FundAction is a new participatory fund making grants for social transformation, organized around a community of activists based in Europe to support social movements working towards a transition to a just and equitable world.
Our goals are to shift power to make decisions about funding from foundations to those closer to the issue, strengthen collaboration and mutual support among European activists and build the capacity of activists and the social movements they work with.
Three kind of grants are being proposed: Renew, Rethink, Resist.
Support for new initiatives and ideas that promote systemic change. Open to: Members / Funding up to: 20.000 €
Creating a European network and community through funds for collaboration, exchange and capacity building. Open to: Members / Funding up to: 5.000 €
Rapid funding to respond to urgent actions. Open to: Everyone / Will be launched in 2018
FundAction is built in a democratic and participatory way. A group of donors and activists came together in 2016 to form the idea for FundAction. In a series of meetings, they outlined the intention and values. Since May 2017, a smaller Facilitation Group has been putting this idea into action.
FundAction is based on core values that underpin everything: Democracy, Inclusivity, Openness, Peer-to-Peer working, Transparency, Trust, Respect and Autonomy.
The Assembly is our collective community. We meet digitally and in-person. The online platform allows group decision-making and discussions, and proposal submission and review. This is where FundAction funds action!
FundAction’s members are European activists. We define ‘activist’ and ‘Europe’ loosely. What is important is commitment to our values, and the ability to contribute experience. FundAction accepts emerging and experienced activists; professionals and volunteers; and those involved in social movements or NGOs. Click here to find out who can be a FundAction activist.
The group manages the daily FundAction’s load of work, and consists of eight members. They bring different perspectives to the project, being from across Europe; from a range of organisations including a foundation representative; and from a wide variety of backgrounds and expertises, including open tech and feminist organising.
P2P Review Panels
In order to do a deeper review and oversight of larger grants, FundAction will establish temporary Peer to Peer Review panels. These small groups will be drawn from the wider Assembly, with the intention of building understanding and solidarity across Europe and across themes.
Where we gather a large part of the Assembly in-person. This meeting allows members to get together, build relationships and connections, and define the strategy of FundAction for the coming period. FundAction is constantly reviewing and renewing itself, and relies on its members to contribute and create this process.
Normally philanthropic money sits in an institution where staff and board members decide where to spend it. Participatory grantmaking seeks to involve those directly affected by the issues – the people that the money intends to help – in decision-making about where that money goes.
It can be a more effective way of reaching people and addressing issues of power. Many funders have experimented with participatory funding, and some funders solely use this method.
As part of designing FundAction, we’ve looked to progressive participatory funders for guidance, such as the Red Umbrella Fund, FRIDA Young Feminist Fund, and the Edge Fund.
Each of them leave decision-making about where funding is spent to those closest to the issues – the communities that they intend to serve.
FundAction was born out of conversations between activists and funders at several occasions. At the EDGE Funders Alliance European Retreat in 2016, four foundations (Open Society Initiative for Europe, European Cultural Foundation, Charles Leopold Mayer Foundation and Guerrilla Foundation) decided to pool funding.
They convened over 30 activists from their networks at a gathering in Seville at the end of 2016. As a result, the establishment of a participatory platform for progressive activism in Europe was proposed.
The first Facilitation Group was established in May 2017, mandated by the larger group of funders and activists. The group currently consists of seven activists with diverse backgrounds and two funder representatives. The funder representatives do not make decisions about funding, but have a supportive role in the development of the funding platform.
Decision-making is a learning tool for FundAction members. By reviewing, discussing and applying for grants, the Assembly members learn from each other, expand their networks and improve their own skills. The Assembly takes daily decisions at FundAction platform.
We would love to hear from you! If you are active in European civil society, if you’re a foundation that wants to innovate your grantmaking, or if you’re just curious: get in touch with us!