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12 March 2015 – minutes

Facilitating Group call 12 March 2015
Present: Nim, Yula, Ian, Sophie (input via email from Sami and Rose beforehand)
7.15 – 8.30pm

1. Merging values and systemic change statement
All agreed and happy with the current wording.

2. New wording on funding criteria
We agreed that we should have just one category that covers all kinds of systemic change. We talked about whether to use the more political language, which we thought might help the right groups, but ultimately felt that it was good to keep the language accessible. In the past, radical groups have still applied even without the more radical language and we do use it in the values statement (which we can refer people to). We agreed to add age to the list of factors. We would like to propose the wording below:

  • Edge Fund supports those taking action for a just, equitable and sustainable world. We fund work that challenges abuses of power and aims to bring an end to the systems that cause injustice. This could be our economic system, our political system, or any system that discriminates against people based on their identity or background (eg class, ability, gender, race, nationality, religion, sexuality, age or other factors).

3. How we make decisions outside of meetings
We agreed to ask members if the current way we make decisions outside of meetings is ok for now, until we get the chance to discuss it at a meeting.

4. Long-term funding
We felt it was better to get people’s ideas for this and find out if there is general support for it. If there is, we will need to develop the idea with a group of members.

5. Community Committees and Advisory Groups
We agreed to proposing to have two separate types of groups – one which is identity-based and one that is more about particular expertise. The Community Committees will serve to protect their community against applications affecting their community that they think are harmful (eg groups that are not community-led). It’s unlikely we’ll ever get Community Committees that are representative of all the views of each community. We agreed on the names for the groups although it might actually be clearer to come up with two different names. We agreed that for now we’d like to propose that the Community Committees and Advisory Groups follow the same process – eg they score applications first, then the rest of the members score.

We talked about the problematic nature of having a systemic change group. Who should be in that group? Who would decide what systemic change is for different communities? The systemic change group basically currently exists of anti-capitalists and anarchists (eg people working around economic and political system) which shows Edge’s narrow-minded in the past when considering what systems we want to change. However, we felt people working in these areas should still have a function within the scoring process just that it wouldn’t be called the ‘systemic change Advisory Group’, instead they would form part of the new Advisory Group based on expertise rather than identity.

[NB. This is the wording we’ve used in the past to describe people who are part of the systemic change/ radical politics Advisory Group: The environmentalist and radical activist communities are obviously different kinds of communities to the others listed here; they’ll be looking at the ‘systemic change’ applications. As a guide, we would describe ‘radical activists’ as people who either through their tactics and actions (e.g. direct action, civil disobedience etc.) or their political aims (e.g. anti-capitalism, anarchism, libertarian/anti-authoritarian, being explicitly against the police etc.), or both, are outside of mainstream politics and civil society and, as well as other difficulties (such as being targeted by the police/state), have difficulty accessing funds for their work].

6. People from funded groups scoring applications
We agreed to propose to members that we allow people from groups we’ve funded in the past to come along to meetings organised for members to discuss applications. They would be given the values statement and funding criteria and afterwards invited to score applications. Without doing this, it is doubtful whether we’d have enough members to do another funding round. This would be proposed as a trial.

7. Sending out the survey
We’d really like as many members as possible to complete the survey. We will do an audio recording of it and offer to send by post. We’d like to get 50 people to do it as there are some really important decisions to be made (particularly the values statement and funding criteria). As an incentive to members, we will say that we will not announce another funding round until we have 50 responses. We can then give it a 2 months for people to apply, during which time we might just get some new staff in place to help with outreach.

8. For next time
We need to be clearer on what groups have responsibility for what. It seemed there was some frustration at the London meeting that things weren’t moving along fast enough between meetings, although perhaps there may have been some resentment towards the Facilitating Group for making too many decisions?

We also need to get back on the job of getting members to complete the member survey. We need to call up members and send it by post to get as many people as possible to do it. One good reason for doing this is to better understand people’s needs around communication etc. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to print off emails to the members list every month and post them to people who don’t like getting lots of emails or who aren’t often in front of a computer.

9. Rates of pay for Nim and Isis for facilitation of recent meetings
We agreed that, if members agree to the increase in salary/ hourly rates via the survey, that this will be applied as of the date of the first member meeting (since members did agree to it at that meeting).  Therefore, Nim and Isis will be paid the higher amount.

10. Next meetings
The next to first Monday’s of the month fall on bank holidays. So, the next meetings will be:

  • Monday 13 April 7pm
  • Monday 11 May 7pm
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