Reorganizing Philanthropy for Systems Change
This statement endorsed by the EDGE Funders Alliance is derived from consultations with EDGE members, philanthropic allies and social movement partners gathered in Barcelona, Spain from April 25-28, 2017 at the EDGE annual conference.
As grantmakers operating across multiple geographies and cultures, EDGE members differ in our strategies, priorities and core areas of interest. We are in agreement, however, on the urgent need to support a transition from economic, political, social, technological and cultural systems centered on extraction, exploitation, growth and profit for some, towards societies and economies grounded in solidarity, peace, the common good, social, economic and ecological well-being of all.
We recognize the inherent contradictions and hard work to be done in transforming our own institutions and reorganizing power within the philanthropic sector. We know that in spite of progress in participatory grantmaking and ethical investing we must go further in aligning and acting in solidarity with progressive partners working within rich and diverse social movements, theories of change and cultures of practice. Therefore:
- Recognizing and supporting efforts by organizations, movements, communities and collectives at local and global levels to formulate, promote and realize systems change here and around the world; and
- Informed and inspired by those gathered here with us in Barcelona at the EDGE Conference on (Re)Organizing Philanthropy for Systems Change,
EDGE Funders Alliance affirms our commitment to contributing to systems change in support of a transition rooted in:
- Human dignity, rights and justice for women, Indigenous peoples, gender-oppressed people, and people exploited around race and ethnicity, nationality, disability, faith, sexuality and class;
- Restorative Justice based on reparations that address historical trauma, injuries and loss to peoples and societies;
- Ecological approaches of holism, diversity, commoning, sufficiency and precaution, that recognize planetary boundaries;
- Systemic analysis of the interconnected root causes of the crisis of extractivism and neoliberalism that recognizes the importance of shifting economic power from entrenched corporate and elite interests to workers and communities; and
- Global, translocal strategies that recognize the importance of place, culture, self-determination, authentic democracy and grassroots-led movements rooted in diverse, organized communities across the globe.
Our commitment calls on us to advance a collective, cross-sectoral vision that helps clarify the directions in which philanthropy needs to move, and to communicate this vision and engage with others within our community. It calls on us to retain our sense of urgency and the need for deep changes within philanthropic culture and practice, including around power and accountability. It means supporting transactional efforts to improve people’s lives and help heal the planet in ways that also move us along pathways towards the long-term transformation we seek.
Acknowledging the interconnected and global nature of the crises threatening our common future commits us to helping build a powerful guiding coalition aimed at reorganizing philanthropy to better support – through consultation and dialogue, in our grantmaking and investment approaches, an array of initiatives and communities efforts that advance a just transition to regenerative economies around the world.