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6 June 2014 minutes

EDGE FUND Meeting with Charles Leopold Mayer Foundation

At San Marino Café Brixton London SW9

At 09.30 am

On Friday 6th June

Present: Nicolas Krausz (NK)CLMF, Ian Jones (IJ) Samarendra Das (SD) Vivienne Hayes (VH) Edge Fund

Nicolas (NK) began by explaining about the foundation he works for and the ideas he wanted to share with Edge Fund.

Areas of focus for the foundation are;

  • Governance-local and internationally
  • Human responsibility to strengthen Human Rights declaration
  • Transition to a sustainable society- for example Agro Ecology and New Economic Models
  • Launched an EU network of progressive foundations ( attended by Edge in France in March 2014)

Identified that there is little or no political contextualising to current networks of funders in Europe, and with the current increase of the extreme right in Europe then this needs to be included in funders deliberations and understanding of the political background impacting on the environment in which they operate.

CLMF distributes 8 million Euros in grants annually

CLMF wishes to create an affinity group of progressive foundations which does not currently exist in Europe with the following aims:

  • Share thinking
  • Discuss common strategies
  • Learn from each other and work with differences

NK explained how he had met with a small German Foundation who support German Grassroots organisations, using a participative approach, matching donors to organisations. Also they have created a network of 14 German foundations working together on the patterns for a progressive philanthropy.

NK explained there is also a network in the USA of progressive foundations called EDGE Funders Alliance (!) who have created a common thinking- so changing mindsets of foundations, for example where foundations make their investments and have launched a campaign last year for Foundations to stop investment in Fossil Fuel. The idea is to bring more of these discussion in Europe and to use EDGE Alliance as a common place to host them.

A discussion regarding where foundations make investments took place and how these might become more ethical and in line with foundations aims.

NK explained his aim to hold a European conference in 2016 to bring together like-minded progressive foundations from all over the world.

There was a discussion on whether it is possible to invest funds in Global stock markets without investing in companies that do not act in an ethical way according to our belief systems.

IJ (Edge) suggested that either we identify or “set up” an ethical venture that has a portfolio of ethical investments.

VH (Edge) mentioned social housing as a way of investing and achieving social aims.

NK wanted to identify 4 fields for discussion at the planned conference, which would include a theory of change, focussing on grass roots movements, although the grassroots were not only players; NK mentioned a grantee called Financewatch who scrutinise spending and regulation of EU and Banks,.

The meeting was very productive and it was felt there was some common ground.

VH agreed to type up the notes, distribute to attendees and Sophie (Edge) for agreement.

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