28 July 2020

In this episode - the third in our mini-series on “European philanthropy during and after COVID-19” - we talk to Julie Broome, Director of the Ariadne network about philanthropic funding for social change and rights issues now and in the future. Including:

  • What is social change funding? What are its particular features?
  • Is it limited to a niche subset of funders, or something that all can do to some extent?
  • What is the history and current landscape for social change and rights-focussed philanthropy across Europe?
  • How do the cultures, histories and legal/policy environments for philanthropy vary across Europe? How does this affect the work of social change funders?
  • What kind of responses have we seen from social change funders across Europe to the challenges posed by COVID-19?
  • Has COVID-19 (and government responses to it) exacerbated existing rights issues?
  • Will we see new rights issues emerge as the political imperatives of the pandemic lead to governments either accidentally or deliberating introducing new measures (e.g. on data collection and usage) that could further close the space for civil society in the future?
  • What is the role of infrastructure and support organisations in helping civil society organisations and funders navigate and adapt to a rapidly-changing environment?
  • Has the Covid-19 pandemic and the need to coordinate responses effectively increased awareness of the value of infrastructure?
  • What elements of infrastructure are required for a healthy culture of philanthropy and a vibrant civil society?
  • Do we need to make a renewed case for the value of infrastructure and the need to ensure it is properly funded?
  • Major challenges like the climate crisis, global inequality or the impact of technological development raise difficult questions about whether a pragmatic approach of working with existing systems can ever be enough; or whether we need to embrace more radical, transformative change efforts. How do social change and rights funders approach this thorny problem?
  • We are seeing particular focus right now on the idea of social change movements, many of which have decentralised or non-hierarchical governance models (e.g. XR, #MeToo etc). Are there challenges for traditional funders in engaging with such movements? How can social change funders with experience in this area help others to navigate the challenges?
  • Why is core-cost funding so important when supporting social change movements?

Related links

European philanthropy and the COVID-19 crisis, part 1 with Max von Abendroth and Rosa Gallego

European philanthropy and the COVID-19 crisis, part 2 with James Magowan, European Community Foundation Initiative

Ariadne - Ariadne is a European peer-to-peer network of more than 600 funders and philanthropists who support social change and human rights.  Ariadne helps those using private resources for public good achieve more together than they can alone by linking them to other funders and providing practical tools of support. 

Ariadne 2020 Forecast

Rhod’s Alliance article on “The history of philanthropy & social movements for diversity, equity and inclusion

Our Giving Thought discussion paper From the Margins to the Mainstream: Philanthropy and social movements for diversity, equity & inclusion in society

Our recent CAF paper on European policy responses to COVID-19

Julie Broome

Julie Broome, Director of the Ariadne network

Rhodri Davies

Rhodri Davies

Head of Policy

Rhodri leads Giving Thought, our in-house think tank focusing on current and future issues affecting philanthropy and civil society. Rhodri has spent nearly a decade specialising in public policy around philanthropy and the work of charities, and has researched, written and presented on a wide range of topics. He has a first-class degree in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of Oxford.   Read more about Rhodri



About the Giving Thought podcast

The Giving Thought podcast is an exploration of trends in global philanthropy and civil society. Launched in 2017 it is recognised as an insightful and influential source of philanthropic debate.  Rhodri Davies director of our Giving Thought Think Tank hosts the podcast, discussing contemporary issues and interviewing sector experts. Episodes are also available free on iTunes and Libsyn.

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