Ariadne’s Thread – June 2021

Ariadne’s Thread – June 2021
June 15, 2021 Hannah Stevens

June 2021

Ariadne’s Thread is a monthly update of events, briefings and research for social change and human rights funders. 

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Ariadne News & Events

Photo by Mathias P.R. Reding on Unsplash

LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER: GRANT SKILLS WEEK – FUNDING WITH A RACIAL JUSTICE LENS: What does the call for greater racial justice mean for European social change and human rights funders? How can funders help promote racial justice, even if they don’t have a dedicated funding programme on racial issues? During this Grant Skills Week on funding with a racial justice lens, we will examine what ‘structural or systemic racism’ means and how that concept might be relevant to your work, regardless of the primary focus of your funding, and we will explore the particular challenges facing anti-racism work in Europe. During the event, you will have the opportunity to hear from leading racial justice campaigners from across Europe and the UK and connect with peers who have been grappling with similar questions. This event is jointly organised by Ariadne and the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity (PRE). For a full list of speakers and their biographies, click here. Join us on Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th June. Click here to register.

BOOK LAUNCH: MODERN GRANTMAKING – PRACTICAL ADVICE AND REFORMIST INSPIRATION: Join us to hear from Ariadne members Tom Steinberg and Gemma Bull as they share insights from their new book, Modern Grantmaking: A Guide for Funders Who Believe Better is Possible. As former grantmakers, Gemma and Tom know that most people working for funders get little in the way of support and training about how to do a job that is enormously more difficult than it looks from the outside. So, they talked to over a hundred funding and non-profit experts to find out what better grantmaking really means. Using this vast trawl of expertise, the authors have written a book that’s packed with answers to real world questions. But Modern Grantmaking is more than just a list of hints and tips: it’s also a call for all grantmakers to think of themselves as reformers of the grantmaking profession. Gemma and Tom call on funders to embrace the five Modern Grantmaking values of humility, equity, evidence, service and diligence. They tell stories and celebrate reformers in diverse parts of the funding universe who aren’t content to do grantmaking ‘as it’s always been done’ and who are pushing back and driving change. Join us on Tuesday 13th July, 15:00 – 16:00 BST | 16:00 – 17:00 CEST | 10:00 – 11:00 EST. To register, click here.

BLOG SERIES: UPROOTING RACISM IN GRANTMAKING: In this blog series for Alliance Magazine, Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Jane Tanner, Kamna Muralidharan, and Kate Hitchcock reflect on key learnings from some uncomfortable conversations about racism among European foundations. The authors participated in a series of anti-racism sessions last year hosted by Healing Solidarity and supported by Ariadne. In this series, they each share their experience of Healing Solidarity’s cohort learning (and un-learning) model to support development of anti-racist grantmaking practices.

NEW BLOG: IN THE WRONG HANDS. WHAT IF THE FAR-RIGHT TAKES OVER FRANCE? In this blog, Florent Gonthier, Ariadne’s Programme and Events Assistant, explores the rise of the far right in France and its implication on the upcoming French elections.

(DIGITAL POWER) OFFICE HOURS: MEET WITH MAYA: Maya Richman, the project lead of Ariadne’s digital power programme, would like to offer ‘office hours’ for the month of June/July for Ariadne members. Are you interested in discussing issues related to technology and data and the intersection of human rights? Are you looking for resources to inform your grantmaking but don’t know where to start? Book a 30-minute conversation with Maya here.

APPLY NOW! DIGITAL POWER STRATEGIC COHORT: Last year we launched the first iteration of the Digital Power Strategic Cohort process. We have since worked with 11 members to support their learning journey, and tackle sticky issues related to organisational development and strategic grantmaking on the intersections of technology, data, and human rights. We’ve talked about participatory grantmaking, CRMs, algorithmic decision-making systems and more! The thematic focus is tailored to the group and the individual member. We plan to have a new cohort every 3 – 4 months and would love any members interested to fill out our survey so we can include you in a future group. The next cohort starts July and runs for roughly 3 months. Click here to apply now.

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: SCOPING STUDY ON DIGITAL RIGHTS FUNDER STRATEGIES & ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: Ariadne, Mozilla and Ford Foundation are pleased to issue this open call for proposals for a consultancy to conduct a Scoping Study on Digital Rights Funder Strategies & Environmental Justice. This consultancy is intended to help funders in the digital rights field develop better grantmaking strategies that address the intersection of digital rights and climate justice issues. The work should be completed by the end of 2021 with preliminary findings shared by September 2021. For more information, please download the Terms of Reference. Deadline for applications: 9th July 2021 (17:00 BST).

*To register for Ariadne events, your institution must be a member organisation of Ariadne. For questions regarding your membership status, please contact Hannah Stevens.


New Research, Articles and Judgements

2021 State of Civil Society Report: The 10th edition of the CIVICUS State of Civil Society report focuses on civil society action and developments affecting civil society in 2020, looks back over 10 years of civil society activity and highlights key ideas for action in civil society in 2021 and beyond. Against the backdrop of the pandemic, the report covers five key areas of civil society action during 2020: the global struggle for racial justice; challenging exclusion and claiming rights; demands for economic and environmental justice; democracy under the pandemic; and civil society in the international arena.

Shell’s historic loss in The Hague is a turning point in the fight against big oil: Tessa Khan, international human rights lawyer working on climate change litigation (and speaker at the 2019 Ariadne Grant Skills Day!) has written an article for The Guardian about the significance of the recent judgment against Shell. ‘The oil giants that have helped drive the climate crisis are finally being forced to take responsibility for their actions.’ See also, article, ‘ExxonMobil and Chevron suffer shareholder rebellions over climate.’

Human rights have lost their monopoly as a framework for reform: In this article for OpenGlobalRights, Samuel Moyn argues that human rights have lost not their importance, but their imaginative near-monopoly as a framework for reform. He asks how they fit in to today’s environment; an ideological and mobilizational environment in which not just stiffer resistance to human rights has mounted from their enemies, but also plausible competition and supplementation for human rights among reformers. 

People of colour have a new enemy: techno-racism: As protesters take to the streets to fight for racial equality, experts in digital technology are quietly tackling a lesser known but related injustice. It’s called techno-racism. This article explores how it’s baked into some of the technology we encounter every day. See also, article, ‘Google’s new dermatology app wasn’t designed for people with darker skin.’

Rainbow Map reveals widespread and almost complete stagnation: Published last month, ILGA-Europe’s annual Rainbow Europe Map and Index, which ranks the legal and policy situation of LGBTI people in 49 European countries, found that over the past 12 months, advances in LGBTI rights have come to an almost complete standstill. Malta occupies the number one spot for the sixth year in a row (at 94%); Belgium comes second place for the fourth time (at 74%); and Luxembourg comes third place for the third year in a row (at 72%). The three countries at the other end of the scale are Azerbaijan (2%), Turkey (4%), and Armenia (8%), exactly the same as last year. Click to view the map and read the recommendations.

“It feels like maybe I won’t ever go to school again” Children, parents, and teachers describe the impact of COVID school closures: The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted education for around 90 percent of the world’s school children. Students, parents, and teachers in 60 countries talked to Human Rights Watch about how school shutdowns affected children’s right to education. How does your pandemic experience compare with that of people around the world? What if you had to live like this forever? This interactive report looks at themes such as: mental health, inadequate devices for internet and children with disabilities.

The Pratasevich case is an urgent reminder that Europe fails to protect exiles: In this article for openDemocracy, Thomas Rowley writes about how the operation to detain Raman Pratasevich is a call to action to protect journalists, dissidents and people seeking protection in Europe – at all costs

Why Roma migrants from Europe are taking rafts from Mexico to enter the U.S.: Scores of Romanians who are part of the Roma ethnic minority have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas in recent weeks to seek asylum. The migrants Reuters spoke to for this article said they were fleeing racism in Romania and wanted to seek asylum in the United States.

How to talk about ethnic profiling: A guide for campaigners: This guide from Liberties is for campaigners who wish to mobilise public support in favour of a ban on ethnic profiling.


Blogs and Other Sites of Interest

FILM: Sweatbox: Sweatbox is a 12-minute short film about 3 women who have been transported in a prison van from court to prison. Nina, Rachel and Steph share their stories as they sit outside HMP Bronzefield waiting to be let out, to be processed and to start their sentences. Sweatbox offers a glimpse into the experience of women as they are pulled away from their lives and transported to prison. Chloë Moss’s highly original Clean Break play has toured the UK in a prison van since its premiere at the Latitude Festival in 2015 and has been transformed into an electric adaptation for the screen. Content warnings: Strong language, substance abuse and withdrawal, self-harm, pregnancy, claustrophobia and family separation.  

WORKBOOK: ​Dismantling Racism Works: ​​This website is an online version of a workbook designed to support the Dismantling Racism workshop offered by training collaborative, Dismantling Racism Works. See also, workbook, (divorcing) White Supremacy Culture: ​Coming home to who we really are.

PODCAST: Silicon Valley, billionaires & philanthropy, with Teddy Schleifer: In this episode of the Giving Thought podcast, Rhodri Davies talks to Teddy Schleifer, Senior Reporter, Money & Influence at Recode (part of the Vox Media group), about billionaires, Silicon Valley and philanthropy.

BLOG: Advice for progressive billionaires who want to make the world better: In this Nonprofit AF blog, Vu Le shares his top eight tips for progressive billionaires considering being philanthropic, including: ‘stop believing money equals expertise’ and ‘fund organisations and movements led by marginalized communities.’ See also, blog, ‘20 subtle ways white supremacy manifests in non-profit and philanthropy.’

ARTICLE: This powerful exhibition is showcasing art from prisons in northern England: With prison populations in England and Wales on the rise and projected to increase to 98,700 by 2026, art as a means of self-expression has become more important than ever. This  article looks at ‘Soul Journey to Truth’ – an emotionally charged exhibition curated by Lady Unchained (Brenda Birungi), shining a light on the creative talent within prisons and secure settings, as well as people on probation in the North West of England.

VIDEO: The People’s Vaccine: A tongue-in-cheek video from The People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of 50+ organisations demanding that #COVID19 vaccines be freely available to everyone, everywhere. We need a #PeoplesVaccine, not a profit vaccine.

Do you have a great blog post, case study or podcast you’d like to contribute? We would love to feature it. Email Hannah Stevens at


Diving Deeper: Under the surface of LGBTI embassy funding data: This final brief in Global Philanthropy Project’s ‘Diving Deeper’ series examines the extent to which embassies are providing resources for local LGBTI movements, the types of organisations and issues that are supported, and best practice examples. At a time when major development assistance streams supporting LGBTI issues are being stretched and, in some instances, reduced, and when LGBTI organisations face funding shortages, this brief provides government donors and other advocates with evidence about how embassy funding can be used to support and strengthen local movements.

#FundingSoWhite: In April, #CharitySoWhite brought together white leaders from the funding sector to share their personal and professional journeys towards racial equity and justice. The session was chaired by Martha Awojobi of #CharitySoWhite and speakers included: Clare Kiely of Comic Relief, James Banks of London Funders, Lily Lewis of The Pocressi Initiative, and Mhairi Sharp of National Emergencies Trust. Participants also heard from Natalie Armitage from the Ubele Initiative about their report, the Booska Paper and calls to action. You are encouraged to watch the recording of the session. See also, open letter, ‘An Open Letter to Philanthropy, from People of Colour-led, Movement-Accountable Public Foundations.’

Climate action now! In this article, Felicitas von Peter of Active Philanthropy and Winnie Asti of Next Generation Climate Board, Global Greengrants Fund and Climate Analytics, introduce Alliance Magazine’s climate issue. The issue (which you can access for free!) takes an in-depth look at the state of climate philanthropy before COP26 in Glasgow – the world’s pivotal climate summit. See also, philanthropy support organisation, Impatience Earth.

Funder approaches to safeguarding: The Funder Safeguarding Collaborative has published a study identifying opportunities and greater alignment between funders on safeguarding. An executive summary is also available.

Where is the money for feminist organising? Did you know that only 0.42% of foundation grants are allocated to women’s rights? The need to resource feminist movements in all their boldness and power has never been greater, but they continue to be systematically under-resourced. A new brief from awid looks at the state of funding for women’s rights, gender justice, and feminist organisations, particularly in the Global South.

Biased algorithms: AI ethics and digital rights in Europe, and why philanthropy should care: This recording of the first event in PEXcommunity’s ‘What if? Reimagining Philanthropy’ series looks at AI ethics and digital rights in Europe, and why philanthropy should care. Benjamin Ignac, a Romani technologist, Research Fellow at the Roma Initiatives Office at OSF and Public Policy alumnus from the University of Oxford, opened the conversation with a presentation on why AI has become such an important, yet widely neglected issue in the philanthropic space. He also offered insights into the opportunities and threats of emerging technologies such as AI for Roma people, one of the most marginalised and discriminated communities in Europe.

Tool 10: The Top 10: This tool contains ten top tips for  funders stewarding and facilitating a funder collaboration. The guide has been developed with a range of UK-based funders based on their experiences of working in funder collaborations and informed by research and learning about what makes for strong collaborations.

Indigenous Led Funds can be a solution to philanthropy’s inequity: There are 476 million Indigenous Peoples globally, representing 6.2 per cent of the world’s population. By all measures across philanthropy, Indigenous people are underrepresented. Simply put, Indigenous Peoples represent the most prominent blind spot in the funding community, argues Lourdes Inga,  Executive Director of International Funders for Indigenous Peoples, in this blog for Alliance Magazine. See also, article, ‘Follow Indigenous peoples’ lead on climate.’

The next Thread will go out on Thursday 15th July. We would love to hear from you! Please contact Hannah Stevens by Tuesday 13th July if you would like to share announcements, events, or resources for the next issue.


Jobs and Tenders

Consultant (Strategic Planning Journey) – Global Greengrants Fund: Global Greengrants Fund has started a strategic journey to establish a new way of working – one that optimises all the parts of its global network. The Fund is looking for a consultant to work together with staff to help shape a process and a new strategic mindset to carry the organisation forward. The purpose of this Request for Proposals is to solicit concept notes from consultants to join Global Greengrants Fund in establishing and exploring a new form of strategic planning that is created by and adapted to its dynamic needs. Deadline for applications is 25th June.

Grant Administrator – Porticus: Porticus is recruiting a Grant Administrator who will ensure the quality of the fund’s grant-making processes and provide support to their grant managers during the entire life cycle of a grant. Applicants should be motivated individuals looking to learn, engage and lend their voice in addressing the complex social issues of our times. The successful candidate will work together with all the relevant stakeholders at Porticus: grantees, programme managers, and international colleagues in finance, legal, IT and operations. Location: Madrid, Spain. Deadline for applications is 20th June.

Director of Operations – The Legal Education Foundation: The Legal Education Foundation is seeking a Director of Operations, a member of the Senior Management Team, who will be responsible to the Chief Executive. The overall purpose of this new role will be to work with colleagues across the organisation to develop and oversee effective and efficient HR, administrative, IT, finance and operational policies, systems and services to support delivery of the Foundation’s strategy, and to ensure that these policies, systems and support services uphold the Foundation’s culture and values. Location: London/Guildford and remote. Deadline for applications is 28th June.

Programme Officer (International Human Rights Programme) – Oak Foundation: Oak Foundation is recruiting a Programme Officer who will be responsible for the development of a new stream of grants within the programme’s strategy to address the production, packaging, and dissemination of malign content (including fake news, deep fakes, and disinformation). The programme officer will be expected to liaise with other programme colleagues working on how technology can be deployed to advance civic activism and advise on the scope of digital rights more broadly. Location: London, UK. Deadline for applications is 2nd July.

Delivery Manager – The National Lottery Community Fund: The National Lottery Community Fund is looking for a Delivery Manager to join its Service Design. The Fund is committed to growing user-centred design skills and best practice across the organisation, as well as embedding these approaches, tools, and techniques into its everyday work, especially in terms of its funding. The Delivery Manager’s role is to support one or more skilled multidisciplinary teams to deliver value. Within the Fund context, this typically means accessible user-centred services supporting grant-holders and the communities they serve. The successful candidate’s role will encompass three main areas of responsibility: agile and lean practices; team health and happiness; and delivery support. Location: Flexible, UK. Deadline for applications is 20th June.

*For more jobs, see the ‘Career Opportunities’ section on the landing page of the Ariadne portal.


Public Meetings


June 21st
A necessary shift: Build a better world with the right to housing: This webinar will introduce participants to The Shift, an international initiative working at the intersection of human rights, housing, cities and finance. Participants will be challenged to explore one of the least talked-about drivers of inequality: the financialization of housing. Rather than matters that can be left to charity or political beneficence, housing inadequacy, unaffordability, evictions, and homelessness will be revealed for what they are: an urgent assault on fundamental human rights. The online event will take place on 21st June.

June 22nd
Présentation des résultats du Baromètre annuel de la Philanthropie 2021 : L’événement répondra aux questions suivantes : quel développement du secteur des fondations et fonds de dotation ? Quel impact de la crise Covid sur leur activité et leurs budgets ? Quelle mobilisation du secteur en réponse à la crise et quelles conséquences durables sur la stratégie des fondations ? Une introduction sera présentée par Axelle Davezac, directrice générale de la Fondation de France. The online event will take place on 22nd June.

June 22nd
Migration crisis and its impact for Europe: Greece has been at the epicentre of much of the migration crisis in the Mediterranean. The accommodation and processing of asylum-seekers and refugees in Greece has proved both challenging and controversial. But there are also major implications of the crisis for the European Union and its individual member states in their burden-sharing. This event will explore the lessons from this humanitarian crisis on Europe’s shores. The online event will take place on 22nd June.

June 23rd
Adapting to Covid: Using tech to improve your advocacy game and increase impact: Over the last year, social distancing forced progressive organisations to re-assess how they can remain relevant to the communities they serve and support. During this period, the Belfast-based Participation and the Practice of Rights (PPR) developed and trialled a series of tech tools to adapt their organising model to this new reality. This session will offer practical insight and advice for any organisation keen to explore how technology can enhance its impact and deliver a hybrid post-Covid organising model. The online event will take place on 23rd June.

June 30th
“A Seat at the table” – A guide to crafting effective narratives at the UN about human rights and the people who defend them: The stories and narratives that are told about human rights defenders at the UN have a major impact on how they are understood and supported on the ground. The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) will share the findings of their new practitioners’ guide “A Seat at the Table”. The guide will be helpful for anyone working within or engaging with the UN system to promote and protect human rights, whether they be advocates with organisations, diplomats or frontline community activists and leaders. The online event will take place on 30th June.


June 30th
One year on: George Floyd’s murder and how it changed the world: On 25 May 2020, a black man was killed in Minnesota by a white police officer and his murder sparked the largest civil rights demonstrations across the US in all of history. Protestors against police brutality also took to the streets of France, Nigeria, India, Australia and beyond. Threads of historical racism and colonisation wove through the uprisings, tearing off the mask of systems designed to suppress black people. This panel will explore the global impact of George Floyd’s death on black rights around the world. The online event will take place on 30th June.

July 1st
Funder collaboration: Top tips: Participants will have a chance to interact with an eclectic group of seasoned funder collaborators who helped to shape the Funder Collaboration Toolkit. The collaborators will share their wisdom and stories of how they overcame challenges in their collaborations. Participants will be given opportunities to reflect on their own experiences and discuss in small groups how to develop work and relationships in the post-Covid era. The online event will take place on 1st July.

July 15th
#ShiftThePower – Beyond grants: Driving system change across the ecosystem: Multi-sector partnerships that unite the philanthropic ecosystem are critical to delivering system change. Most philanthropic giving remains relatively small and fragmented and misaligned with what is required for scalable impact. Moreover, collaboration within the sector is rare. One way of addressing this would be to move beyond grants and embrace a much wider range of financial instruments. In this session, participants will explore how diverse finance instruments can empower and unite actors across the ecosystem. The online event will take place on 15th July.

October 11th and 12th
Fundamental Rights Forum 2021: The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has launched their call for proposals to host a session at the Fundamental Rights Forum 2021 (RightsForum21). This year they are producing a hybrid event: broadcast live from Vienna City Hall, in parallel with online events. The event will be addressing a variety of challenges – from disinformation to environmental issues, and from rule of law to migration. The online event will take place on 11th and 12th October.

October 25th to 29th
The Gathering Online 2021: ILGA-Europe is committed to creating an event where activists can come together to get inspired, learn, and feel empowered by working together. The event will form a picture of shared challenges and current opportunities to identify ways to move forward. The event will focus on resilience in the face of populism and growing opposition as well as racism, structural inequalities and socio-economic justice. The online event will take place between 25th and 29th October.

Ariadne is supported by the American Jewish World Service, Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Oak Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Sigrid Rausing Trust and Zennström Philanthropies.

Ariadne is also supported by voluntary contributions from its participants.

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