This was a year of strategising for Edge Fund as we explored new proposals for how we give out grants (long-term and emergency) and reviewed our financial position and fundraising to take the organisation into a more sustainable place. We also reviewed our participatory grant giving model and looked for ways to ensure we are engaging activists and people working on the front lines of grassroots organising.
Year ending 31st January 2018
Funding Round 7:
We launched the round in March 2017 and received over 200 applications which reflected the clearer guidelines we had written to ensure that we had fewer groups applying who would be ineligible.
In order to have more participation during the scoring process from grassroots voices, we trialled inviting previously funded groups to help us score applications. This proved to be a success and will continue.
We introduced a Sex Workers Advisory Group to reflect our position on being a pro-sex work organisation that funds groups who are sex-worker led. We welcomed voices from Sex Workers Advocacy Resistance Movement (SWARM) and Sex Workers Breakfasts.
Our Funding Day happened in July 2017 in Birmingham and was well attended by short-listed groups and members. You can read a report written by a Black Lives Matter UK member here.
Funding Round 8:
We launched our funding round in October 2017 with further information on our website available for applicants on our Frequently Asked Questions page.
In January 2018 we shortlisted 15 groups for large grants and 16 groups for small grants.
You can find a list of the shortlisted groups here.
Our Funding Day took place in February in London.
The membership explored proposals for emergency grants and long-term grants and research was undertaken with groups in Scotland on the viability of the long-term funding proposal. We aim to being implementing it in the next financial year.
A concerted effort was made this year to do some much needed fundraising with only two funding rounds of income left in our accounts. We worked on creating a fundraising video that celebrated our five year anniversary and explained our participatory grant giving model as well as highlighting having supported over 250 groups. Our fundraising campaign was launched in March 2018.
Take a look at our fundraising video here:
Influencing Funders Group
In 2017/18, the IF group was involved in several initiatives. We put together a basic strategy, outlining our purpose, priorities and activities. We began to consider the relationships we've built with an eye not only on the potential to influence funders, but potentially also to gain funds for Edge and the groups we support. We took part in several events, meetings and online activities. Susan and Rose attended an ARIADNE event for human rights funders, focussed on social movements, and facilitated a session that included presenting Edge Fund. Rose also attended a small event for funders on the Future of Civil Society in the UK, and Edge Fund was subsequently profiled in an interim report for the initiative. Isis spoke with a Brazilian group of human rights funders who want to set up an similar initiative to Edge Fund in Brazil. Susan and Isis presented Edge Fund to the new Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust Director, and Rose met with their staff to put them in touch with Edge Fund members working on refugee issues. Edge was represented at the European Foundation Centre conference where Rose supported an event on participatory grantmaking and spoke in a session on non-hierarchical leadership. Isis and Rose attended the EDGE Funders Alliance conference, and Isis spoke on the closing plenary panel. Natasha and Rose continued to assist the new European participatory grantmaker, FundAction, to launch and start distributing grants. Isis did a session at the Network for Social Change meeting supported by Patrick, which included work on power and privilege.
Outreach and Events
Along with our AGM and face to face Facilitators Group meetings and attending a number of conferences and community gatherings to discuss Edge Fund’s work and meet with other groups we also:
- Celebrated our five year anniversary with a small party in the evening at the Hackney Showroom.
- Scotland Branch Application Workshop
We supported the members of eight scotland-based groups with their application to our funding round.There were members of DPAC Glasgow, Anti-Capitalist Queers, Mixed Race Families Scotland, Planning Democracy, and several other organisations, who were bringing excellent applications to talk about.
- See Influencing Funders section.
Members and Staff
We transitioned from having three Regional Organisers to two Regional Organisers - Natasha Nkonde and Jon Black - working three days a week. The remit of their work was also further defined. Natasha Nkonde will focus on Fundraising and Communications and Jon Black to focus more on Administration. Both still work on supporting members, and groups applying according to their regions.
Our membership is constantly fluctuating
- We trialled inviting previously funded groups to score applications although not necessarily to become members. This was to ensure that we have the voices of the people who are doing the organising and have the analysis and lived experiences central to Edge Fund. We also recognise that activists and organisers are burnt out and busy doing the grassroots work
- Created an annual membership survey to have better understanding of our membership, particularly who is/isn’t active
- Our Facilitating Group shifted with Yula Burin resigning and Rose Longhurst taking a break. We welcomed Louise Foreman and Didem Incegoz to the Facilitating Group for the first time. Previous FG members Patrick Boase, Isis Amlak and Mark Brown continued in their roles.
- Sophie Pritchard one of our founders, Secretary and one time employee took a step back in her many roles.
Financial Accounts for 2017/8 can be found here.