Leap aims to shift the paradigm around funding practices and frontline work in systems transformation by setting up experiments.
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 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.
OCTOBER 2023 UPDATE: The new Collective Abundance website has been launched!
JUNE 2023 UPDATE:
Amazing news! The Climate Justice Experiment has once again been funded 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.
Leap has begun work on an experiment in radical intersectional care.
By building new experiments on care we intend to make transversal integration of care mainstream within philanthropic practice and facilitate the transformation of access to funding across the sector by shifting harmful funding practices to regenerative funding practices.
Who can access funding spaces and why? Our approach is bidimensional. It is 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 is also about accessibility of funding, events, retreats, online resources, funding applications.
How does it contribute to systems transformation?
We believe that addressing care work within the field of activism and philanthropy 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 fueled by their traumas to do the work and will show up with care towards themselves and each other.
Migrant justice experiment is coming to life.
We are setting up a new experiment on migrant justice.
Despite being highly racialised and criminalised across Europe, migration continues to be undertaken by countless people every year. The precarity of migration routes has led to people dying trying to make these journeys, with many of these deaths occurring at Europe’s borders. The political and material conditions that have led to people having to migrate and seek asylum in Europe are connected to the ongoing effects of hundreds of years of colonial exploitation and extraction by European countries within those territories. The lasting effects of colonialism have influenced the climate crisis, which in turn has exacerbated the conditions that people are fleeing from. It is estimated that much of the migration over coming decades will be internal. In other words, people will move from one part of their home country to another, often driven by the effects of climate change including crop failure or other extreme events, to move from rural areas to cities. The World Bank’s 2021 Groundswell report estimates that by 2050 there could be more than 216 million internal climate migrants across Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, East Asia/Pacific, North Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe/Central Asia.
In spite of this, governments in Europe are responding in increasingly punitive ways that are ill-equipped to address the challenges at hand. When people do seek to migrate to another country, regimes of hostile immigration policies leave few options for safe and legal migration for those affected by climate disaster.
In addition, ‘climate’ still is not recognised as a legitimate category for asylum in international law, and therefor neither in national legislation. This in spite of growing recognition that climate change will create a humanitarian crisis for people around the world, making their homes and communities unsafe and inaccessible.
This experiment seeks to make clear the abundant connections between climate change and migration.
Instead of operating from a human rights-based approach, immigration policy and borders across Europe are highly militarised and criminalised.
Many organisations, particularly grassroots and self-organised, migrant-led groups supporting migrants in individual countries are doing so with limited resources and stretched capacity.
Where to start?
We are currently bringing together several people and organisations who have collective experience of working with migrant communities across Europe and in the Global South for many years. We are particularly interested in bringing together people with a range of expertise in providing frontline advocacy support, as well as more strategic work to disrupt the harmful effects of border regimes for those forced to navigate them. Where possible, we are keen to foreground migrant-led organisation and experiences. We know the struggles people face and sometimes have direct experience of the system.
We want to learn from the exchanges and the collective knowledge through roundtables how we can co-create this experiment so it can help transform the system.
If you feel like joining this experiment, as a funder, as an activist or in any other role, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.