Giving Compass' Take:

• Hannah Paterson covers The Other Foundation's participatory grantmaking strategy through meetings of civilians, foundation members, and media for systematic change.

• Are you ready to engage in participatory grantmaking? How can you engage in participatory grantmaking during the pandemic? 

• Read more about the role of participatory grantmaking in philanthropy.

For me, one of the biggest questions raised by The Other Foundation and their model of participatory grantmaking was how you move peer reviewers away from the here and now to focus on more strategic systems change.

This was particularly pertinent for The Other Foundation which focuses on LGBTI+ issues across Southern Africa, where, in places, this would involve funding legislative challenges rather than service providers to bring about legal protections, including decriminalizing homosexuality. For other issues, the field-building that participatory grantmaking provides to a sector by strengthening and upscaling is enough to tweak systems to be more accessible or provide better provisions.

Whilst in South Africa I had the privilege to attend their Kopano, a gathering to address an important issue. This opportunity to bring a large number of activists, change-makers and staff from the Foundation together to learn, convene, challenge and set the context is, as I have realized, a fundamental aspect of the participatory nature of their work. It is an excellent example of bringing knowledge from the grassroots, lived experience, and learned skills together to create the greatest change as a collective.

This gathering of applicants, grant holders, and community also allows collective accountability for those who have received grants as well as providing an incentive to showcase successes as many of the peer reviewers will be selected from those attending the Kopano.

How do we facilitate these conversations in a way that both pushes the sector to think more strategically but is also peer-led? The Other Foundation achieves this by bringing together 30 of the sector’s leading activists and thinkers for a smaller pre-Kopano with The Other Foundation to define the key issues and develop an outline of the agenda for the main Kopano.

Read the full article about systematic change through participatory grantmaking by Hannah Paterson at Medium.