Esther Foreman and Bob Thust officially kick off the day with our first panel! We've got Alex from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Jess Cordingly from the Lankelly Chase Foundation and Vidhay Alekson from the Power to Change Trust.
Alex discusses the term ‘social movements’, whether this is the best term to use when they’re so diverse in nature and use a multitude of tactics. He speaks about his foundation (Paul Hamlyn) recognise that organisations need core support beyond funding. He states: “It’s about acting in solidarity with movements and be comfortable with failture”.
Jess discusses the difficulty facing Foundations funding social movements as the fact that there isn’t one person in charge. “The usual project plan goes out the window. We’re used to working with plans, budgets, outcomes and lines of accountability. If we take these away we don’t have a way to make decisions.”. Jess discusses the need to develop a different approach to how to make decisions in different organisations.
Vidhya states that we’d do more good if we did more collaboration with funders. She talks about the tension between having to narrowly define the movement as a funder and trying to create a broad enough movement that people feel like they belong. She discusses the balance between the power that the funders have and the legal constraints that they face. Ultimately, she argues that trust, based, collaborative partnerships are the goal.
There seems to be a common theme here of an urge for more partnership between funders and social movements, but a recognition of the tension between micromanaging and playing the expert.
What do you think? We’ll be taking questions for the next 20 mins!