Participatory Grantmaking

When those affected by decisions are the decision-makers

We believe that the power and potential of feedback and meaningful connections among funders, nonprofits, and the people and communities at the heart of our work extends to organizations doing advocacy and systems change work. But how do funders and advocates connect with the people who are affected by their efforts? How do they include the voices of those most impacted by the policies they aim to shape?

To begin to answer these questions, we commissioned a landscape scan of advocacy and policy work, which identified participatory grantmaking as a key strategy. With that analysis, along with our commitment to listen and respond to impacted people and communities, especially those typically least consulted by philanthropy, we launched a new participatory grantmaking initiative to explore power-sharing around advocacy and policy work. The initiative focuses on involving people affected by climate change in the funding and policy decisions that impact them. The initiative is rooted in Shared Insight’s values of inclusion, trust, experimentation, and openness, and informed by our commitment to advancing equity,

Consultants Katy Love and Winifred Olliff, both experienced practitioners of participatory grantmaking, are leading our efforts, creating a participatory process of design, grantmaking, and implementation scheduled to extend through 2022. 

Participatory Grantmaking is “an approach to philanthropy that cedes decision-making authority to the very communities affected by funding decisions”
Grantcraft by Candid

$2 Million

NEW INITIATIVE
with the goal of
involving people deeply
impacted by climate change

Participatory Grantmaking Teams

About the Teams

Twelve people with lived expertise around climate change, ecological disruption, and/or traditional ecological knowledge served on the Design Team. They joined with one funder representative to engage in a six-week participatory design process that resulted in the creation of a purpose statement and eligibility criteria for grantees. Design Team members were selected in partnership with people and organizations with relevant knowledge of communities impacted by climate change in the United States (including states, territories, and D.C.). They came from communities historically excluded from policy decision-making, such as BIPOC communities, rural and small-town communities, and coastal, island, or inland communities.

Eleven Design Team members continued on after the six-week design phase to provide guidance during the start of the project’s grantmaking phase. They verified the fund’s eligibility criteria; provided feedback on the nominations process and nominator criteria; nominated potential grantees; reviewed the first iteration of the grantmaking portfolio, outlining key areas for continued outreach; and supported outreach to partners for nominations and in some cases, reached out to grantees. 

Seven of the Design Team members were selected to join the Grantmaking Group. They were joined by seven additional members and two funder representatives, who are participating as learning partners without a say in funding decisions. The Grantmaking group is split into two, with each subgroup working on grants in a specific geographic region. 

Both Design Team and Grantmaking Group members are participating as individuals, not formal representatives of their communities. Their participation does not indicate that they are affiliated with participating funders beyond this initiative or that they are representing or endorsing the actions or statements of the funders. Team members and the partner organizations that selected them were offered compensation.

A learning event to explore lessons from the first phase of our participatory grantmaking initiative.

Participatory Grantmaking

“This program will fund grassroots groups that implement climate justice or environmental justice work in their communities that centers traditional and/or local ecological knowledge and connection with Mother Earth. The work of these groups will demonstrate approaches to adaptation that may also be applied in other contexts and influence policy.”

Program purpose statement created by the Design Team

Based on the decisions of the Design Team, grantmaking for this project is focused on two geographic areas: the Southeastern United States and the “Kolea Region,” a joint region encompassing Alaska and Hawai’i and named for a migratory bird. The grantmaking budget for this initiative was initially $1 million, but in response to Design Team feedback in favor of amplifying impact throughout two regions of focus, Shared Insight raised an additional $1 million from aligned funders. The Grantmaking Group will make decisions about awards from this one-time, $2-million fund.

Throughout the participatory process, we have reached out to people and organizations with relevant knowledge to gather feedback about our approach, and have made changes based on their ideas and insights. One outcome of such feedback: We chose a nominations model for selecting grantees after we were advised that open calls or formal requests for proposals can put an undue burden on potential grantees.

Our partners and team members, along with their networks, nominated a total of 35 groups in the Southeastern U.S. and the Kolea Region. The choices were rooted in the eligibility criteria and purpose statement created by the Design Team, along with the criteria for nominators that the Design Team had reviewed and revised. We assessed eligibility and alignment, adding qualified groups to the portfolio for consideration. To fill specific gaps identified by our teams, we invited nominator-partners and potential grantees to themselves nominate additional groups.

Next Steps

The Grantmaking Group will be making funding decisions by the end of 2021. Grants will be for general operating support (wherever possible) and will be a minimum of $10,000 each. Distribution is expected to begin January 2022.

For more information contact us at participatorygrantmaking@fundforsharedinsight.org

Fund for Shared Insight Advocacy/Policy Committee

FUNDERS

Linda Baker

Linda Baker

David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Kate Barnes

Kate Barnes

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Genny Biggs

Genny Biggs

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Chris Cardona

Chris Cardona

Ford Foundation

Rachel Huguet

Rachel Huguet

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Shaheen Kassam-Lakha

Shaheen Kassam-Lakha

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Jessica Kiessel

Jessica Kiessel

Omidyar Network

Lindsay Louie

Lindsay Louie

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Anna Loizeaux

Anna Loizeaux

The JPB Foundation

Ciciley Moore

Ciciley Moore

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Claire Poelking

Claire Poelking

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Jennifer Chavez Rubio

Jennifer Chavez Rubio

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

STAFF & CONSULTANTS

Gita Gulati-Partee

Gita Gulati-Partee

Fund for Shared Insight

Rick Moyers

Rick Moyers

Fund for Shared Insight

Melinda Tuan

Melinda Tuan

Fund for Shared Insight

Katy Love

Katy Love

Consultant

Winifred Olliff

Winifred Olliff

Consultant

Pin It on Pinterest