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Welcome to the Giving Thought Podcast, a bi-weekly exploration of trends in global philanthropy and civil society from the Charities Aid Foundation’s in-house think-tank, Giving Thought.

In each episode your host Rhodri Davies (formerly with co-host Adam Pickering) explores a big issue, theme or trend and analyses what it means for philanthropy and civil society around the world.

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Jul 28, 2020

In this episode - the third in our mini-series on “European philanthropy during and after COVID” – we talk to Julie Broome, Director of the Ariadne network about philanthropic funding for social change and rights issues now and in the future. Including:

  • What is social change funding? What are its particular features?
  • Is it limited to a niche subset of funders, or something that all can do to some extent?
  • What is the history and current landscape for social change and rights-focussed philanthropy across Europe?
  • How do the cultures, histories and legal/policy environments for philanthropy vary across Europe? How does this affect the work of social change funders?
  • What kind of responses have we seen from social change funders across Europe to the challenges posed by covid-19?
  • Has Covid-19 (and government responses to it) exacerbated existing rights issues?
  • Will we see new rights issues emerge as the political imperatives of the pandemic lead to governments either accidentally or deliberating introducing new measures (e.g. on data collection and usage) that could further close the space for civil society in the future?
  • What is the role of infrastructure and support organisations in helping civil society organisations and funders navigate and adapt to a rapidly-changing environment?
  • Has the Covid-19 pandemic and the need to coordinate responses effectively increased awareness of the value of infrastructure?
  • What elements of infrastructure are required for a healthy culture of philanthropy and a vibrant civil society?
  • Do we need to make a renewed case for the value of infrastructure and the need to ensure it is properly funded?
  • Major challenges like the climate crisis, global inequality or the impact of technological development raise difficult questions about whether a pragmatic approach of working with existing systems can ever be enough; or whether we need to embrace more radical, transformative change efforts. How do social change and rights funders approach this thorny problem?
  • We are seeing particular focus right now on the idea of social change movements, many of which have decentralised or non-hierarchical governance models (e.g. XR, #MeToo etc). Are there challenges for traditional funders in engaging with such movements? How can social change funders with experience in this area help others to navigate the challenges?
  • Why is core-cost funding so important when supporting social change movements?


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