Key definitions

  • Definitions : Funding Round 16

    June 21, 2024 4:09 PM

    Edge Believes... that true revolution will not be driven by NGOs or organisations funded by national or local government or state institutions.

    We subscribe to what writer Eduardo Galeano said:

    I don’t believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is so vertical. It goes from the top to the bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other person. I have a lot to learn from other people".

    We know that each of these terms may hold different interpretations to every group and is thus contextual. We propose the following definitions for the assessment process during our funding round 16 taking place this year: 

    Systemic change

    Edge Fund solely supports organisations/ groups that address the roots of injustice through their aims, actions, and activities. Unlike reform work (see below for definition), systemic change and revolutionary work focusing on envisioning and working towards radical change,   mobilising people's power to resist state-sponsored oppression, thus creating new world alternatives to the unfair worlds we live in. 

    So think: 

    1. How does your group envision a world when oppression and injustice no longer exists? 
    2. How does your group operate, build, mobilise to reach that vision?
    3. How is it composed/led/voiced by people affected by the forms of oppression and injustice your group fights against (with lived experience: see definition below)?


    Systemic change vs Reform work

    When a group/organisation is working for reform, it means it is taking action to improve an existing system or institution. Working beyond reform and for systemic change means aiming to replace those systems and institutions with something more just and equal, and creating a world where those institutions or systems are no longer needed. 

    For example, an organisation working for reforms to the immigration system may lobby the government to push for a fairer system, such as better conditions in immigration detention centres, whereas those working beyond reform would be looking to end national borders so there is freedom of movement for all and detention centres no longer exist. (Based on the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust definition of reform) 

    Systemic change model vs Charity model

    (In this funding round 16, charities may also apply for and EF grant, but they will have to reply to additional questions)

    Edge Fund believes..

    The mainstream charity model operates under the regulation of the Charity Commission,  prioritises charitable activities such as service provision (see below for definition), and bans political campaigning as a primary focus. Edge Fund believes that centring political aims, complemented by solidarity work (i.e. campaigning, direct action or engaging in  Solidarity: see below for definition), is important to achieve systemic change.

    Because of these regulations, charities tend to be hierarchical organisations with power in a few hands. This system and governmental regulations privilege the voices of 'professionals' over those with lived experience.


    Solidarity vs service provision

    Service provision: a foundational element of the charitable model. It usually requires funds to work within an existing unjust institution or system using reform work.  Service provision aims to become institutionalised. They may impose conditions on people to be supported such as ‘who deserves or doesn’t deserve’ support.

    Solidarity: As adjacent to systemic change work.  When people in an area, or a community, come together to support one another, collectively meeting each other’s needs, especially marginalised groups without the help of official bodies like the state or NGOs. It often arises due to neglect of government provision for certain groups of people.

    E.g: A British group that focuses on providing a service such as housing advice and does not campaign against current housing policies;  operates differently from a group led by migrants that engages in mutual aid giving housing advice to and with undocumented migrants in their local community and campaigns against housing policies.


    Grassroots Groups:

    Social movements are networks of groups and organisations collectively working to bring about social and political change. Grassroots movements are led by the affected communities. Some recent high profiles examples of social movements include #metoo, Black Lives Matter, Occupy, Schools Strike for Climate, Indigenous land rights movement, Trans rights movement, trade union organising and disability justice organising. There are many different social movements that aim to make changes around all types of issues, ranging from climate justice, labour, racism, disability rights, immigration and many more. Some more well known movements include the abolitionist movement to end slavery and the suffragettes, who fought for women’s voting rights. (Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust definition)