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Learning from Movements

by Phil Hallglobal_collaboration sm

Most of us would agree that lasting change seldom occurs through a collection of isolated grants.  Instead, change begins when a complex web of leaders across sectors and communities works simultaneously to embrace a common mission, collaborate for a sustained period of time and inspire others to do the same.

Large-scale movements for change are often considered the province of only the largest foundations. In fact, funders of all shapes and sizes can adopt the skills and attitudes that are associated with supporting movements. Knowingly or not, even the most individualistic funder is in one way or another contributing to long-term, large-scale change.

This past November, I attended the Grantmakers for Effective Organizations’ conference on movements in Washington, DC. The key learning points of this conference are outlined below and detailed in GEO’s publication, Many Hands More Impact: Philanthropy’s Role in Supporting Movements.

What is a Movement?

One of the most basic decisions any foundation must make has to do with scale.  Do we focus on helping people in need, on a set geography, or a group of favored organizations?  Do we collaborate with other funders?

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How do women become political?



GMA’s Michelle Jenney with activist Gloria Steinem

“And because it [slavery] is a political subject, it has often been tauntingly said, that woman has nothing to do with it. Are we aliens, because we are women? Are we bereft of citizenship, because we are the mothers, wives, and daughters of a mighty people? Have women no country, no interests staked in public weal, no liabilities in common peril, no partnership in a nation’s guilt and shame?”

At a sold-out event in Boston on October 7, 2013, “How Women Become Political,” guest speakers revealed how they were inspired to engage in politics whether as activists, campaign volunteers, or candidates for office.  Held to commemorate Angelina Grimke’s speech, the event was also an occasion to inspire girls and women to follow Grimke’s example.

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Sociological Initiative Foundation Research Grants Emphasize Labor Rights and Workplace Fairness

Labor rights and workplace fairness figured prominently in the the recent grant awards of the Sociological Initiatives Foundation.

The research and organizing projects supported by the foundation will investigate wage theft, working conditions for temporary and domestic workers, hiring discrimination, and the challenge of making fair labor practices a part of the growing sustainable food movement.

Most of the projects supported community-academic partnerships and were designed to support regulatory or legislative advocacy campaigns.

To view the grants list, click here.

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