Transparency, accountability and democracy
Existing financial and political systems benefit the privileged few and put profit and economic growth before people and the environment. To challenge these inequalities effectively, we believe it is critical that decisions are made collectively, by those who donate money and those who receive it. Therefore the Edge Fund membership consists of donors, activists and members of communities facing oppression and injustice who make decisions together as equals. We also include the applicants themselves in the decision-making. Through this approach we create opportunities for people and groups to build alliances with each other, and particularly those they might not normally cross paths with, and to share their learning and experiences.
Transparency and accountability are crucial to the success of democratic processes. Key decisions and discussions at meetings will be minuted and shared publicly.
Barriers to funding
Edge Fund is committed to removing as many barriers to funding as possible. Barriers include: funding being restricted to people in ‘the right networks’; groups and communities not knowing that the funding exists; groups and communities with language and literacy issues; the need to complete complex, written application and reporting forms that often use jargon; and organisations and activists being regarded as ‘too radical’.
We will reach out beyond the networks best-known to our members and encourage groups and communities to present themselves in ways that are most suitable for them and that allow them to express themselves fully.
Supporting unfunded independent groups
We are an alternative fund for groups who find that traditional sources of funding are closed to them due to their radical approach. We believe that many of those seeking to bring about social change fail to address the underlying systems and processes that create inequalities in our society; and that because the underlying system is not challenged it is relatively easy for them to secure financial support from conservative funders. This is not the case for those looking for real and lasting radical change.
Groups and individuals are more creative, dynamic and accountable to communities when they work at grassroots level and are truly independent of influence from funders, government, corporations and the media. Therefore, we prioritise funding for grassroots and unfunded groups.
We believe that grants should be given with maximum flexibility and with trust that the recipient will use the funds effectively. However, we also recognise that supporters need at least some information about how donations are used and we will develop close working relationships with grantees to enable us to acquire this information without imposing time-consuming reporting requirements.
Where our funding comes from
We are a new, small fund set up with donations from a few individuals. We aim to be funded by many individuals and groups giving both large and small amounts. Funds directly acquired through exploitative or environmentally destructive activities will not be accepted (see donor’s agreement). We will not take money from any groups or individuals if that means going against our aims and values. Decisions on whether to accept donations will be made by the members on a case by case basis.
We are committed to equality, and recognise the inherent inequalities involved in philanthropy. If society’s inequalities were to be dissolved, the philanthropy of the wealthy would no longer exist. We are committed to creating new and more sustainable sources of funding based on the solidarity of the many, rather than the generosity of the few. We also aim to challenge traditional grant-making values and practices by being pioneering and providing a model that can be followed by others.
Learning and evolving
Edge Fund is a pioneering, innovative project. We are willing to take risks in our structures and processes as well as in our funding decisions. We aim to be fluid and dynamic and to evaluate ourselves regularly so we can constantly evolve and try different approaches.