Ariadne’s Thread – October 2019

Ariadne’s Thread – October 2019
octobre 16, 2019 Hannah Stevens

October 2019

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

LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER – 2019 GRANT SKILLS DAY: Ariadne is pleased to announce that the 2019 Grant Skills Day “Funding with a Climate Lens – How to Climate-Proof your Foundation and Strategies” will be held on Monday 21st October 2019 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. This Grant Skills Day will focus on practical ways human rights and social change funders can begin to incorporate climate change into their strategies and operations, to climate-proof their work. To register, click here.

SAVE THE DATE: Join us for “Change Funders Week” 2020, as Ariadne and EDGE Funders Alliance hold their annual conferences back-to-back from 30th March to 3rd April 2020, in Berlin, Germany. We hope this will encourage a flow of information between the two networks, our members, and other partners committed to rethink philanthropy as a force for social and systemic change. The EDGE Conference will run 30th March to 1st April and Ariadne’s Policy Briefing will run from 1st April to 3rd April. The two events will link up during the afternoon and evening of 1st April for joint sessions and networking opportunities. Further information coming soon.

RECORDING – AMPLIFYING INTERSECTIONS AND CO-CREATING RESISTANCE TO THE GLOBAL GAG RULE: A COLLABORATIVE CONVENING FOR DONORS AND CIVIL SOCIETY: While the Global Gag Rule was first enacted in 1984, several recent expansions have ensnared growing numbers of organisations, governments, and funders, even if they don’t accept U.S. Government funds. The policy in its current, vastly expanded form, is a tangible manifestation of an extremist, ultra-conservative worldview that embodies much broader threats to democracy, the rule of law, and civil society, and as such, is a chilling development that is relevant to all of us. You can listen to a recording of our recent webinar with Julia Greenberg, Open Society Foundations Public Health Program; Stellah Bosire, UHAI; Jennifer Redner, AJWS; and Susan Gibbs, Wallace Global Fund.

RECORDING – A HUMAN RIGHTS AND EQUALITY AGENDA FOR THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION: European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen has announced the appointments in her administration, which is becoming an increasingly political process. The creation of new position ‘Vice President for Protecting our European Way of Life’ has drawn criticism, because it confirms that the EU is treating migration as a security issue, whilst suggesting that welcoming migrants is against its values. Political observers believe that the new power structure shows that populist rhetoric has infiltrated the EU executive. Yet, there are promising developments too. The new Commission is expected to put more emphasis on the SDGs in the European context. This webinar sought to provide a clearer view of the Commission’s human rights and social change agenda. You can listen to a recording of our recent webinar with Eve Geddie, Amnesty International European Institutions Office; Anne Gaspard, Equinet – the European Network of Equality Bodies; Diego Naranjo, European Digital Rights and Karisia Gichuke, Open Society Initiative for Europe.

REGISTER NOW – ARIADNE PORTAL TUITION: A half-hour of tuition to improve your skill in using the Ariadne Portal will be held on Tuesday 19th November at 15:00 BST. This is an online webinar you can participate in from your desk. To join, you will need a computer or tablet (iPad/Android) to watch the online demonstration. To register, please click here. For additional portal tuition dates, please click here.

*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

How to address human rights challenges in Europe’s grey zones: Across Europe, unrecognised states and conflict zones are home to impunity. A new report holds important recommendations for future work. This article from openDemocracy outlines the recent report from the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and Foreign Policy Centre.

2019 Gender Equality Global Report & Ranking: Equileap has published its annual report on gender equality globally to present the Top 100 companies and key findings per theme, country and sector. See also ‘Reaching Equality – CEO Video Series.’

Bringing people together: how community action can tackle loneliness and social isolation: The National Lottery Community Fund believes that preventing loneliness has the potential to strengthen communities and improve lives. The Fund’s paper offers insights and examples from the community and voluntary sector as well as what the Fund has learned about social isolation and loneliness. It highlights stories from charities across the UK, considers the causes of entrenched loneliness, what can be done to prevent it and suggests ways to offer support.

UN OHCHR calls on the EU to support & protect Civil Society and HR at home: Human rights defenders are essential to democracy. Yet, the intimidation of human rights defenders in the EU has become a serious problem and the implications for democracy are profound. Decision-makers at all levels have a responsibility to protect civic space in the European Union, writes Birgit Van Hout, Regional Representative for Europe at UN Human Rights (OHCHR) in this article.

Debt jubilees in the time of climate breakdown: When disaster hits, already impoverished countries find themselves in debt traps. This International Politics and Society article argues that only a global mechanism can prevent this.

‘It wasn’t a place for me to be trans’ – how workplace discrimination against trans people is rife in the UK: Being in the workplace as a trans person in the UK can be stressful. Many people don’t come out for fear of discrimination, bigotry or the general pressure of doing the emotional labour of explaining their identity to well-meaning cis people. While legislation in the UK admittedly offers protection against certain kinds of discrimination, there are no guarantees when it comes to fair treatment. This article from gal-dem – a media publication committed to telling the stories of women and non-binary people of colour – explores this in more detail.


Blogs and Other Sites of Interest

Photo: Apib Cominição (CC BY-SA 2.0)

ARTICLE: The lengthy journey towards a treaty on business and human rights: This article from OpenGlobalRights argues that a new version of the UN’s draft treaty on business and human rights strengthens its protection focus, but must go further to ensure effective access to justice for victims.

BLOG: Becoming Unstuck with Relational Activism: At a time when division seems like the only thing we all have in common, in this blog, two “relational activists” describe how building person-to-person connections can keep us from being paralyzed by recalcitrant and complex social problems.

PODCAST: Bringing Diverse Communities Together: In the latest podcast from Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), Jim Minton CEO of Toynbee Hall, discusses place-based working in civil society and how the local connects with the national.

ARTICLE: “No one is too young to make a difference”: stories from the global climate strike: In this article for openDemocracy, young people recount how they protested, in the face of poverty, conflict and toxic air pollution, for action on climate change.

PODCAST: Is the international NGO system broken? INGOs have been talking about localisation, resourcing and shifting the power for a while. So why have we not made progress in supporting and empowering those organisations that can best help the people in their communities? Is there a fundamental problem with the INGO system and its complicated funding dynamics? This podcast episode brings together both sides of the system to discuss how INGOs can truly shift the power. Bond’s Zoe Abrahamson talks to Danny Sriskandarajah, chief executive of Oxfam GB, Bolor Legjeem, Programs Director at Mongolian Women’s Fund, and Jennie Richmond, social impact strategy consultant and former Head of International Grants at Comic Relief.

ARTICLE: True Self-Care Is Not About You: This article from VICE argues that, whilst “Self-care” is marketed as an isolating, individual activity, the best way to care for ourselves is to care for each other. It argues that many western notions of good health are not reflected – mentally or physically – in Indigenous communities, or by people who see their own health as inextricable from that of a community.

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


The State of Intersex Funding and The State of Trans Funding: Across every region of the world, trans and intersex people face unacceptably high levels of violence and discrimination. Intersex and trans movements are fighting back, but their progress is hampered and their leaders risk burnout because they have very little funding. Global Philanthropy Project, American Jewish World Service, GATE, and Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice have produced two new funder briefings to identify gaps and opportunities to increase the amount and quality of resources supporting these movements: The State of Trans Funding and The State of Intersex Funding. Click for the briefings.

Funder Commitment on Climate Change: Nick Perks – freelance consultant and former Trust Secretary (CEO) at the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust – has developed a Funder Commitment on Climate Change. An initiative among UK donors, representatives of UK charitable foundations are encouraged to read the document and consider signing up their charitable foundation. Click to read and sign up to the Funder Commitment on Climate Change. Questions? Email

Churchill Fellow, Hannah Paterson, on participatory grantmaking and shifting the power: In this blog series, Churchill Fellow and Senior Portfolio Manager (UK Portfolio) at The National Lottery Community Fund, Hannah Paterson, explores how communities can be more involved in decisions about where and how money for their communities is spent.

In Memoriam: William S. White: One of the longest-serving leaders of a major philanthropy in the United States, William S. White passed away peacefully on 9th October aged 82. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has published a touching obituary in his memory.

The role of funders in forging a new social contract between civil society and big tech: A lot of civil society is focused on becoming more digital or using ‘tech for good’, and as part of this some organisations are also recognising how technology is changing people’s needs, expectations and behaviours – but this is at a service level. Very few organisations are looking at the ways technology is changing the wider contexts and communities in which we live, let alone anticipating them or designing for them. This article and film (11m 43s) ask what role funders can play in supporting civil society to negotiate a new social contract with big tech. There is also an event for funders to sign up to, where practical ways of getting involved in this agenda will be discussed.

Bitcoin adoption rising in NGO sector: The number of charities accepting crypto donations has doubled in North America, Europe and Australia, says the 2019 Global NGO Technology Report. This article summarises the report.

Toward A Feminist Funding Ecosystem: Imagine the world we could create together if feminist movements were abundantly resourced. In this new report, AWID explores what it would take to make this a reality.

What is philanthropy for? Private wealth, public action or citizen mobilisation? Didier Minot, founder of Fondation Monde Solidaire and Collectif des Associations Citoyennes (CAC) is about to publish a book (in French). In it, he asks, “What is philanthropy for? Private wealth, public action or citizen mobilization? In view of the announced chaos, can philanthropy replace public action and the mobilisation of citizens?”

The next Thread will go out on Thursday 21st November. We would love to hear from you! Please contact Hannah Stevens by 19th November if you would like to share announcements, events, or resources for the next issue.


Jobs and Tenders

Senior Programme Officer (Women’s Rights) – Sigrid Rausing Trust: The Sigrid Rausing Trust is looking for a Senior Programme Officer to join its Women’s Rights programme. The successful candidate will be responsible for researching potential applicants, working with those invited to apply, reviewing applications, and writing and presenting recommendations to Trustees. The role also includes managing the relationship with grantees, conducting research, and keeping up to date with developments in the programme area. Location: London, United Kingdom. Deadline for applications is 25th October.

Senior Advisor (Mental Health and Rights) – Open Society Foundations: Open Society Foundations is seeking a part-time, fixed term Senior Advisor to support the Mental Health and Rights team to engage with the global mental health agenda and maximize OSF’s impact to promote the rights, dignity and social inclusion of people with lived experience of mental health challenges. Location: Berlin, London or New York. Deadline for applications is 22nd October.

Project Management (New Grants Management System) – Oak Foundation: Oak Foundation is recruiting a Project Manager to join a team working on the replacement of its custom-built Grants Management System, an information-management system incorporating business processes and document management. The project team is currently working with a specialist consultant firm and an implementation partner to develop a Proof of Concept of a solution on the Salesforce platform; if this stage is successful, the Foundation would wish to begin full implementation in 2020. Location: Geneva, Switzerland. Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Interim Director of Programs – Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice: Astraea is hiring an Interim Director of Programs. Working with the Interim Executive Director, in partnership with the Associate Director of Programs and a talented program team of 14 people, the successful candidate will support and guide the team through strategy development, achievement of learning objectives, review and adaptation of team structure and bodies of work, and development of efficient cross-team processes, decision-making and accountability. Location: New York, United States. Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, and by 31st October at the latest.

Research Assistant – The LEGO Foundation: LEGO Foundation is seeking a Research Assistant to join its Research & MEL team. The team leads on international studies in support of the Foundation’s initiatives that seek to further learning through play around the world. The successful candidate will assist two research specialists on complex studies across cultural contexts. Location: Billund, Denmark. Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Executive Director – Human Rights Funders Network: Human Rights Funders Network (HRFN), looking to strengthen its network, leverage its membership, and plan for continued impact and innovation in human rights philanthropy, seeks a seasoned leader, strategist, and coalition builder to serve as its next Executive Director. Location: New York, United States. Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

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


Public Meetings

December 1st – 7th
Amplifying Intersections & Co-Creating Resistance to the Global Gag Rule: A collaborative convening for donors and civil society: You are invited to join funders and activists from across the world in developing a collective response to the Global Gag Rule. The convening will ask how funders, in partnership with civil society, can best respond to the Global Gag Rule to mitigate the impact of the policy, strengthen civil society and social movements, and support the populations and communities most affected, including LGBTQI, women, girls, and sex workers? Donors from multiple philanthropic sectors, and members of civil society directly affected by the Global Gag Rule will learn, share information and strategise jointly to develop a philanthropic response to the policy that is better coordinated and more robust. The event will take between 4th and 6th December in Barcelona, Spain. RSVP by 21st October (please note that capacity for funders to attend this convening is limited).


November 3rd – 9th
The Media in Deeply Divided Societies – Its Role and Responsibilities: This two-day international conference, organised by Social Change Initiative, with the University of Edinburgh and Conciliation Resources, is aimed at delivering new insights on the role of the media in deeply divided societies and stimulating a debate about its role and responsibilities in Northern Ireland. Former Director General of Al Jazeera Wadah Khanfar plus journalists from Myanmar, the Balkans, Rwanda, Colombia, Kashmir, South Africa, Nepal, Turkey and Northern Ireland will consider: How has the media featured in peace processes around the world? What role is the media playing in deeply divided societies? What role is social media playing in deeply divided societies and how do we respond? What role should the media play in deeply divided societies? How can best practice be supported? The event will take place between 8th and 9th November in Belfast, United Kingdom.

November 24th – 30th
Colonial Repercussions V: The Namibian Case: The issue of (post-)colonial injustice is more present than ever before in German and European legal cultural policy debates. Still, this development towards addressing the past has not had much impact in the successor states of former colonies. The symposium’s goal is to trace the complex repercussions and interdependencies of German colonization in present-day Namibia and to increase their visibility in Germany. Speakers from the law, politics and the arts will present perspectives on the effects of colonization, a potential constructive approach and exchange with civil society in Germany. Speakers include Ida Hoffmann, Nama Genocide Technical Committee; John Nakuta, international legal scholar; and Isabel Tueumuna Katjavivi, artist. The event will take place on 29th November in Berlin, Germany.


November 10th – 16th
Internal Displacement: A Key Challenge for the International Community: The Graduate Institute Geneva welcomes Walter Kälin to give a lecture on the challenge of internal displacement for the international community. Walter Kälin is professor emeritus for international and (Swiss) constitutional law, University of Bern/Switzerland. He is the former Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons and a former member of the UN Human Rights Committee. Presently, he serves as Envoy of the Chair of the Platform on Disaster Displacement and acts as special advisor to the UN Resident Coordinators in Ethiopia and Somalia on internal displacement. The event will take place on 13th November in Geneva, Switzerland.


November 3rd –9th
Patriarchy is Toxic for People and Planet: Why Climate Change Needs Feminist Solutions and What Women and Girls (and their Funders) are Doing About It: FRIDA The Young Feminist Fund, Global Greengrants Fund UK, the With and For Girls Collective, and Comic Relief invite you to a discussion with young feminist activists from around the world on finding and funding feminist solutions to the climate crisis. Participants will hear from inspirational young activists and their funders about their experiences and work at the intersection of gender and climate justice. The event will take place on 5th November in London, United Kingdom. RSVP by 31st October. See also article, ‘This is what feminists can teach the world about fighting for climate justice.’

November 3rd – 9th
Tackling Britain’s Social Mobility Problem: What can we do to improve Britain’s low social mobility – one of the most pressing issues facing young people growing up today? Boris Johnson continues a tradition that has stood for generations. Every Prime Minister since the end of WWII who has attended an English University has attended just one institution: Oxford. Meanwhile 100,000s of children leave school each year without the basics to get on in life. Britain suffers from low social mobility. But how can we improve it? At this event, the panel will discuss potential solutions and the audience will vote on the solution. Stephen Machin, Professor of Economics and Director of the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE, and Lee Elliot Major, Professor of Social Mobility, University of Exeter and Visiting Senior Fellow at LSE will speak. The event will take place on 7th November in London, United Kingdom.

November 10th – 16th
Despotic Data: how authoritarian regimes are driving technology and innovation: Data has become crucial in the production of goods and services, particularly when it comes to the production of new technology and innovation such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Access to data is often a bottleneck in the development of AI and ML. Whilst authoritarian regimes are considered to hinder innovation, they benefit from having access to large amounts of data which in the democratic world depends on strict laws and cultural perceptions around privacy. Participants will hear from Noam Yuchtman, recipient of the British Academy’s Global Professorship and Professor of Managerial Economics and Strategy at LSE, as he explains the reasons why authoritarian regimes – such as China – are becoming world leaders in technology, innovation and artificial intelligence. This event will take place on 13th November in London, United Kingdom.

November 17th – 23rd
Preventing human rights abuses by challenging mercenary responses to climate migration: As measures to respond to the climate crisis fall short, many of those most affected by its impacts will be forced from their homes. And as this reality dawns, toxicity threatens to override compassion. Governments, driven by growing populist right-wing narratives, will not respond to this humanitarian crisis with dignity and humanity, but rather with ‘walls, bullets, drones, cops, and cages’. This trend might start with the most vulnerable but will end up hitting us all as impacts worsen. This new project seeks to empower us to place a spotlight on policies that ‘exclude’ and ‘contain’ those forced to flee their homes and seek protection. Using investor engagement and divestment tactics, the campaign will diminish the social licence of corporations who, under contract with governments, are inhumanely expanding detention prisons and border control infrastructure. Therefore, ultimately encouraging governments to adopt more humane responses and encouraging us all to connect with those most affected. Ariadne and EFN members are invited to join the Global Strategic Communications Council for a shared exploration on how this project can transform the global framing of climate migration as a security threat which requires a militarised response, to one that is centred on human rights. The event will take place on 20th November in London, United Kingdom. RSVP:

Until 5th April 2020
Fons Americanus: Fons Americanus is a 13-metre tall working fountain inspired by the Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace, London. Rather than a celebration of the British Empire, Walker’s fountain explores the interconnected histories of Africa, America and Europe. She uses water as a key theme, referring to the transatlantic slave trade and the ambitions, fates and tragedies of people from these three continents. Fantasy, fact and fiction meet at an epic scale. Based in New York, Kara Walker is acclaimed for her candid explorations of race, sexuality and violence. She is best known for her use of black cut-paper silhouetted figures, referencing the history of slavery and the antebellum South in the US through provocative and elaborate installations. The sculpture will be on display until 5th April 2020 in London, United Kingdom. See also, article ‘Artist Kara Walker has gifted the UK a huge fountain to remind us of its role in the slave trade.’


November 24th – 30th
News Impact Summit: How can journalists provide reliable information in a sea of information, misinformation and data? During this summit, experts will share with participants how to make the most of digital tools to cover elections, by sharing experiences that range from creating new apps to deliver election results in real time to smartphones, to experimenting with platforms that flag and debunk misinformation during elections. The event is organised by the European Journalism Centre and powered by the Google News Initiative and the entrance is free. The event will take place on 29th November in Lyon, France.


January 19th – 26th
Philanthropy Europe Networks Forum: Philanthropy Europe Networks Forum is an annual flagship event which provides a space to consider current topical issues, share knowledge and experience, and engage with a broad range of stakeholders interested in the work of national associations and donors forums and their foundation and donor members. Philanthropy Europe Forum involves leaders in the field and experts from national associations, donor forums and philanthropy support organisations. The Forum’s interactive format ensures there are many opportunities for active engagement, learning and networking at both strategic and practical levels. The event will take place between 23rd and 24th January 2020 in Madrid, Spain.


20th November, 29th January, 25th March, 28th May
NEID Learning Circle on Impact Investing: Participants in this four-part webinar series will learn how to adopt new tools to invest towards lasting change. They will: “deep dive” into examples of Impact Investments from beneficiaries; identify challenges and risks of unintended consequences; and gain practical tips on how to get started and/or scale up. The webinars are titled: How to Invest; Understanding Where your Money Goes; Better Understanding Blended Finance Options; and Impact Investment by Thematic Sector. The webinars will take place on 20th November; 29th January; 25th March and 28th May.

October 27th – November 2nd
Soil to Sky: Climate Solutions That Work: The climate crisis is escalating, and grassroots climate justice movements are rising to meet our global emergency. Join the CLIMA Fund to hear directly from some of those transforming our economies and cultures. The recent report Soil to Sky: Climate Solutions That Work connects the dots between seemingly ‘small’ grassroots solutions, carbon mitigation, and building rights-based resilience for the long-term. It brings together the best available research to demonstrate how funders who have traditionally invested in top-down strategies to the climate crisis can also make lasting, effective, and scalable investments in grassroots-driven responses. This webinar will bring human stories to these responses: from agroecology and direct resistance of extractive industries to community-controlled renewables and Indigenous rights defence. The webinar will take place on 29th October.


November 3rd – 9th
Celebrating Impact: The EVPA Annual Conference is an important event in the social investment and venture philanthropy sector, bringing together different actors across Europe, all seeking to create and collaborate in an impactful way. The event will take place between 5th and 7th November in The Hague, The Netherlands.

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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