digital Security of Movement Partners 

Person of Contact:

Martin Modlinger 

Renewable Freedom Foundation took a special interest in the (digital) security of the movement partners, and together with the movement partner present at the Symposium (Chaos Computer Club), took first steps to evaluate the knowledge and digital security in place on the movement level. 

We feel the need to find drastic terms for what we observed: the state of knowledge about and practice of digital security on the movement level is highly alarming and much worse than we anticipated. While we have seen inadequate protection measures before in other contexts, and seen next to no improvement in those areas for the past several years, the lack even of basic practices of security (such as secure surfing, encrypted communication) in civil society movements that are at the forefront of action and change, is as astounding as it is unacceptable.

If we, as funders and supporters of movements towards systemic change, cannot take measures to protect these activists in the digital realm, we fail them. The movements we work with are constantly in danger, and they mostly do not have the resources to implement (digital) security measures themselves. At any point, state or corporate actors could surveil the movements’ activities, if they are not doing so already, and use the knowledge gained to stop them, imprison them, or worse.


We urgently need to make sure our partners stand a chance against digital threats - because digital threats tend to turn into real-world threats quickly. We also need to make sure we look beyond just „our" partners. If we only keep „our“ grantees safe, but ignore the rest of the movement ecosystem, we still fail those activists.


We need to set up functioning long-term digital security for the people on the ground, or we will be responsible for the consequences. If you want to work on this with us, contact Martin Modlinger at modlinger@renewablefreedom.org.
 

Colonial Legacies 

Persons of Contact:

Karina Claudio Beacourt 

At this Open Space, participants shared inspiring examples of how to challenge colonial legacies, including Rap feminists and convening. The conversation was mostly focused on the Caribbean, including topics related to the destruction of wealth, attack of black bodies, issues of racism etc. Furthermore, the discussion explored how the colonial structures still influence the funding (i.e more funds go to English speaking islands rather than Spanish speaking). Movements can lead on where they want to draw more funding.

 

Next steps include sharing information on convening, meetings, reports, and commitment to put the Caribbean on the map for funders.

Participatory Grantmaking 

Persons of Contact:

Jovana Djordjevic, Rose Longhurst, and Colleen Jankovic 

This open space, convened by participatory grantmakers FRIDA Young Feminist Fund and Rawa Fund, bought together a big group of people to discuss different models and uses of participatory grantmaking. Several models were shared from different types of funders, and questions were answered from those new to this approach. 

 

Bigger funders talked about why and how they can support participatory grantmakers, and small, local participatory grantmakers talked about their approaches to issues including accountability, conflict of interest and democratic decision-making. Challenges were raised, opportunities for collaboration were identified, and resources were collected. The next steps are to gather this information - such as signposting to websites that showcase different models, or online discussion forums on this approach - and share through EDGE

Building synergies between EDGE/systemic alternatives and the WSF of transformative economies (Barcelona 2020)

Persons of Contact:

Jason Nardi and Marta Music 

The WSFTE (World Social Forum of Transformative Economies – which will take place in Barcelona in May 2020) was presented during two self-organised discussions, one specifically on  building synergies between EDGE and WSFTE, and the other one on “the next steps after Rio”.

 

This was a good opportunity to explain the process leading to the Forum – the actors involved, the methodology, the link with system change / just transition and systemic alternatives – and to present the outcomes of the first international preparatory reunion. The discussion that followed explored possible ways for funders to collaborate with the Forum process. 
 

Some proposals included:

  1. Participation of EDGE in the WSFTE in a space dedicated to the role of progressive philanthropy in supporting systemic change through transformative economies; 

  2. supporting the funding of movements to participate in the WSFTE or the infrastructure of the WSFTE; 

  3. organising the next EDGE conference, back to back with the WSFTE to allow members to participate in both events. 

U.S. Policies Undermining the Human Rights and Autonomy of Activists

Persons of Contact:

Jennifer Redner and Amanda Donnell 

During the recent EDGE funders meeting, Amanda Donnell (Open Society Foundations) and Jennifer Redner (American Jewish World Service) hosted a dine around to share information about the latest expansion of the Global Gag Rule and discuss how this is a manifestation of rising extremism, fundamentalism and anti-rights agendas that are growing around the world, including in the countries where you live and work. As a follow-up to that discussion, they wanted to share some additional resources with you in case of interest/useful in your work:   

 

American Jewish World Service, Funders Concerned About AIDS, Funders for Reproductive Equity, Global Fund for Women, and Open Society Foundations co-hosted a funder briefing webinar on April 17th where presenters and attendees discussed an important update to the U.S. administration’s second expansion of the Global Gag Rule (GGR), which the co-hosting organizations believe has profoundly harmful implications for private, bilateral and multilateral funders, and the movements and communities we support.  You can access a recording of the webinar and related resources via this link.

 

In addition, here's the breakout of resources and opportunities to learn more: 

  • To indicate interest in a funder convening related to the Global Gag Rule as a manifestation of rising extremism, fundamentalism and anti-rights agendas or to ask the conveners of the webinar listed above a question, click here

  • Please find a recording of the What Funders Should Know April 17 webinar here.

  • An overview of the policy change and some actions we discussed on the call is available here.

  • Find the PAI infographic that explains the latest expansion here.

  • Please find additional resources provided by the speakers here.

  • For more information about the pro bono legal network, please click here.