Developing a pilot movement fund

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DEVELOPING A PILOT MOVEMENT FUND Reflections from Debs Grayson and Mumbi Nkonde

HOW WE DESIGNED A PILOT FUND TO SUPPORT GRASSROOTS MOVEMENTS As a funder, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) has recognised that grassroots movements are an important and largely missing element within our funding of social change. We contracted consultants Debs Grayson and Mumbi Nkonde, who brought in Guppi Bola, to develop a support fund for movements. This report is in their words: it summarises their work and experiences and sets out their recommendations for establishing a pilot fund to support grassroots movements. We are sharing this report with movement actors and others as we want to be open about our work and to share our learning. We are extremely grateful for the work of the consultants as well as all those individuals and groups that have participated. We’re committed to taking this work forward; it will result in the setting up of a grassroots movements fund and will influence the thinking and practices of the Trust in the future.

CONTENTS 1 Introduction.......................................................................................... 2 2 Context – why a pilot fund for grassroots movements? Why now?..................................................................... 3

3 Process – what do we do?................................................................. 5 4 Grassroots movements and JRCT – key differences that needed to be addressed in the design of the fund............... 8 4.1 Different perceptions of money, size and power................................. 9 4.2 Transformative versus structural change............................................ 13 4.3 Intersectional versus programmatic funding..................................... 15 4.4 Charitability and risk................................................................................ 17

5 Recommendations........................................................................... 19 5.1 Principles.................................................................................................... 19 5.2 Decision-making.......................................................................................20 5.3 Priorities for the fund............................................................................... 21 5.4 Operations and charitability................................................................... 22 5.5 Budget......................................................................................................... 23

6 Consultant reflections on working with JRCT............................. 25 Appendix 1 Glossary.........................................................................29 Appendix 2 Who was involved........................................................ 31

INTRODUCTION The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT) has been exploring how to fund more grassroots movements since 2018, as described in this reflections document. The Trust decided it would create a pilot fund to test out some new ways of doing this, and we (Debs Grayson and Mumbi Nkonde) were employed in 2020 to “to test and evaluate an approach to support the work of movements in the UK” and ultimately design a pilot movement fund. We invited Guppi Bola to work with us, building our capacity and knowledge of working in the space between funders and social movements. Our vision was for a collective process, bringing JRCT staff and trustees together with people rooted in grassroots movements, to co-create key elements of the fund. This became pretty challenging as the scale of the global pandemic unfolded. How we adapted to an entirely online process is described in section 3. Following a ten-month process, the consultation was completed in November 2020 and our final report was presented to JRCT’s trustees. The trustees agreed to our recommendations on principles and decision-making, and to allocate about £1 million to the pilot fund – leaving the recommendations on priorities, operations and charitability to be worked out in detail once staff were in place. After some delay, in September 2021 JRCT recruited Mumbi Nkonde to take the fund forward as Grassroots Movements Programme Manager. This document outlines what we did, what we learnt and our key recommendations. We imagine that this document will be of interest to those involved in grassroots movements who might want to apply to the fund, funders considering similar processes, and Quakers thinking about how Quaker resources could be better used to achieve social justice.


CONTEXT JRCT’s exploration of how to support grassroots movements has come at the time of political turmoil in the UK and globally. A decade of austerity, compounded by Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, has led to increased social suffering and political polarisation, and the coming years are likely to be just as tumultuous as we experience widespread ecological collapse and the possible breakup of the UK. Meanwhile the Conservative-led governments in Westminster have become less and less responsive to pressures for policy change coming from civil society, especially since Boris Johnson won a large majority in 2019. As our political institutions show that they are incapable of meeting the challenges ahead, there has been growing recognition that the tools and tactics of grassroots movements are essential for leading the changes that are necessary. Grassroots movements are the parts of social movements which operate outside of dominant institutional structures and norms, working in less hierarchical and more decentralised ways. By centring those who are directly affected by the issues they are organising on, and practising decentralised and distributed decision-making, they can be particularly responsive to emerging problems. During the pandemic, it has been precisely these kinds of groups that have been able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances, creating mutual aid networks and hardship funds, spreading vital information, and organising mass demonstrations. However, these movements are themselves under huge pressure, as they struggle to meet increasing needs with fewer resources, and experience increasing repression from the state.


Funding from philanthropic trusts could play an important role in helping to sustain grassroots movements. JRCT does already fund some of these kinds of groups but recognises that they are a minority of their grantees, and the Trust’s interest in expanding their reach mirrors similar explorations by other UK based grant givers such as Lankelly Chase, Peabody and the Blagrave Trust. Like other funders, JRCT has developed new and more flexible processes during the pandemic, and has become interested in learning from new funds such as Resourcing Racial Justice. JRCT is also at a significant moment in its history, and has been going through a number of internal changes. This has included a change of Chief Executive, recruitment of new staff, power and privilege work with trustees, and the decision to increase spending over the next decade. In the months following our consultation, JRCT also committed to a reparative justice process, following the acknowledgement by the various Rowntree foundations – recognised by JRCT’s trustees as long overdue – of the connections between their endowments and slavery, colonialism and Apartheid. This echoes work within Quaker communities more widely to re-evaluate Quaker histories and address racial injustice.


THE PROCESS The consultation built on JRCT’s earlier explorations in 2018-19 which made the case for why funding grassroots movements was important. Our process focused on how the Trust could achieve this, modelled on the processes used to set up the participatory grant makers Edge Fund and Fund Action. Our methods were rooted in participatory community organising practices, where we tried to understand people’s needs and solutions to the problems they faced, whilst building relationships and a shared vision for the fund. The consultation ran from March to November 2020. It began with us learning about JRCT, through a series of workshops with the pilot movement fund steering group (made up of staff and trustees) and through interviews with some of JRCT’s current grantees who were considered to be part of grassroots movements. We also interviewed 18 movement actors and spoke to a range of funders. When we were first imagining the process in early 2020, we hoped that after the learning phase we could have two away days with the steering group and movement actors to work through the finer details of the fund, whilst building trust and legitimacy. As the pandemic made in-person time impossible, we had to adapt the process and replace these away days with a series of online working groups. While there was probably less of a sense of connection than if we had been able to run the away days, we were able to include more people in the process by going online. Our reflections on the process, including feedback we received from participants, are in section 6.1.


LEARNING ABOUT JRCT 1-2-1’s and group meetings with the pilot fund steering group


Interviews with grants officers, 9 current grantees and 1 unsuccessful applicant

18 interviews with people rooted in grassroots movements.

Regular meetings with Michael Pitchford, Programme Manager.

LEARNING FROM FUNDERS Edge Fund, Fund Action, Lankelly Chase, Mama Cash, Resourcing Racial Justice, Black Liberation Movement UK.


WORKING GROUPS 5 working group sessions (on decision-making, principles, priorities, charitability and operations) with JRCT steering group and 20 movement actors.

Relationships built with people who will use and direct the pilot fund.

Short report (this one!) shared with philanthropy sector and movement communities.

Final report presented to JRCT trustees.



GRASSROOTS MOVEMENTS & JRCT While there is an urgent need to find ways to sustainably resource grassroots movements, their relationships with philanthropic trusts and foundations can often be fraught. Many of the movement actors we spoke to described negative experiences of working with funders, including concerns about inappropriate reporting practices and inaccessible application processes (“after we did the application for them we felt like we deserved a PhD”). They also described some specific negative dynamics when funders stepped into grassroots movement spaces such as:

• Being tokenised and courted by funders who then didn’t

accept that their work was legitimate in its own terms: “the experiences were so bad – extractive, time wasting, racist, how many excuses, they courted us and said our work wasn’t right”

• Funders not recognising the significance of transitioning from being entirely voluntary to having paid staff (“it was a huge shift emotionally and politically”), or the risks that might accompany formalisation

• ‘Movement washing’ – funding going to organisations

presenting themselves as ‘grassroots’, even though they functioned as professionalised NGOs without accountability mechanisms

• New sources of money creating a competitive environment between groups working on similar issues.

These broader findings echoed those raised elsewhere (e.g. this report from Grantcraft), as well as our own experiences, and were the bedrock of our approach to the pilot fund. Alongside these more general concerns, we identified four areas that needed to be taken into account when designing a fund to sit within the specific context of JRCT. These were different perceptions of money, size and power; different understandings of transformative and structural change; tensions between intersectional and programmatic funding; and different approaches to risk, especially concerning charitability.


4.1 Different perceptions of money, size and power One disconnect we found was in how participants thought about money and power. In our conversations with the Trust, we often heard its resources described as “a drop in the ocean” in comparison to other funders. However, for grassroots movements, JRCT’s £290+ million endowment was on a completely different scale to anything they could ever access. Similarly, there were differing ideas of what constituted a large or small grant. The average grant at JRCT is currently £98,000 over three years, and a “small” grant is anything under £20,000 – yet for many of the groups we spoke to, £10,000 would be a very significant amount. One consequence of this disconnect was that JRCT staff and trustees sometimes did not seem to recognise the institution’s own power, or how this affected their relationships with grantees. JRCT aspires to be a supportive funder, and the current grantees we spoke to were mostly positive about this relationship. However, through our other contacts and relationships we knew of some less positive interactions – for example, JRCT having taken a very cautious approach with a grantee around ‘political’ language, and in another case encouraging a group to register as a charity when this was detrimental to their work. When we presented some of these examples at a steering group meeting they were met with surprise. This was in the context of a wider discussion about relationships between funders and movements, in which there was general acceptance that funders are often structurally oblivious to their impacts on


grantees. This indicated that there is still some internal work to be done within JRCT to understand how theoretical knowledge of these dynamics actually plays out in practice within the institution. These insights underpinned our recommendations around decision-making and grant size. For decision-making, we recommended that decisions needed to be made by people embedded within movements, rather than replicating the existing structure of grant-making committees, made up of JRCT staff, trustees and co-optees (external experts who guide decision-making). This would mean that there was a less stark power difference between those making the decisions and those receiving the money, making it far more likely that they would receive accurate feedback and could be held accountable. In terms of grant size, we heard differing things from movement actors about what scale of grants the fund should offer, and also noted that there was anxiety within JRCT about offering smaller amounts of money when they didn’t have the processes in place to administer them. We recommended that the fund should offer what we called “medium-sized grants” of £20-50,000, alongside a soft infrastructure budget providing smaller amounts. While in the context of the institution these might not be seen as large sums, it is important that JRCT recognises that they will be significant amounts for the recipients that may well change how the organisations work as well as “how much” they can do.


WHETHER JRCT IS A BIG FISH OR SMALL FISH... Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) Wellcome

Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT)


Open Society Foundations (OSF)

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)

Central Government


Fund Action


Resourcing Racial Justice (RRJ)

Edge Fund

Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (JRCT)

Small NGOs

Grassroots Organizations


4.2 Transformative versus structural change As noted in the 2018 summary report of the Trust’s previous explorations in this area, JRCT is “known for supporting work aimed at influencing policy and legislation, believing it to be the most effective route to effect structural change. The Trust has supported community-based approaches to a more limited extent in programme areas, past and present”. From our conversations with the steering group, we came to understand that this focus on “structural change” had in the past meant focusing on policy areas such as equalities legislation and the Human Rights Act. They contrasted this with many other funders who focused on supporting service provision, which whilst important, they saw as dealing with the symptoms rather than tackling the “root causes” of social problems. In our conversations with movement actors, we often heard them talk about transformative or systemic change – fundamental societal shifts such as abolishing capitalism and prisons. They contrasted these transformative visions with liberal and reformist approaches, which they saw as managing problems and reinforcing root causes rather than properly addressing them. Having a transformative vision didn’t mean working abstractly, and their dayto-day activities were often spent meeting immediate needs e.g. running refuges or social centres. However, these activities were seen as steps towards a broader vision of building solidarity and collective power, and ultimately overthrowing all systems of domination. When we tried to bring these two perspectives on change together, we found there was some confusion. On the one hand, many of the initiatives that JRCT viewed as “structural change” were seen as liberal and reformist by those from grassroots movements. This distinction was often being lost because terms like “systemic change” and “root causes” were being used by both parties to mean different things. We realised we needed to spell out


much more explicitly what grassroots movements meant by a “transformative vision”. For them, a goal such as ending racism couldn’t be achieved just by passing laws, but needed fundamental changes in the global system of borders, access to land and an end to extractive capitalism. On the other hand, some from JRCT expressed uncertainty about why some of the groups we had brought into the consultation had been identified as part of grassroots movements, when they saw them as service providers. We realised that there were certain distinctions which seemed obvious to us but needed to be made clearer. While we recognised the limitations of the dominant charity model of service provision, we considered meeting material needs to be an important part of grassroots movements so long as they were organised on the basis of solidarity rather than charity, and that there were strong accountability measures to avoid entrenching power differences between donors and recipients of services. These insights informed our recommendations for the priorities of the fund outlined in 5.1.


4.3 Intersectional versus programmatic funding JRCT currently funds according to five programme areas – a structure that was created for supporting organisations at the more formalised end of civil society and social movements. For the movement actors we spoke to, funding in this way had often acted as barriers to accessing resources: “funders are rigid, when they see a migrant they don’t see that they are also LGBT and may have disabilities”; “sex workers are already very active against immigration controls, but not recognised as migrant rights activists, we are also very involved in antipoverty, but aren’t recognised as being so”. Our conversations contained many cautionary tales about how framing funds around specific issues and activities can embed funder directed priorities and impede the effectiveness of work on the ground. Within JRCT, concerns were expressed about the pilot fund working differently to the rest of the organisation, or criteria not being clear for applicants if it was not programmatic. However, we felt that it would be more appropriate to follow the model used by other movement funders such as Edge Fund and Fund Action, which is to focus on how organisations operate rather than what


they work on. This is not unusual within the sector, with organisations such as The Tudor Trust and the Fund for Global Human Rights also not funding programmatically. A key insight here was that it was precisely when grassroots movements were doing effective intersectional organising that they could find themselves excluded from traditional funding structures. We recommended that an intersectional framing and practice should be a priority for the fund – meaning that it should support groups which have an analysis of how different struggles are connected, as well as ways of working that centre marginalised voices and experiences. While some within JRCT were unsure how the fund would be able to tell if an organisation fit these criteria or not, we assured them that this would be something that was widely understood among the movement actors who would be making the decisions. We took on board concerns that the language might be alienating to new applicants and included in our operational recommendations that one of the staff roles should be an organiser who proactively engages with applicants to explain the criteria, similarly to Edge Fund.


4.4 Charitability and risk Through our conversations with JRCT trustees and staff we came to understand its particular position in relation to charitability and risk. JRCT has faced additional scrutiny from the Charity Commission over the last decade, including a high-profile dispute over its funding of Cage. A number of its grantees have also faced hostile press coverage, including one group which was targeted because of its relationship with JRCT. We learnt that the trustees saw risk as a necessary part of engaging in philanthropy which effects real change and did not want to shy away from funding non-charities and those working on contentious issues, and had changed and enhanced its risk management processes in order to continue doing so. Questions about charitability and risk were also concerns for those coming from grassroots movements, but coming from a different perspective. Some had experienced this as a site of control in their relationships with funders, including one case in which money had to be returned after it had been granted because of charitability concerns. More commonly, since most were not registered charities they had often found that they could only access project funding rather than core funding, which was more complicated to administer. But their highest priorities were mitigating the risks that their work might be ineffective and that movements might not achieve their sociopolitical aims, rather than being mostly concerned with the risks around topdown intervention from the state or funders.


For the pilot fund, we recognised that charitability would be a major concern especially as we were suggesting a movement centred decision-making process (although trustees will necessarily retain a veto over grants – see section 5.2). That said, when we asked movement actors what kind of activities they would like the fund to support almost everything was straightforwardly charitable e.g. funding for education projects or physical spaces. The most likely risk, therefore, is that grantees are delivering charitable activities as noncharities, meaning grants have to be structured as project funding, are more difficult to administer and make the fund inaccessible. Our recommendations on operations and charitability took these factors into account. At the same time, we think it’s important that the fund recognises that there are fundamental tensions between the scale of the change that is necessary and the framework of charitability, and that many of the most important and effective movement activities can never be resourced by charitable trusts. We heard calls from movement actors to think much bigger – to look at how the assets held by JRCT could be repurposed as “bold finance” supporting movements in different ways. Interviewees spoke of mortgagestyle investment to purchase buildings and land, creating opportunities for “long-term stewardship over 100 years, so that communities know they can exist in a space for the long term”. It is worth noting that exploring options for support other than grant giving would also have benefits in terms of navigating charitability, which may become even more narrowly defined over the coming years.


RECOMMENDATIONS In the original tender, we were asked to identify a number of options for the fund, and to provide criteria for appraising and choosing between them. However, from our conversations with movement actors it became clear that there were a number of foundational elements that were necessary for the fund to effectively support grassroots movements. Our final report, therefore, had a series of recommendations rather than options, some of which were presented as essential and some as desirable.

5.1 Principles We recommended the following principles for the fund. It should:

• Support transformative change – funding groups that are

doing long-term work to challenge systems of oppression

• Use collective and movement-centred decision-making – sharing and circulating power

• Have an intersectional framing – seeking to connect struggles, and acknowledging and addressing differences of power among those involved in the fund

• Be accountable – being closely connected to and answerable to grassroots groups, through formal mechanisms and informal relationships

• Be accessible – embedding the learnings from disability justice groups and those working on digital inclusion in the fund’s operations

• Be transparent – clearly communicating processes and decisions

• Be regenerative rather than extractive – leaving movements

with greater capacity and resources rather than depleting them

• Be a space for learning – testing out new ideas, sharing learning and acknowledging mistakes.

This was an essential recommendation, and was accepted by JRCT trustees.


5.2 Decision-making We recommended that decisions about grants should be “movement centred” – made by those with experience of being affected by, and organising against, systems of oppression, and with long-standing practical knowledge of movement dynamics. This meant that the current system of decision-making within JRCT – a committee in which JRCT trustees and staff play a central role – would not be appropriate. This was an essential recommendation, and was accepted by JRCT trustees. We also proposed that at the outset of the pilot the decision-makers should be drawn from collectives who have been involved in the consultation so far (with grantees participating in future rounds), and suggested the following decision-making process, drawing on our extensive knowledge and involvement with other funders. This was a desirable recommendation, and a decision was deferred until staff for the pilot fund are in place.


Staff will assess applications for eligibility to produce a long list.


A wider pool of around 30 will take applications which have been long listed by the grants officers and score them to produce a shortlist. This allows for more knowledge, learning and shared responsibility around decision-making. There could also be a way of making comments if people have more specialised knowledge in a particular area.


A core group of around eight decision-makers, drawn from the wider pool, will make decisions from the shortlist by consensus. This recognises the value of consensus for having in-depth discussions, while recognising that this needs to be done by a small group and on a smaller number of applications. We recommend that half the core group changes over with each funding round, and that no one is part of the core group for more than two rounds.


Grant-making decisions go to the trustee board for approval. As with the current JRCT model, the expectation would be that the vast majority of applications reaching this stage would be approved.


5.3 Priorities We recommended that the fund should prioritise making grants to organisations with particular structures, principles and processes, rather than funding programmatically by specific issues. We suggested that the fund should support organisations which:

• Have core principles and values which recognise the

intersectional character of oppressive systems and have clear ways they try to live these out. This means: being in an active practice of connecting different struggles, and having practices for dealing with power differences within their groups

• Have a vision for transformative change and a strategy for building towards this through their day-to-day activities

• Are closely connected to a grassroots base and have systems for being accountable to them

• Work collaboratively, understand how they fit into a movement ecology and actively support less formalised groups and organisation.

This was an essential recommendation, but a decision was deferred until staff are in place.


5.4 Operations and charitability We made a range of recommendations on operations and charitability, the most important of which were that:

• Grants officers running the fund should proactively engage

with potential applicants, doing outreach in different regions of the UK and helping support groups once they have registered on the JRCT system. Any concerns around charitability should be identified and addressed at this stage

• A charitability and due diligence working group should be set

up and create detailed guidelines that can be used by the pilot fund staff and decision-makers

• Detailed budgeting should happen after a grant has been

agreed in principle, to help groups navigate any complications around project funding. For multi-year grants, this support should be ongoing and presented as standard practice

• Reporting should be light touch, fit with the fund’s principles, and support groups to maintain accountability to their grassroots base rather than to the funder.

Decisions on these recommendations (some of which were essential and some desirable) were deferred until staff are in place.


5.5 Budget We recommended that the fund should offer grants of £20-50,000 (making the average grant £35,000) and that the fund should run three rounds in its pilot phase. We presented a range of options for the total pilot fund size to the trustees, and got provisional agreement on a budget of about £1 million. Our recommended breakdown of this was: Average grant £35k x 8 collectives (grants) per round = £280k per round Plus a soft infrastructure budget (see below) of £60,000 per round Total 3 rounds: £1.02m Although trustees agreed a budget of about £1 million to cover grants and soft infrastructure, the finer breakdown of this budget has yet to be agreed. The idea behind the soft infrastructure budget was to find a way to meet lower scale needs while recognising that JRCT is not set up to administer small-scale grants. We proposed that smaller amounts of money (e.g. up to £2,000) could be made available to grassroots collectives for straightforwardly charitable services such as facilitation, training, accountancy or legal support. The services could then be paid for directly by JRCT rather than granting money to the recipient, minimising administration. Collectives would be encouraged to find a provider that fits with the priorities of the fund i.e. one with an intersectional framing, a transformative vision, a collaborative approach and which is accountable to a grassroots base. (If


a provider like this didn’t exist, they could be selected according to some baseline ethical principles instead.) This would help keep money circulating within movements and help identify areas where there is a lack of infrastructure with these kinds of values (e.g. accountancy firms), potentially leading to organisations being set up to meet those needs. We recommended that at the outset this should be offered to the ≈ 30 collectives involved in decisionmaking, before opening up more widely if the concept works. In addition to the grant-making budget, we recommended that the pilot fund would need:

• Enough staff time and operational capacity to run the fund –

two part time staff members (an organiser and grants officer), plus administrative support and consultants to do targeted outreach

• A participation budget to pay those involved in decision-making

• An evaluation budget to evaluate the fund between each round and at the end of the pilot (provisionally £30,000).

These additional budgets were not discussed by trustees, but they are in line with JRCT’s standard practices.


CONSULTANT REFLECTIONS ON WORKING WITH JRCT Working with JRCT on this consultation was something we learnt a lot from, including from the more challenging moments. While the institutional culture at JRCT, based on norms that were arguably academic, middle-class and white, wasn’t unfamiliar or unexpected, we all still felt to some degree like ‘outsiders’. The moments when this became most apparent fed into the design of the pilot fund, since they mirrored how grassroots movements grantees are likely to experience the Trust. A couple of times we experienced tensions in conversations around money. One of these moments was when we had to revise the budget for our own time midway through the process as we had underestimated the number of days. This was partly because of our inexperience at running this kind of project, but also because the work had expanded as JRCT became clearer about what they wanted, and because of unforeseen work associated with the pandemic. While this was ultimately resolved positively, the conversations to get there were awkward and at points came close to breaking trust – we felt this should have been treated more as a shared problem, given that it was not possible to accurately budget at the outset. This echoed many of the experiences we heard from movement actors about their own interactions with funders around money and budgeting. We also found coming up with the budget for the pilot fund itself (outlined in 5.5) really challenging. For those rooted in philanthropy who are used to allocating hundreds of thousands of pounds to grantees this might have been more straightforward, but we questioned our own legitimacy to decide how much money should be available for movement work. Both these experiences in some ways reflected the issues raised in section 4.1 – that we and those within JRCT had different perceptions of money and power, and that the Trust wasn’t always prepared for how this affected relationships, including with consultants. We tried to embed the lessons from those encounters in our proposals: specifically, our suggestion for addressing this dynamic through post-grant budgeting and revising grantee budgets as projects evolve as standard practice.


Throughout the consultation, we were definitely concerned about being seen as “movement representatives”, and replicating nepotistic structures where the people involved in the consultation were those we already had relationships with. We did reach outside of our networks for the movement actor interviews, and we did bring in a reasonably good mix of types of organisations, issues and geographical locations. Inevitably there were still gaps in who was involved (for example, there was underrepresentation of people working on prison abolition and international solidarity work) which came about through not having direct contact to the right person, timelines being too tight, and collectives not having the capacity to engage due to the challenges of the pandemic. Our accountability to participants and wider movements was always at the forefront of our minds. Feedback from participants following the working groups were generally positive about having been invited and how we had communicated with them. Some said they would have liked to see a list of participants and biographies sent out for the workshops to understand who they were speaking to, especially those from JRCT. One person reflected that they had “quite a ‘vulnerability hangover’ after the session for bringing in body/feelings experience to the conversation” and asked whether working with funders could be done in a way that was less “heady”. Another person wrote that “there were moments where it felt more like a space for the JRCT people to learn things they didn’t know – which is probably good – but also felt a little bit extractive”. Whether they would ultimately feel that their involvement had been worthwhile would depend on how the fund develops and “what this consultation process leads to and makes possible”.


Given this feedback, it was disappointing that this work was delayed and there were no staff appointed until September 2021. On reflection, we think that given the scale of what needed to be done, this piece of work might have been more appropriate as a part-time contract rather than a consultancy. This would have changed the dynamic when we were trying to negotiate payment, and would also have meant that our contracts could have been extended beyond the November trustee meeting. We could then have continued to do the groundwork necessary to get a staff member in place, rather than JRCT parking the process for many months due to a lack of capacity. We understand that there are many reasons for this lack of capacity, including the very important work that JRCT has embarked on following the public statement about the origins of the endowment. We understand that these conversations were happening internally while the consultation was ongoing, but they were outside the remit of our work and were not raised with us at the time. We acknowledge our own role in maintaining the century of silence by not asking questions ourselves about the roots of the JRCT endowment. This may have given the impression that we were surprised by the statement, when in fact we considered it an open secret within philanthropy that large concentrations of wealth in the UK will almost certainly have links to colonial extraction of resources and worker exploitation. Our inability to name this while, for example, running sessions with JRCT on the concept of ‘regenerative philanthropy’, was a symptom of the silencing that is routinely part of the power relationship between funders and those receiving money from them. We therefore think it is vitally important that this silence has been broken, and that the pilot fund can be launched in a context where more honest conversations and relationships will be able to exist between JRCT and grantees. To some extent, we do feel that this consultation process did some foundational work that will support JRCT through its restorative/reparative justice process – for example by pushing for a greater understanding of the organisation’s power, questioning how much decision-making power sits with the board, and what more participatory methods could offer in terms of building trust and modelling new kinds of accountability.



APPENDIX 1: GLOSSARY Intersectionality: a theory that stresses the overlapping forms of discrimination and (dis) advantage that groups and individuals face as a result of aspects of their identities and experiences or socio-political position. The term originated in legal studies in the 1980s, but the approach has underpinned black feminist thought for much longer. (See: Kimberley Crenshaw on The Urgency of Intersectionality.) Intersectional framing: an organisation or collective with an intersectional framing tries to address the complexity of overlapping systems of oppression in how they organise. This means linking together different struggles in their analysis of the problems they are trying to address, and looking at power differences within their collectives. (See: the Sisters Uncut toolkit which states: “ Intersectionality is not just about recognising that all oppressions and exploitation are connected. It’s also about organising in a way that means our feminism is relevant to all disadvantaged women. This includes, but is not limited to, challenging all oppression that manifests itself in our meetings and actions. Organising actions that explicitly connect to the issues working class women, women of colour, trans women, queer women and disabled women face. Researching and discussing the issues working class women, women of colour, trans women, queer women and disabled women face on our social media and in our press releases. And finally making space for these women to lead on organising around their multifaceted oppressions.”)


Transformative vision/transformative change: A common theme among the groups we spoke to was how their immediate goals sat within a broader ambition for a total transformation of society and a vision of a world in which we have achieved collective liberation and an end to systems of discrimination and domination. This analysis sees these systems of domination as intrinsic to the way that economies and states are structured. Achieving collective liberation therefore requires that these institutions are fundamentally altered through a process of transformative change. Liberal reform: a model of change which tries to address the negative effects produced by our current economic and state structures, while accepting the basic principles and legitimacy of liberal democracy and capitalism. Social movements: informal networks made up of a number of individuals, groups or organisations, linked together by shared beliefs and solidarity, who take collective action focusing on political or cultural conflicts. They involve more established institutional players, such as large charities, trade unions and sometimes political parties, alongside more informal, grassroots and community groups. (See: Della Porta and Diani (1999) Social Movements: an introduction.) Grassroots movements: the parts of social movements which operate outside of dominant institutional structures and norms i.e. groups which try to work in less hierarchical and more decentralised ways. This may mean being small, loose collectives, or those who choose not to become formally constituted, and they tend to centre those who are directly affected by the issues they are organising on. Grassroots movements can be any size, and the line between “grassroots” and “not grassroots” is not fixed. However, for a large organisation to continue to be seen as grassroots it would

need to maintain a high level of involvement amongst its base and practice decentralised and distributed decision-making. These structures allow groups to be more responsive to emerging problems, and to remain committed to their radical visions as they scale up. (See: La Via Campesina, a transnational grassroots peasants movement of 200 million people.) Movement ecologies: understanding movements as ecologies draws attention to the variety of institutional forms, strategies, tactics and theories of change used by those who are fighting for broadly the same outcome. Different parts of the ecology may choose to adopt “insider” or “outsider” strategies, and may be antagonistic towards each other. However, major social change usually requires this diversity of approaches. (See: the Ulex Project.) Accessibility: a term coming out of disability rights and disability justice movements. It is linked to the social model of disability, which focuses on the barriers within society which “disable” people from being able to participate equally alongside others, and puts the emphasis on mainstream institutions to make themselves accessible by removing these barriers. It also stresses the wider social benefits to nondisabled people of being in fully accessible spaces and contexts. (See: Sisters of Frida Accessibility Guide.)

Accountability: broadly defined as the obligation to explain, justify and take responsibility for one’s actions. In broader society, accountability is most often practised upwards from less powerful people to more powerful people – when citizens have to answer to the police, or grantees have to answer to their funders. In grassroots movements, the emphasis is on building accountability downwards – where less powerful individuals and groups can hold those with more power to account – as well as trying to model accountability between peers. (See: this resource on relationship-based accountability from the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective.) Values and principles: values are qualities or standards of behaviour, while principles are rules or beliefs governing behaviour which come from holding particular values. Womxn: A definition of women that explicitly includes not only cis women, but also trans women and femme/feminine-identifying genderqueer and non-binary folks. (See: this resource on inclusive language)


APPENDIX 2: WHO WAS INVOLVED Consultants: Dr Debs Grayson is a researcher, teacher and activist who has been politically active over the past decade on issues such as climate change, fracking, migrant rights and transfeminism. Following her PhD research with an interfaith charity, she worked on the Civil Society Futures Inquiry and Policing the Political, a research project looking at the impact of restrictions on ‘political activity’ within small civil society organisations. Mumbi Nkonde is a project manager and community organiser who has been embedded in grassroots organising for over a decade. Working within groups like Sisters Uncut, London Renters Union and Black Lives Matter UK has given them experience of the visions and challenges faced by groups working on the frontlines for transformative change and justice. Professionally they’ve held roles within the philanthropy sector working for the participatory grantgiver Edge Fund and taking on advisory and facilitator roles for Fund Action, JRCT, Lankelly Chase, Thirty Percy and Resource Movement UK. Guppi Bola is a senior consultant strategist with over ten years experience supporting organisations in their strategic work around transformative change. She has worked in Oxfam GB, New Economics Foundation, NEON, Quakers in Britain and as Interim-Director of Medact. She is co-founder of Decolonising Economics - bringing a deeper analysis of Britain’s colonial history and designing economic policies that embody racial justice principles. She spent the last year supporting the set up of Resourcing Racial Justice Fund, and as a UK Acumen Fellow.


Acknowledgements: This process would not have emerged and grown without the knowledge, experience and generosity of the following collaborators and so many others who are not named Movement Actor Interviews and

• Afrotech Fest ­— Debs Durojaiye

Working Groups Sessions

• Landworkers Alliance ­— Dee Woods

• Facilitator ­— Ali Tamlit

• Seeds for Change ­— Rebecca Smith

• Ubele Initiative ­— Michael Hamilton

• Consultant ­— Lilian Latinwo Olajide

• Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement ­— Elio Beale

• Edge Fund ­— Sophie Pritchard • London Renters Union ­— Jacob Wills

• Gentle Radical ­— Rabab Ghazoul • Leeds TIDAL ­— Maia Kelly • Voices for Domestic Workers — ­ Marissa Begonia • Civic Square ­— Imandeep Kaur • The English Collective of Prostitutes ­— Niki Adams

Grantee Interviews • Medact ­— Reem Abu-Hayyeh • Tripod ­— Lucy Mason • Acronym/ICAN — ­ Rebecca Johnson • Reclaim the Agenda ­— Helen Crickard

• XR Slough ­— Nick Garcia

• The Coal Action Network ­— Anne Harris

• Disabled People Against Cuts Glasgow ­— Linda Burnip

• Land Workers Alliance ­— Adam Payne and Dee Woods

• Land In Our Names ­— Josina Caliste

• Rethinking Economics ­— Laurence JonesWilliams

• Abortion Rights Campaign ­— Rachel Roth • Independent Workers of Great Britain ­— Lydia Hughes • Resist and Renew ­— Kat Wall and Liam Barrington-Bush • KIN ­— Kennedy Walker • Ubuntu Women's Shelter ­— Dania Thomas, Rosie Lewis and Loa Shaya Pour Mirza • Traveller LGBT Pride ­— Tyler Hatwell • CAPE and Cradle Community ­— Kelsey M

• Netpol/Article 11 ­— Sam Walton • Right to Remain ­— Michael Collins

Additional discussions • Fund Action and Mama Cash ­— Rose Longhurst • Movement for Black Lives ­— Natalie Jeffries • Lankelly Chase ­— Joe Doran and Alice Evans

• Leeds Unity Centre ­— Sipilien Birani

• Consultant and Researcher ­— Lena Baumgartner

• Northern Police Monitoring Project ­— Afshan D’souza-Lodhi

• UCL ­— Lisa Vanhala • Previous JRCT Board Member — ­ Imran Tyabji

Designed & Illustrated by: Jessica Bromley Bartram Illustration & Design 32

“ We are showered every day with gifts, but they are not meant for us to keep. heir life is in their movement, T the inhale and the exhale of our shared breath. Our work and our joy is to pass along the gift and to trust that what we put out into the universe will always come back.” — Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

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