A commitment to invest in social movements for a thriving UK
JRF is committed to speeding up and supporting the transition to a more equitable and just future where people and planet can flourish. We’ve been considering how we can be an active, thoughtful supporter of social movements confronting the deep inequalities in our society by strengthening the voice and action of people in their communities.
What do we mean by Social Movements?
Social movements are led by citizens using collective efforts to bring about consequential change to our social, economic or political system. To be successful they need widespread voluntary participation to educate, serve, organise and mobilise people to create and sustain change.
A key building block of social change movements is power building in communities through the practice of grassroots community organising. Recent examples of the power of grassroots community organising include The Yes Campaign in the Irish Equal Marriage Referendum of 2015 and the fight to ensure fair asylum and participation in society through a fairer settlement process. Both examples successfully deployed grassroots organising to build winning movements.
Partnering with Civic Power Fund
To explore the power and promise of community organising further we recently partnered with the Civic Power Fund (the first UK donor fund dedicated to community organising) to bring together Community Organisers and Funders at the St Thomas’ Centre in Manchester. Together we embarked on a day of discussion, challenge, relationship building, and thinking on how we can ensure more and better funding for grassroots community organising.
The conference has been a catalyst for two key areas of work in JRF’s movement building stream:
- Scoping a multi-year strategy to fund grassroots civic action, in conjunction with other social justice and like-minded funders.
- The exploration of how JRF can contribute to movement effectiveness with a particular focus on knitting together insight, wisdom and ideas from multiple viewpoints, creating the conditions for greater fusion between people working for progressive social change.
As the work progresses, we’ll share more widely, but for now, we are excited to be committing publicly to supporting social movements. We are bringing a learning mindset to the work, cognisant of the power and privilege inherent in our brand and fully committed to deepen our anti-racist practices and to centre questions of intersectionality, equity and justice as we shape this programme of work.