Experiments reflect our commitment to the people and organisations working on systemic change, moving beyond the logic of ‘programmes’ or ‘projects’. Creating the space for personal connection and joint discussion and planning is what moves action forward, while giving time for reflection and care. We recognise that funding, although vital, is not the only need. Providing a network and a safe space for communities is just as crucial. Leap co-designs community experiments and provides the necessary facilitation, infrastructure and resources.
LANKELLY CHASE FOUNDATION
The Leap collective aims to shift the paradigm around funding practices and frontline work in systems transformation. Rooted in the lived experiences in activism and funding, there is a clear demand made by activists for more emphasis on disabled bodies, chronic illness, and mental health, especially where this intersects with racialised communities and queerness. Therefore, the radical intersectional care experiment wants to create space for these communities that are doing frontline work to inform new practices within funding and activism. This means change on an institutional level in policies and culture in Europe.
This work is two dimensional. It’s about care, healing and recovery work that creates safety and repair for the risks taken by activists, taking into mind the specific vulnerabilities of racialised and disabled bodies. It’s also about access, the accessibility of events, retreats, online resources, funding applications, and who can access funding spaces and why. Both of these aspects highlight how the hierarchical power structures of funding often cause damage through their assumptions around people’s energy, capacity, literacy, access needs, and time.
- Transforming access to funding across the sector through shifting harmful funding practices to regenerative funding practices
- Supporting care projects themselves to get funded
Proposed arc of the project
- First, we will conduct research within the field to discover what is needed in terms of care for activists in Europe. What is it that people need? Is it physical care and health support, or resources for things like bullet proof vests during protests?
- We support 3+ care and recovery projects across Europe and enable them to connect and learn from each other and the broader project.
- We collect learnings and feedback from participants and funders, and develop funding principles around funding care for activists, and who/what ever comes up during this learning experience to share with the sector. Through this project we will also be investigating the willingness / openness of the philanthropic sector to fund this kind of work and what barriers we/they face in communicating these needs
What do we mean by care?
We do not wish to limit or preempt what our research will uncover but we are open to any products and practices that help people protect and recover their physical and mental health and wellbeing. These may include things like: cyber protection, items for physical protection, physical therapies, talking therapies, accessing spaces of refuge for rest.
What makes this experiment new and different?
- It centres and prioritises care work which is normally pushed aside.
- It is moving the philanthropic sector to fund care which is not normally prioritised in project budgets.
- It could motivate funders to change their behaviour, and to ask how much care budget their grantees need (consider the activist culture of self exploitation and other issues that Anthea Lawson lays out so wonderfully in her book The Entangled Activist - it would be great to collaborate w someone like her in this experiment & really think about how that culture might be changed).
- It motivates activists to change their behaviour, to transform the cultures within activism towards sustainable practices.
How does it contribute to systems transformation?
We hope that funding care work within the field of activism will contribute to a more healthy approach towards how to come about change. We believe that if care work gets more centered within activism activists are better informed about how to show up in a healthy and sustainable way. We hope to see this result in less burnouts and mental health struggles triggered by or as a direct result from the work. We hope to contribute fruitful knowledge around care that helps activists understand that the struggle/the grind/the’’going hard’’ is a part of capitalism that can and should be challenged. This way we hope to embed the idea that radical self/community care is one of the foundations that will contribute to the system transformation we are so eager to achieve. This way we hope people are less fuelled by their traumas to do the work and will show up with care towards themselves and each other.
JUNE 2023 UPDATE: LINK TO BLOG
Amazing news! The Climate Justice Experiment got funded again by the Bosch Foundation!
The European climate movement is largely white and middle class. As a result, campaigns often ignore the experiences of black, brown and working class people, who often are the most impacted by runaway climate change.
Funding plays a major role in this. Most philanthropic wealth is controlled by white middle and upper class people, who are reluctant to address classism and racism.
At Leap, a diverse group of activists and social entrepreneurs decides which initiatives are supported. It has no problem with linking climate action to classism and racism. It could provide flexible and long-term support for grassroots movements that amplify marginalised voices.
Background & importance
The climate movement is the only grassroots movement in Europe that could be labelled a pan-European movement. According to climate activists, there is, however, a lack of coordination and communication among grassroots actors from different countries outside of the ad-hoc organising spaces (e.g. leading up to COP). Also, there are very big differences across Europe and between different groups when it comes to knowledge about and experiences in making climate justice the focus of grassroots work in different European contexts. Finally, activists and groups would appreciate better information about which funders are interested in funding grassroots climate work, want to become more visible and would also love funders to share their intel about other actors in the climate movement (obtained e.g. through open calls for application).
On the other side, climate funders and funders that are interested in supporting the climate movement have expressed confusion. Many seem to have a hard time at identifying groups outside of the 'usual suspects' of existing grantees and more established NGOs working on climate. Funders, even those interested in funding grassroots work, feel they lack a full picture and need support in understanding the complexity of the climate movement ecosystem with its networks, global/national/local campaigns, ad-hoc organising spaces with a limited lifespan, small unregistered collectives, large NGOs, massive movements like FfF and XR, etc. Any information sharing that happens is so far strictly limited to funders ('secret' documents being shared among funders e.g. in the run-up to COP about what needs funding and who funds what).
Following several individual conversations and a workshop with funders and activists, initiated by the Guerrilla Foundation, there is now a more or less defined idea out there about the need to create an organising space that 'supports the spaces' between existing groups, movements and networks and that also brings together the climate movement and its (potential) funders. Creating such a space would be valuable in the short run because it would help build new connections, create exchange and generate understanding and knowledge among movement actors. The hope would be that in the long run it would also help to contribute to the following goals:
- collective strategy making among grassroots climate actors with a European perspective,
- enhanced movement effectiveness,
- a stronger focus on and practice of climate justice among grassroots actors, and
- knowledge sharing and joint strategising among movement organisations and funders.
Why should this be part of LEAP?
The project in its current form already strongly relates to all of the three core values of LEAP:
- it supports systems change by contributing to the movement for climate justice and providing coordination support to grassroots groups,
- it has been developed with participation of movement activists from the very beginning
- it will hopefully enhance transparency of movement funders about who they support and create more information about funding for grassroots groups
It will also be a good testing ground for LEAP as a facilitator of spaces that are bringing together activists and funders and can help us build our toolkit and skills for movement-funder-organising. The intention would be to create a space where funders and movements are able to coordinate & share information with each other.
LEAP could try fiscal hosting.
The project might very well evolve into a participatory funding space for grassroots climate action if there was an appetite for this. Or it could become a funding pot for the 'in-between' activities that funders usually don't support but that help build the pan-European movement - the exchanges, travel costs, trainings and coordination meetings that are needed but often invisibilised. A pot of 'climate justice coordination funds' could be transparently and collectively and transparently managed by a collective of European climate activists using participatory decision-making tools.
- a follow-up workshop with climate activists and some funders to develop the concept further is in planning right now
- exploring potential partnership with Ulex to include their 'movement ecosystem' approach and network as well as expertise in obtaining EU funding
- if there was the opportunity to host this within LEAP, this would be the perfect time to offer this & define how we might meaningfully support with our capacity.
These are some of the quesions that were raised during our consultation calls. Our answers represent our current thinking. It will certainly change as we expand our team and get more feedback. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have further questions, or if you have feedback regarding our current answers.