Edge Fund supports groups creating social change, those that face many barriers to raising funds such as being very small with no or few paid staff, being led by communities that might not speak English as a first language, or being seen as too radical in their approach. We receive many more applications than we can support and need to raise more funds. Here are some statements from applicants in this funding round (whose applications are currently being assessed) about their work and the challenges they face getting the support they need. Please help if you can.
PLEASE SUPPORT OUR CROWDFUND AND HELP US SUPPORT GROUPS LIKE THESE
- OR CONTACT THEM TO SUPPORT THEM DIRECTLY
“I am a full-time domestic worker myself and along with my fellow J4DW campaigners often use my own hard-earned salary to keep the work of J4DW going. I don’t know how long we could survive without funding but when we apply we often receive rejection. I find this rejection hard to accept because we do the work seriously beyond our capacity and ability. We continue to do the work of J4DW because all the injustices we continue to suffer should and must end. To end this, our voice and work are important. We know how it is like to be enslaved and abused. What will happen to our fellow domestic workers without J4DW, if they have nowhere to run? I cannot turn my back to my fellow domestic workers, many are destitute. I am determined to win our campaign but we are struggling without funding”.
Marissa, Justice for Domestic Workers
“The scale of what we are trying to fight for is so overwhelmingly massive, especially in a world where billions goes to funding consumerism and wars and local funding is being cut. Edge Fund provides an utterly unique opportunity for groups that are doing such incredible work and may never otherwise get funding, to have a chance of achieving their goals”.
Rose, Heathrow Arts Project
“AfricanRainbowFamily is a newly set up group led by and for LGBT Asylum Seekers of African heritage in the UK campaigning against injustices and mistreatments of LGBT asylum seekers by the UK immigration system. We are unable to access fund with the mainstream funders due to our political stand, hence unable to fund our group work. With Edge fund, we are positive of getting funded. Help us hit the £20,000 mark for grassroot groups like us to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable people and the voiceless”.
Jane, African Rainbow Family
“Working against something as contentious and important as immigration detention, we find it really hard to get funding. Many groups who engage with detention just want it to change for the better – we want it to end full stop, and as a result find it really difficult to find people to support us financially. Until the revolution, we need funds to support the fight!”
Billy, SOAS Detainee Support Group
“Trans-led organisations find it very hard to get funding because most of the funds available go to more privileged groups within the LGBT community. And when you adopt radical aims such as calling for a democratic trans healthcare system and take a stand against cuts and privatisation, getting funding is nigh on impossible”
“For most funding bodies, giving money to trans and gender variant people working for radical social change just isn’t an option. This means that in order to continue our work fighting for trans healthcare, we often have to fundraise within our own community, a community whose level of unemployment due to transphobic discrimination is off the scale”.
Jess and Tommy, Action for Trans Health
“Our public speech and therefore our politics are tightly controlled by narrow interests. New Left Project seeks, in this context, to provide an open space for people desiring transformative political and social change to think, debate, develop and learn. Unlike mainstream media we are unburdened by commercial pressures, freeing us to pursue those issues we judge to be important and useful to those seeking social change. But running an alternative media organisation without resources is extremely difficult. We have managed for several years without income as a collective of volunteers working in our spare time. But this is not sustainable, and does not permit us to pursue even half the ideas we have for articles, series, events and other contributions to public knowledge and exchange. The media mainstream depends financially upon big corporations, and this is reflected in its coverage. A media that works for the public must, by contrast, be financially supported by the public; fortunately, with non-profit organisations like ours, even a little help goes a long way”.
Jamie, New Left Project
“JENGbA (Joint Enterprise: Not Guilty by Association) is a grassroots campaign which we run from a desk in a shared office and our kitchen tables. We are campaigning on behalf of prisoners who have been convicted under “Joint Enterprise” – which is not a law, it is a 300 year old doctrine being used to convict people who were somehow connected to the perpetrator – some of these prisoners are children as young as 13 who had no previous convictions but were out with friends when a crime took place. Our prisons are overcrowded and we believe Joint Enterprise is a contributing factor – as we are trying to change the law we are also very political. We are not a charity and finding funds to carry on our fight is so hard, even when people believe in us. We are all volunteers and often pay our own travel costs to attend important meetings (often in volunteers’ homes as we can’t afford to pay for venues) or just to meet families who need advice, whose loved ones have been imprisoned for a crime they have not committed”.
“My name is Kwesi Shaddai, and I’m a black working class activist and community organiser. I’ve been working to bring about radical social change in my community for over ten years now, and during that time I’ve provided various services to the public. These have ranged from creative arts and sporting events, to workshops about stop and search procedures and intellectual property law.
However, despite my obvious experience of working first hand with marginalised people within my own community, I have nevertheless failed to receive a penny of funding for any of my social projects. As you can imagine, filling out application after application without any success can become disheartening. This is especially true in light of the allegations of misused funds that have been levelled at larger organisations like Big Society Network, who clearly have no problems accessing government finances, thanks to the significant resources they already possess.
As a dedicated activist, I’ve become a member of several non-profit organisations over the years that share my desire to bring about real change in the world. Collectively, our need for better access to advice and funding cannot be overstated. As members of marginalised communities ourselves, we believe that we are best placed to identify the most effective solutions to the problems that we face. Unfortunately, everything we do requires finances, and our services are often reliant on volunteers and the good-will of the public to continue.
This is why it is so important to support grassroots groups like Edge Fund. Although I have been disappointed with fund providers in the past, I have made an exception with Edge Fund because they describe themselves as an organisation that supports radical social change. It’s been encouraging to meet with them and discuss my future projects, as they place an emphasis on listening to the people and communities that they support. By taking this approach, Edge Fund has avoided the “top-down” tendencies of other organisations that can often ride roughshod over the aspirations and concerns of those they are attempting to help”.
“Dear Edge Fund, we are so glad you exist!!! It’s been an incredible challenge, as a group of transgender students in Ireland, to obtain funding for our critical activities of peer support, obtaining a safe space, and upskilling ourselves on activism. We are marginalised both within our College and University settings, and in wider Irish society as a whole . Ireland is the last remaining country in Europe to have not yet recognised trans* experiences governmentally through Gender Recognition Legislation. Needless to say, there is not funding at government level for our work, and we find this exclusion to oftentimes be mirrored within community and advocacy work as well as in third-level education. We are overshadowed by ‘gay’ groups or non-trans*-inclusive ‘LGBT’ work, with our needs being so unique that having our own space to talk through experiences and support one another is fundamental to our work. We rely heavily not only on volunteers, but also on free and low cost use of space, which often comes at the price of limited safety and security. We are working to create a world where trans* people feel safe on campus as well as in wider society, but we have a long road ahead of us. To us, the best start begins in finding one another (we are spread throughout the island, many of us alone in our own communities). From these connections, we provide lifesaving support to one another. In the past year, we have seen our members ‘come out’ to family, friends and peer groups, and we have all truly blossomed in our identities. We do not have a choice but to continue finding each other and to ‘pay it forward’ to the new potential group members we have yet to make our friends! Thanks and solidarity!”
Irish Trans* Students’ Alliance (ITSA)
“It is increasingly difficult to exist if you dare to go into consumer spaces and do anything other than spend money, if you use the streets for anything other than getting to work, if you name and highlight social oppressions on the bus or are heard to use the term ‘anti-capitalism’. It can’t be anywhere on your website or anywhere in your public discourse or you are instantly shunned from all collaborations, funding, support. In London finding space to focus and train each other to tackle corporations and institutions through radical theatre is nigh impossible as workshop space soars. The crack down on squatting means there are few dependable spaces with the right conditions to meet and train and they rarely last long. We need anything we can get to have the resources just to keep our work alive!”
Alex, Experimental Experience
“We are a group of disabled and non-disabled people active in protests and direct actions against the Work Capability Assessment and other injustices disabled people face, as well as running a small outreach team. We help those who have been left with nothing as a result of brutal government cuts. Our clients certainly are not able to contribute to our costs, so our group, who are all volunteers, are funding ourselves. We don’t have the use of neutral, free, disabled friendly premises, so we mostly have to travel to clients, or meet in cafes, which adds to travel and other costs. We want to be able to offer more professional self help workshops and have a high profile at protests, with better materials, however currently, our funding is only enough to cover basic costs of helping our clients and very minimal leaflets and banners. Money from the Edge Fund would enable us to reach out to more disabled people, giving them skills to help themselves. It would enable us to raise awareness of the issues, highlighting what disabled people are facing in the current political climate. With a higher public profile, it will also be easier for us to raise funds for ourselves”.
Jennifer, Disability Solidarity Network
“Our campaign has been met with obstructive council officers, incomplete legal advice, and being blocked from addressing that legal advice with the council. With the Westminster elite enforcing their local parties to resist fighting austerity and the media backing that up, we have to work much harder to reach out to people just to tell them there is a legal and practical option in which to fight local austerity that can help the majority and tax the rich. We have an answer but the many vested interests don’t want us to succeed. We’re still moving forwards and every £1 of support goes a long way”.
David, New Deal for Brighton and Hove
“No-one in society can argue that there are enough provisions in place to tackle gangs or youth violence. Unfortunately, it is rare to find the holistic, impartial, neutral and non-judgemental support that Get Outta The Gang provides to young people. We are a youth-led organisation using innovative and creative methods which some may describe as risky, but we feel these new approaches are vital because young people are killing each other, so this is a life or death issue. Many funders are not willing to aid us to take the risks we feel are necessary to truly combat gangs and youth violence, but the Edge Fund is willing to support radical methods for social change, which is exactly what we, and many other groups that think like us working in different sectors, are relying on to continue to change the world”.
Temi, Get Outta The Gang
“There is strong evidence that psychiatric drugs taken for long periods are toxic, damaging the brain and shortening life by about 20 years. Yet week after week we hear from people distraught by the way they or a family member is coerced into taking these drugs and forced into hospital with no other choice being offered. We therefore strive, in the face of immense power and vested interests, to show there is a different way of understanding ‘psychosis’ and mental distress, and that there are proven alternative approaches which offer hope of real and lasting recovery. We passionately want to make these alternatives much more known and available for people to choose, and to support those who struggle to resist harm and oppression in the current system”.
Margaret Turner, On behalf of all members of Soteria South-West.
“Grassroot level is the front line help desk for people living in local communities. If we mobilize resources and support grass root groups, we can make their voice heard on a larger scale in the demand of radical social change. More importantly we need to hear the voices of ethnic female minorities who are of undeniable value for the development of our society”.
Anna, Women’s Solidarity Fund
“We can’t apply for most funding because we are not and do not want to be a registered charity because we want to retain our independence and ability to be political – something we could not do as a charity. The attacks on immigrants are political, if we were to reduce ourselves to fit the requirements of a charity we would have to cut off our arms – our ability to criticise and organise politically, to speak the plain truth about racism unhindered. Thats why organisations like the Edge Fund are crucial, our options for funding are so limited; to have an organisation and people willing to fund grass roots organisations, ones that are bold and critical of the system, is amazing”
Movement for Justice
“We really value funds like Edge Fund. It is so hard for tiny groups of people who are fighting for change and for rights to be recognised and access funding. Understandably most funders go for large, established organisations with fundraising departments, finance managers, human resources departments, substantial operating budgets and reserves.
But if we want to build change and a transformative movement then we have to support those committed, hardworking, passionate individuals giving up their time for free at the grassroots who really know what life is like on the frontline.
And the great thing is that they don’t need much money – they don’t have the overheads and the salaries and the premises: a small amount of money goes a very long way when you do things on a small scale at grassroots level.
We are trying to challenge attitudes that enable violence against women, we are working in a context that is complacent and thinks gender equality has been done. It is a context which often finds feminism and women’s rights challenging and hostile – for instance we thought we were going to attract some sponsorship from a company but when the found we were “feminist” they refused to do so”.
“Most charitable funding is tied up with objectives which only treat the symptoms of social problems, not the causes – in other words trying to deal with huge trends like social alienation with band-aids like lunch clubs. On top of this the monitoring and reporting obligations attached to most grants can often take more time to fulfil than the activities for which the funding was given! And of course political activism of any sort rarely gets a look-in. We were very happy to find the Edge Fund, with its commitment to real social change and simple application and administration process.
Unconditional basic income is like a social dividend paid regularly – to each individual, without meanstesting, obligations to work or look for work and high enough for material existence. It would allow full participation in society for all, without the shame, bureaucracy or bullying attached to means-tested and other conditional benefits, or the rank corruption of privatised schemes to ‘help’ people back into work. Between bank bailouts, financial transactions, war and what’s stashed in tax havens there is more than enough money to fund it.
A basic income paid to each individual would help women in violent domestic situations, people on zero-hour and other precarious contracts, people who want to or have to care for family members or friends, people with disabilities currently facing demeaning and vexatious Work Capability Assessments, people made unemployed by technological advances, people who want to set up small businesses or volunteer in their communities, students, activists, people who want to do some real training for work they want to do, communities who might want to pool their money to set up (for example) clean energy projects…
We have already seen an unprecedented amount of coverage for the idea of unconditional basic income over the past year. Basic Income UK wants to get it firmly on the political agenda next year. Basic income is the obvious policy to replace Universal Credit which is neither universal nor paid in credit, and the raft of sadistic welfare reforms brought in by this government.
It is a positive demand to make against the current government’s austerity measures chipping away at every aspect of people’s lives. Everyone deserves the means to live!
Whether we succeed in our own application or not, the Edge Fund is a very special initiative. Please give as much as you can – it will go to groups working for positive social change, not just more band-aids”.
Barb, Basic Income UK
“RADTV is an programme making company specialising in alternative analysis and reporting. We cannot normally apply for charity as we are deemed to be political. Almost all funding is directly or indirectly either state administered or from charitable trusts. So for us the Edge Fund is a very rare opportunity to get funding. It is increasingly hard to make alternative initiatives as potential volunteers struggle to pay the bills and middle class donors feel the pinch”.
PLEASE SUPPORT OUR CROWDFUND AND HELP US SUPPORT GROUPS LIKE THESE!
In April 2013 Edge Fund gave out its first grants to support grassroots projects working for radical social change. Activism can be hard and lonely work, so it’s been great to hear comments from members and applicants that Edge has helped introduce them to new people and particularly those who they might not normally cross paths with. We thought we’d try to build on this by organising an event where activists and community organisers can come together and share experiences and skills, hopefully helping us all work more effectively for a just and equal world.
The Forum for Radical Sharing is a gathering for sharing the knowledge gained by the work of the groups we’ve funded, our members and others doing similar work. It is for small (eg under £20k annual income) grassroots groups run by and for communities facing injustice and those considered by most people to be ‘too radical’, both of which find it very difficult to raise funds. It will provide a space for people to talk to each other about their work as well as allowing time for people to work together to overcome common challenges and explore different ways we might support each other. We’d love to have people from a range of backgrounds attend, including women, people of African and Asian heritage and those from LGBTQI, disabled, working class, migrant, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.
Our very first forum is in Manchester, on Saturday, November 8. The venue, MadLab, is fully accessible and some funds are available for transport and childcare.
Please let us know if you’d like to come by emailing sharing-@-edgefund.org.uk (remove the dashes). It’s important you contact us as we’ll need to give you further information beforehand so you can come fully prepared and there are limited spaces. If you know others who might be interested in coming, please feel free to send along the details!
Last week we launched our first ever crowd-funding appeal and have received a total of £3098 donations from over 30 different backers. A big thank you to everyone who has donated so far.
The reason we’re doing the appeal is because we have received hundreds of funding applications, a total of 335 for this funding round. And so we have a problem – we only have enough funds to support around 30 of them, and in most cases are only able to give them a fraction of what they need.
We fund self-organised groups standing up against the injustices they face, whether that’s cuts to benefits, institutional racism, police violence, the abuses of the immigration system or destruction of the environment. We fund groups that aim to dismantle the systems that cause injustice.
It’s hard to believe, but often the work of these small but feisty grassroots organisations is funded by the group members themselves, even when many of them are struggling to get by on low incomes. But whilst they don’t have funding, they do have independence, meaning they are free to tell it like it is. They push for radical social change and are run on passion, resourcefulness and a determination to bring about justice for their communities and others.
We’ve put £40,000 into the pot for this round of applications. That’s really not a lot between 335 applicants and means we can only support about 10% of them. We need to raise more. Please help. One pound each and there will be 20,000 of us. Spread the word.
Web link to the Crowd-Fund: http://gogetfunding.com/project/grassroots-action-for-radical-change
Would you like to take part in deciding which people and groups we fund?
Would you like to have a say in how Edge Fund is run; how we make decisions, raise funds etc?
Edge Fund is a member-run organisation. Our members decide what we fund and how we work together. We officially launched in December 2012 and have run three funding rounds since then, distributing £120,000 to over 80 groups.
Recently we asked our members to complete a survey so we could start to build a clearer picture of who our members are. The results of the survey have helped us to see where we are lacking in representation and also how we can work to address any barriers people face in becoming involved with Edge Fund.
We’re now looking for new members, particularly people from backgrounds currently under-represented in our membership. If you share our aims to bring about a just and equal world through radical social change you are welcome to apply.
Most of our members are involved in many projects and may also have personal commitments that take up a lot of their time, so we do our best to ensure membership of Edge Fund is flexible. The main work of members is reading and scoring applications around three times a year, but there are other roles too for those interested. Most of the work of Edge Fund members can be done from home and we can help cover costs of getting to meetings where needed.
Becoming a member does not stop you from applying for funds for your work, many of our members are former applicants.
To apply to become a member you need to answer 3 questions and the membership fee is just £1.00.
Being a member is a great way to find out about action on the ground to challenge injustices affecting communities across Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England, and to meet the people behind the projects. If you apply before 15 August we should have enough time to deal with your membership application before we start scoring our latest round of funding applications, so apply now if you’d like to take part.
I believe Edge Fund is an amazing, groundbreaking and urgently needed experiment in radical funding. Being a member means I get to meet and make connections with an incredibly diverse and fascinating group of people.
We’ve raised our first £250,000! Our press release with more information is below.
Over a hundred people made donations to support us to get this far, with donations ranging from a few thousand pounds to a few pounds per month. A huge thank you to every one of you! Our long-term aim is to be funded by the grassroots – lots of people giving small monthly amounts. If you’d like us to continue to support grassroots groups on the front lines of injustice and those seeking to bring about radical social change, please set up a direct debit for £10 per month or another amount.
We have recently opened our fourth round, with an application deadline of 8 September.
Radical funding body passes quarter million landmark
Edge Fund, which supports grassroots groups aiming at radical social change, has raised its first £250,000.
Following the motto ‘radical funding for radical change’, funding decisions are put in the hands of those most affected by inequality and oppression. The fund supports groups that are considered ‘too radical’ by most other funders.
Launched 18 months ago, Edge has funded an eclectic range of organisations, from lesbian migrant support groups and Roma community organisers to those opposing police repression, immigration raids and the arms trade, from anti-capitalists and anarchist groups to people working on disability rights, local community organising and climate change.
The fund’s approach has been making waves across the funding world and has struck a chord with those losing faith in the traditional charitable sector’s ability to achieve meaningful change.
Linda Burnip, from grantees Disabled People Against Cuts, said:
“By working in partnership with the grassroots, Edge is leading the way in directing funds to where they are most effective. Edge is simply the most radical and socially responsible funding group, we salute them and all involved”
Edge Fund’s fourth funding round has now opened with grants of up to £5,000 available to support work run by – and for – communities most affected by discrimination, inequality and injustice, and work that aims to create systemic change. The application consists of 5 questions, which can be answered over the phone or by email. The deadline for applications is 5pm on Monday 8 September.
Stephen Pittam, former trust secretary of Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and current trustee of Global Greengrants Fund said:
“Edge Fund is a breath of fresh air in the philanthropy sector. Engaging funders and activists together in deciding how to allocate funds offers a new and radical approach. It shows a way for how philanthropy can move beyond paternalism and doing good to become a real force for social change.”
Edge Fund is now looking for donations to make a fifth funding round possible. For more information about making a donation, applying for funds or becoming a member, go to www.edgefund.org.uk or call 0300 123 1965 or 07767 126 915.
Our review period has now come to an end. We’ll be sharing a summary of the results of the review soon, in the meantime you can read the minutes of our review meetings in London, Manchester and Leicester.
Taking a break from giving out grants has also given us some time to fundraise and we’re now able to open another funding round! Please help us spread the word.
All the information is needed below, or you can download a guide which includes funding criteria, previous grants, how to apply and a sample application.
What we fund
We support work run by and for communities facing discrimination and injustice and work that aims to create systemic change. We fund work carried out by individuals and small grassroots groups in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England that find it difficult to get funding elsewhere. We’re looking for work that creates change in society, rather than traditional support and services work. Read more.
What we’ve funded in the past
Have a look at our previous grants to get a better idea of the kind of work we support.
How to apply
To apply for a grant of up to £5,000 you need to answer 5 questions in no more than 2 pages. The deadline for applications is 5pm Monday 8 September. Read more.
Please get in touch if you need support due to this being your first time of applying for funding, if you’re unsure of what is required or if you face other challenges, (e.g. English is not your mother tongue or you are not confident using a computer). We have members who can assist you. You can also call 0300 123 1965 or 07767 126 915 to answer the application questions over the phone.
How it works
Our members decide collectively which applications we fund. We have an Advisory Group who look at applications first. The Advisory Group members look at applications that are relevant to their own community or identity, for example, disabled people in our membership look at applications relating to disability issues. Their feedback on the applications is shared with the rest of the members to guide their scoring.
In early November we will let you know whether your application is being considered for a small or larger grant. Grants of up to £1,000 are given out at this stage. If you are being considered for a grant of over £1,000 we’ll ask you a few more questions and invite you, along with other applicants and members, to come to a meeting where we will all take part in deciding how the funding is shared out. The meeting is planned for Saturday 6 December. We will talk with you about covering costs of coming to the meeting, if needed.
Would you like to become a member?
We are also open for member applications. If you’d like to take part in deciding which applications receive funds in our next funding round please apply before Monday 4 August. Read more.
We need donations
We can only open for applications when we have raised enough money. We welcome donations large and small, and particularly monthly donations as they help us plan for the future. Please donate if you can, so we can keep supporting those taking action for a just and equal world. Read more.
Please help us reach people and groups who don’t normally hear about funding opportunities – share this post via social media and email but don’t forget to also tell people at meetings, events etc, especially if you know they are not often online. We have leaflets and cards we can send to anyone who can help distribute them to people and groups who might be interested in applying. Email info-@-edgefund.org.uk (without the dashes) if you can help. Thank you!
After a full year of funding and several month’s of review, we are celebrating the next phase of Edge Fund at an open event in Leicester.
Saturday 14th June, 5.30 – 9.30pm
The Secular Hall
75 Humberstone Gate
The building is wheelchair accessible.
Free entry (donations welcome)
Come along to hear more about Edge Fund, meet some members and find out how you can get involved. There will be performances from Rezz GoGetta, Brother X, Shareefa Energy, I Sis, Marcus Joseph, Boston Williams (The Orator), Calvin Jeffrey, Marlyce Aubrey and an open mic session. The event is being held in Leicester to encourage more people in the region to apply for funds and become members.
Get in touch if you need help with travel costs, we may be able to help.
Please share widely and RSVP to email@example.com.