Just in time before the holidays, the Guerrilla Foundation made its first round of grants and we are happy to present you our new (and some old) partner organisations! You can soon find them on our website, too. However, we thought that a small sneak peak wouldn’t hurt and will also tell you a little bit about why we are funding these organisations.
The CEO has been active for 20 years now and is one of the most successful and established organizations trying to curb and counterbalance corporate lobbying at the EU level. Given their great track record it was an easy decision to continue funding their ‘Lobbycracy’ program.
For next year, CEO wants to focus on corporation’s influence on decision-making in the EU Council via lobbying the governments of specific states. This means that the organization will have to further strengthen its collaboration with other watchdog and campaigning groups across Europe which makes it a perfect fit for our goal to contribute to the creation of a vibrant pan-European civil society.
Our new partner organization DICO is working at the opposite end from high-level EU lobbying: grassroots community organizing (CO). CO is a tried and tested method for building grassroots power by bringing people in a specific locality together across political, ethnic and faith divides (more about the history of CO here). While popular in the US and other Anglo-saxon countries, community organizing is still rather little known in Europe.
In the past 15 years DICO has successfully implemented CO in three Berlin districts and also brought the concept to Cologne. Our funding supports a new community organizer position with the goal to establish another functioning community platform in Berlin Spandau.
We believe that community organizing is an effective tool to tackle the lack of social cohesion and trust in democratic institutions and to rebuild civil society in a way that goes way beyond party politics and single issue campaigns.
DPZ is a progressive Think Tank founded in 2007 in Berlin that works on topics like European integration, innovation and sustainability, the future of work, and democracy of the future. We feel they are special as a think tank in a couple of ways. First, they manage to develop policy advice based on progressive ideals that is valued even by conservative political parties. Second, they use innovative tools to bring together actors from civil society, academics and politicians to find solutions that legitimize and develop our political system further. Finally, they are very internationally oriented and run pan-EU projects (like Dialogue on Europe) which is something we consider important.
We are financing a pilot study for a larger project to be conducted in spring 2017 that aims at developing policy recommendations for the re-design of democratic institutions, structures, processes, and mindsets to revitalize democracy.
The largely female Share Action team believes that there is an overwhelming potential for mainstream investment (e.g. pension funds) to create positive change. They want to build a movement for responsible investment amongst civil society, the industry and everyday savers. Share Action hopes to change the incentives in the financial system towards a long-term sustainability orientation and is also working with policy-makers to change the rules of the game.
The organization is rather unique in the field in the way they combine research and lobbying for investment system reform with a strong grassroots and network organising orientation.
Our funding will strengthen Share Action’s European Policy and Networks Program, especially the European Responsible Investment Network and their efforts to influence individual asset managers.
The Smart CSOs Lab is out on a mission to make more civil society organisations (CSOs) agents of a just transition by connecting their activities and campaigns more clearly to root causes and systemic change objectives. You can find their Re.imagining Activism Toolkit and other resources on their website.
Improving the work of existing organisations is a great leverage point for our goal to contribute to systemic change and we are very happy to work and learn together with the Smart CSOs team. Our funds support a larger 2-year action research project labelled ‘Pathways to the Great Transition’ that will further develop and expand the teaching and learning resources produced by the Smart CSOs Lab.
Last, but not least, a Polish grassroots movement with a rather bulky name but a great mission: to prevent the opening of new lignite (coal) open pit mines in Poland and transforming the Polish economy from fossil fuels to renewables.
With a minimal staff and many volunteers, they connect and support anti-mining activists across Poland and increasingly reach out to similar movements across Europe. We want to support the professionalisation and European networking of the organisation to help the movement grow beyond reactive local campaigns and move more towards realizing their agenda of presenting alternatives.
We look forward to beginning the new year with such an awesome set of partner organisations! Our next grant cycle is planned for spring 2017 and we are already in the process of reaching out to new exciting organisations.
Watch out for an upcoming website update with a description of our sharpened programmatic focus. But more about that soon!