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Now What?!

Invitations Blog

October 12 - November 20, 2020

Collaborative Funding for a Leap Forward: Responding to Today's Moment

Updated: Apr 10, 2020

“This is a fork in the road moment. Our work now is to fight like hell for the transformative changes that our communities need. Even as we face the tragic losses of this moment, we have a chance to take a massive leap forward--toward a new economy. Let’s come together like our lives depended on it.”


Join the Thriving Resilient Communities Collaboratory (TRCC) and the Threshold Foundation to explore ways that new models of philanthropy and investing can address the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis today in ways that also build long-term resilience, aka “disaster collectivism.” We'll explore funding models that share power between funders and the movement “field” and connect funders interested in using them.

In recent books like Decolonizing Wealth and Winners Take All, philanthropy has been asked to take notice of the ways in which it perpetuates injustice and inequality. Similarly, the Just Transition principles of Deep Democracy direct funders to empower those who are most affected by decisions to be the ones who make them. These ideas radically re-imagine philanthropy -- something the TRCC and Threshold have been successfully exploring together since 2014.

This is a two-part invitation for 1) those who may be interested in getting practical collaborative funding experience by partnering in the successful TRC Accelerator and 2) those who want to explore new structures to fund together. There are open calls scheduled for each focus. If you’d like to brainstorm 1/1 or in a small group, please contact TRCC Stewards Leslie Meehan and Ben Roberts

Partnering with the Current TRC Accelerator Collaborative Funding Program

The 2020 program is in full swing, with a set of fourteen proposals available by April 18, followed by an open peer review process and a Council meeting to allocate the aligned funding among these organizations. Join us to share collaborative funding success stories, learn about the TRC Accelerator (see more info below), and explore practical ways to partner today.

OPEN CALL: Collaborative Funding Interactive Webinar

Apr 10 1-2pm PDT (with optional 30 minutes for continued conversation) Local time, add to your calendar, and RSVP here

Share democratic funding success stories, showcase the TRC Accelerator Case Study, and brainstorm ways to collaborate

OPEN CALL: TRC Accelerator Partner Briefing

Week of April 23 TBD

Hear overview of the TRC Accelerator and the proposal docket, showcase proposals, and discuss participation in online proposal reviews (May) and funding (summer/fall)

New Structures to Fund Together

This crisis challenges us to develop the capacity to move large amounts of money and other resources out into our communities in highly complex and differentiated ways, much as a forest distributes the rain that falls on it, with little to no guidance from the clouds. Over the six weeks of Now What?! the TRCC will host a dialogue to identify:

  • What is happening now in terms of collaborative and democratic funding work in response to COVID-19 to which additional support can be channeled

  • What the potential is for gathering a group of partner initiatives to launch something new.

OPEN CALL: April 7 1-2:30 PDT New Structures

Join us on Sutra for Text-based Dialogue

In addition to the Open Calls and the invitation to request a 1-1 conversation, you can also engage on these topics via the Collaborative Funding for a Leap Forward "circle" on the Sutra platform. Click here to join the conversation.


This initiative builds resilience in communities through a funding network. It has distributed over $1.3M among 60+ regional and national grasstops projects across the USA since 2012. The Accelerator empowers a network of trusted relationships, as well as a learning cohort and a funding vehicle. The Accelerator shares funding power through a peer Council of both funders and resilience field leaders. In the words of Council field members, the Accelerator “successfully demonstrates what decolonized philanthropy looks like.” The Accelerator is hosted by the Thriving Resilient Communities Collaboratory and co-sponsored by the Threshold Foundation and other aligned funders. Here is a draft white paper of the TRC Accelerator funding model.


Inspiration from the Just Transition thought leaders at Movement Generation

"This is a time to lean into units of organization that make us more resilient. During this time of crisis, people may cling to the units of organization that work well for patriarchy and capitalism— ie. individuals, couples, nuclear families, and individual households. But resilience requires that we build up other forms of organization and mechanisms of organizing ourselves that go in many directions. Like the pods that Mia Mingus and the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective have been teaching us to create to address child sexual abuse and other intimate violence/harm. Or the mutual aid networks set up by the Disability Justice Culture Club during the PG&E shutoffs as a call for Power to Live. The mutual aid network set up in Seattle early into the COVID-19 crisis provides multiple ways for people to contribute and receive based on a range of needs and resources. Resilience reminds us that diversity is our best defense. The binaries and hierarchies of the crumbling system don’t do justice to the wide range of needs each of us has and the ways we can each contribute. And overreliance on any one form of organizing ourselves could be our downfall."

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