Principles & Pathways for Funding Systems Change

A Just Transition Co-Learning and Strategy Collaborative

The EDGE Funders community is inspired by and learns from civil society organizations and social movements engaged in the articulation of systems change narratives and practice around the world.

Over the coming months EDGE members and funder allies will convene at key gatherings to engage in collective learning and develop strategies that can provide guidance on how to move resources as efficiently, equitably and effectively as possible to the frontlines of social justice and systemic change. EDGE will have a presence and help play an organizing role at these convenings. As interest is assessed, EDGE will support participants and provide information on programming, as well as details on the role we and our members will play at each.

These gatherings include:

EDGE Europe Retreat
La Bergerie de Villarceaux (close to Paris), France, July 8-10
European EDGE members, partners and foundations thinking about becoming members are invited to join us for the annual EDGE Europe retreat in the beautiful organic farm La Bergerie, one hour from Paris. This will be the opportunity to explore with peers the practices and challenges for foundations working towards a just transition and to meet inspiring resource persons and philanthropy colleagues committed to systemic change.

CommonBound – The New Economy Coalition
Buffalo (NY), USA, July 8-10
CommonBound will bring together hundreds of individuals, including a cross-section of community leaders, thinkers and practitioners from around the world to share visionary strategies for achieving deep systemic change. The New Economy Coalition is partnering with the Crossroad Collective, composed of eight Buffalo-based community groups supporting residents in America’s Rust Belt and working across issues–from affordable housing, to refugee rights, to community-owned renewable power–at the forefront of visionary organizing and institution-building.

On June 8, the first night of the conference, a dinner will be hosted by the New Economy Coalition, PUSH Buffalo, the Crossroads Collective, and funder allies including the Boston Impact Initiative, the Chorus Foundation, the Fund for Democratic Communities, EDGE Funders Alliance, and the Solutions Project, to discuss challenges and successes in grantmaking and investing within the new economy space. The dinner will be an opportunity for funders to learn from each other as well as from movement partners.

World Social Forum – Another World Is Needed: Together It Is Possible
Montreal, Canada, August 9-14
The World Social Forum is an open meeting place for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals, free exchange of experiences and interlinking for effective action, by groups and movements of civil society building a sustainable and inclusive world. Thematic assemblies will range from Economic, Social and Solidarity Alternatives; Human and Social Rights; Rights of Nature and Environmental Justice; Migration, Refugees and Citizenship Without Borders; Cultural, Artistic and Philosophical Expressions for Another Possible World; and more. A “Commons Space” will be hosted for the first time at the WSF as a space for experimentation, exchange and construction of commons-based alternatives. This space will welcome and support the strategic process of convergence of commoners and social movements throughout the WSF.

EDGE will organize an orientation call in late July to discuss the forum process and goals, the organizing context and to highlight transition-oriented sessions planned for Montreal, and convene funders and movement allies during the forum itself.

Learn More

The Role of Technology in a Just Transition
Webinar, July 12, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm EST
As the term “Just Transition” gains broad recognition in the lexicon of environmental policymakers and philanthropy, contradictions arise when the term is applied to strategies and technology pathways that are at odds with the core principles underpinning an economic transition led by goals of equity, justice and sustainability. This interactive webinar will explore contradictions and the complexity of challenges embedded in all aspects of technology, from how resources are acquired to how relationships of power determine ownership, design, control and purpose of emergent technologies. We shall look at two contemporary scenarios to explore dimensions of technology that often remain invisible in public debate focused on “bridging the technology divide.”

Just Transition Collaborative Workshop 
Budapest, Hungary, August 28-30
Just before the start of the International Degrowth Conference, EDGE will invite 20 to 30 participants from foundations, social movements, NGOs and academia to build alignment and a shared understanding of the values, principles and pathways of a just transition. This “soft lauch” of the EDGE Just Transition co-learning and strategy Collaborative will explore the values and principles guiding Just Transition strategies and create a dynamic space for joint learning and strategizing between practitioners, organisers, researchers and funders. It will allow to identify critical elements and ideas for the agenda of the 2017 Just Giving conference and to discuss long term activities and plans for the Just Transition Collaborative.

Fifth Annual DeGrowth Conference: “Walking the Meaningful Great Transformations?”
Budapest, Hungary, August 30 – September 3
More than 500 academics, researchers and practitioners will gather in 45 special sessions to explore limits to growth in understanding the challenges faced by society, while a parallel open festival “Budapest Degrowth Week” will feature practical workshops, panels and participatory discussions, as well as concerts, artistic performances and interactive tours throughout the city.

Along with colleagues in Europe, EDGE will bring together 20 to 30 participants from foundations and allied stakeholder groups to build alignment and a shared understanding of the values, principles and pathways of a just transition, through daily orientation and context setting discussions and also convening with movement allies within spaces ranging from Reclaim the Commons, Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, the Global Campaign for Climate Justice, Solidarity Economy Networks and others in discussions on how philanthropy can better align to support various systems change initiatives.

AWID International Forum – Feminist Futures: Building Collective Power for Rights and Justice
Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, September 7-11

AWID is an international, feminist, membership organization committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development and women’s human rights. AWID International Forums are the largest global feminist forums, and provide a critical platform to find collective solutions to advance gender justice and women’s human rights (as well as have fun, learn from and inspire each other!). The 2016 Forum is a process and space for re-imagining and co-creating futures, as we come together to celebrate the social justice gains of the past 20 years, assess current opportunities and threats to human rights and explore collective and collaborative strategies.
A pre-Forum “Day for Donors: Advancing Women’s Rights & Gender Justice” with the International Network of Women’s Funds, Philanthropy for Advancing Women’s Human Rights and others, bringing together funders to strategize on how to better spend funds to promote rights and justice and how to engage with allies to work collectively across sectors and movements. As the emergent leadership of women rapidly grows across global social justice movements, EDGE’s Gender Justice Initiative will work together with funder allies and partners such as the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance and the World March of Women to discuss framing and gain feedback on emerging strategies to ensure a feminist, gender and racial justice lens for our just transition work.

#EDGEtalk Funder Webinar on the Commons
September (Date TBD)
The Commons provides a new political agenda for progressive politicians in Europe and for transformative practices for citizens movements interested in systemic change. Join us for a discussion of how foundations are engaging with new approaches to the Commons, and supporting commoners movements throughout Europe. We will hear from colleagues from different countries who are using the Commons is being as a framework for encouraging and engaging citizen’s participation across the continent, and discuss convening funders at the Assembly of the Commons at the European Parliament in Brussels on November 16.

See the draft framing document: Principles and Pathways for Funding System Change

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