Leap’s Radical Care Experiment


(By Ann Marie Utratel)

In the realm of philanthropy and activism, a transformative experiment is underway, aiming to redefine the essence of care in the pursuit of systemic change. Spearheaded by the Leap collective, the Radical Care Experiment seeks not only to challenge but to revolutionize traditional funding practices and the frontline work of systems transformation. At the heart of this initiative lies the concept of radical intersectional care, a deliberate effort to mainstream the transversal integration of care within philanthropic practice. The goal is to facilitate a shift from harmful funding practices to regenerative ones, thereby transforming access to funding across the sector.

The experiment is founded on an approach that intertwines the notions of care, healing, and the visibility of carework with the accessibility of funding, events, retreats, and resources. This vision extends to a reduction in burnout through prevention and recovery, as well attention for mental health struggles, often triggered by the demanding nature of activist work. This approach is particularly attentive to the vulnerabilities of racialized and disabled bodies, aiming to create environments of safety and repair for activists who risk much in their endeavors. By centering care within activism, Leap envisions a future where activists are better equipped to engage in their work in healthy and sustainable ways. 

Central to this experiment are two main components: mapping existing research on care within philanthropy and fostering conversations on care

These conversations, envisioned to occur both physically (in-person events) and online, aim to keep the emerging community engaged and the discourse on care vibrant and ongoing. 

For this project’s incubation phase, Leap draws upon a wealth of knowledge from various researchers and practitioners, including notable contributions from Jovana Djordjevic (formerly of the FRIDA fund) and representatives of the Danielle Mitterrand Foundation, Metamorphose and Allumeuses collectives, among others. Their work, ranging from comprehensive reflections on care as a political and ethical stance to participatory grantmaking models grounded in feminist principles, serves as a foundational pillar for this initiative.

This experiment seeks not only to highlight the importance of care in the philanthropic and activist sectors but also to challenge and potentially redefine the understanding of care itself. By engaging philanthropic organizations as participants and recipients of this new approach, this Radical Care experiment hopes to instigate a system-wide change that emphasizes the well-being of all stakeholders. We envision the Radical Care experiment hosting events and workshops designed to highlight the multifaceted nature of care, including creative and somatic approaches to incorporate a holistic understanding of well-being and building infrastructure for cultures of care.

In essence, the Radical Care Experiment represents a bold step towards bridging the gap between philanthropy and activism. By advocating for a culture of care that transcends traditional boundaries, Leap aims to foster a more inclusive and sustainable approach to systemic transformation. This initiative is not just about altering funding practices; it’s about cultivating a deeper understanding of care as a fundamental, yet often invisible, component of activism and philanthropy alike. Through collaboration, conversation, and co-creation, the Radical Care experiment is beginning to lay the groundwork for a future where care is not an afterthought but a recognized, essential pillar of system change.

Image used by permission (c) Emma Kohlmann