Ariadne’s Thread – October 2020

Ariadne’s Thread – October 2020
octobre 15, 2020 Hannah Stevens

October 2020

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

REGISTER: ARIADNE’S AUTUMN LEARNING SERIES ON GENDER LENS INVESTING: Ariadne invites you to take part in a special course of online seminars on Gender Lens Investing. These are for grant-makers, trustees and board members; high net worth individuals; programme, investment and management officers; and anyone in the philanthropic community who is interested in investing to help achieve gender equality and justice. They will be hosted by Jo Andrews, former Director of Ariadne and co-founder of Equileap, which works to accelerate gender equality in the workplace. The seminars will explain gender lens investing, why it matters and how it can be carried out or incorporated into your practice of philanthropy. It will also look at how GLI might include non-binary gender definitions and intersectional marginalisation, such as racial justice. There is no cost to take part, and it is possible to sign up for the whole series or individual sessions. Online sessions on 22nd October, 5th November, 18th November and 3rd December. To register, please click here.

BLOG: HUMAN RIGHTS FUNDING PRINCIPLES OFFER A ROAD MAP TO STRENGTHEN PHILANTHROPY: Leslie Carson of Wellspring Philanthropic Fund has written a blog to celebrate the publication of the Human Rights Funding Principles, in which she proposes that they offer a road map to strengthen philanthropy. Registration will open soon for the second instalment of our six-part workshop series (Human Rights Grantmaking: Why these principles and why now?) where we will dive into the human rights grantmaking principles and explore how funders can apply them in practice. The series is open to funders and human rights organisations and activists, and is a collaboration of Ariadne, Philanthropy Advancing Women’s Human Rights, and Human Rights Funders Network.

2019/20 ANNUAL REPORT: It’s been quite the year, hasn’t it? There’s been so much going on, we thought we’d reflect back and share with you what we’ve been proudest of in 2019/20. Click here for our Annual Report. Highlights include holding 30 events in a range of formats, locations and languages; starting to develop our new online portal; delivering the second year of our mentoring scheme; and publishing our 6th Forecast for funders! We want to do even more this year, but we need your help! If you haven’t already, please get in touch with to make your annual membership contribution.

VIDEO: ELECTION PROTESTS AND ACTIVISM IN BELARUS: On 9th August, Belarusians went to the polls for a presidential election, in which incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko was officially declared victor. However, international monitors have deemed that the elections, like many previous elections Lukashenko won, were not free and fair, and there have been widespread allegations of election fraud. Belarusian citizens have come out in record numbers to protest the results in the face of a violent crackdown from the government, while opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has been forced into exile in Lithuania. This special donor briefing, held on 2nd October, explores what is happening on the ground, the current needs of activists and student leaders, and how European funders can show solidarity at this time. Speakers: Hanna Stähle, Senior Manager (Strategic Partnerships and Communications), Dafne – Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe; Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou, Professor in Human Rights Law, University of Liverpool; and Laksiej Lavončyk, Coordinator of BYHELP and BYSOL. Click here to watch.

DID YOU MISS A WEBINAR? WE RECORDED IT! We’ve held a lot of webinars recently, and we record almost all of them. So, if you’ve missed one, don’t worry, you can access them here! Recent recordings include ‘Election protests and activism in Belarus’ (as above), ‘Worker-led initiatives to end exploitation in supply chains,’   Understanding and uprooting racism in grantmaking institutions,’ and ‘Embracing complexity: Towards a shared understanding of funding systems change.’

*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

Democracy under Lockdown: Freedom House has published a new report on the health of global democracy and human rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on a survey of 398 experts as well as analysis from Freedom House’s global network, the report shows the coronavirus is undermining democracy globally by giving governments new opportunities to curtail political freedoms. It is also making it harder for NGOs, the media, opposition parties, and citizens to hold governments accountable. This worsening of democratic conditions exacerbates an existing global crisis for democracy that has so far resulted in 14 consecutive years of decline in political rights and civil liberties, as documented by this year’s Freedom in the World report.

Farce majeure: How global apparel brands are using the COVID-19 pandemic to stiff suppliers and abandon workers: The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragilities and inequities in global garment supply chains. In early 2020, global apparel brands and retailers were confronted with a steep and sudden drop in consumer demand. They responded by suspending or cancelling orders with their suppliers worldwide. Many brands, such as Primark and Topshop, refused to pay for orders that were in production, already produced or even shipped. Others demanded sharp discounts on the agreed price before accepting the produced goods. This policy paper explores the power imbalances between brands and suppliers, and their contractual manifestation. It examines the law of force majeure and related doctrines, and how they apply to the current circumstances. The paper explains how brands violate their due diligence obligations through cancelling orders. It also calls for better access to accountability mechanisms for workers to enforce brands’ responsible supply chain practices.

How philanthropy benefits the super-rich: There are more philanthropists than ever before. Each year they give tens of billions to charitable causes. Paul Vallely, in this article for The Guardian asks, ‘So how come inequality keeps rising?’ See also, What’s Broken in the Foundation and Donor Landscape?.

Intersectional discrimination in Europe: Relevance, challenges and ways forward: A new report from the European Network Against Racism and the Center for Intersectional Justice highlights the necessity of centring race in intersectional justice efforts, as a foundational system of discrimination, exclusion and oppression. It explores the legacy of colour-blindness in European national and continental dialogues as well as the avoidance of race that results in anti-discrimination efforts addressing one axis of discrimination at a time, at the expense of tackling other systemic forms of oppression such as racism. The report aims to reclaim intersectionality, explaining the multiple dimensions of discrimination, including the individual, structural, institutional and historical dimensions. The report emphasizes the importance of taking a systemic approach to addressing these various dimensions if inequality is to be addressed more holistically at the EU level. The report reviews anti-discrimination legislation identifying opportunities, challenges and limitations for EU legislation.

Citoyenneté, institutions, société civile: La démocratie françaisesous tension: Dans cet rapport, une équipe de chercheurs propose un diagnostic de la démocratie française et des pistes d’action pour la renforcer. La France est un pays reconnu pour ses valeurs relatives aux droits de l’Homme et à la démocratie. Pour autant, à l’image de la société, la démocratie est en évolution perpétuelle et est confrontée à des tensions fortes ces dernières années. Après un état d’urgence prolongé et la crise engendrée par le Covid-19, un état des lieux approfondi de la démocratie française s’impose. Que veut dire devenir citoyen ? Que recouvre le terme participer ? Comment se mobiliser, s’engager, interpeller ? Quel est l’état des lieux des espaces démocratiques et de la société civile en France ? A version of the report is also available in English.

MEPs call for first-ever EU law on Romani inclusion: This article reports on how the European Parliament has urged the European Commission to propose the first-ever EU law to bolster the inclusion of Romani people in the EU. On 17th September, MEPs adopted a report, calling for specific legally binding targets and a clear timeline for member states, as well as success indicators and adequate funding, to break ‘the vicious circle of poverty’ of these communities.


Blogs and Other Sites of Interest

ONLINE GALLERY: Remembering feminist activists who changed our world: This online gallery from awid, remembers and celebrates the life and work of feminists and women human rights defenders from across the world.

COLUMN: Philanthropy Confidential: Ever had a funder verbally commit to support you and then change their mind? Are you the only woman invited onto a panel and you’re unsure whether to accept? Is the philanthropist you work for doing something not entirely philanthropic, like travelling on his private jet, and you’re not sure whether to go along for the ride? Alliance Magazine’s new Philanthropy Confidential column is your space to safely and anonymously get advice on ethical dilemmas in the sector.

SERIES: Creative Futures: We stand at a historic crossroads: a social, racial, and economic reckoning laid bare by COVID-19 and a movement for Black lives. It is a moment that demands interpretation and action. Cultural narratives are central to shaping our realities, including how best to ensure justice and equity for all. So how do we grow and change our systems of arts and media—systems, like our larger society, that have never been equitable or sustainable? CREATIVE FUTURES is a reimagining of the fields of arts and culture, documentary film, and journalism, a set of concrete action plans to fuel and shape the transformative possibilities to come. This is a series of some of those fragments and pieces, experiments and possibilities.

PODCAST: Countering the Rise of State LGBTphobia in Poland: This episode of The Frontline podcast delves deep into the situation for LGBTI people in Poland and the work of activists amid the rise of official anti-LGBTI campaigning and the recent crackdown. The host talks to Polish activist Slava Melnyk from Campaign Against Homophobia about how the situation has come to a head in the aftermath of the re-election of far-right President, Andrzej Duda. David Socha, a young gay man living in the city of Pulawy, which has been designated one of Poland’s LGBT-free Zones, talks about how this has affected his day-to-day life, and the ILGA-Europe advocacy team discusses the role of EU institutions and external actors, and ways forward for the LGBTI movement in Poland.

COMMUNITY: Resource Justice: Got class privilege and want social justice? Resource Justice is a community of young people in the UK with wealth or class privilege committed to the equitable distribution of wealth, land and power.

BLOG: Rights and responsibilities in the Coronavirus pandemic: In this blog for OpenGlobalRights, Kathryn Sikkink argues that, to protect our collective right to health in the current pandemic situation, we need to balance our individual rights with collective responsibilities.

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


Tipping the Scales – What it takes to fund an equitable tech & human rights ecosystem: Earlier this year, The Engine Room and OSF conducted research on equity and resilience in the technology and human rights ecosystem. This report maps the barriers faced by actors in the space, as well as practices that foster a more equitable ecosystem. By outlining some of the best practices from various philanthropic spaces (such as feminist funders and participatory grantmakers), they hope to provide some ideas and guidance around how funding institutions can make changes that are not only essential to the sustainability of this ecosystem but, in fact, doable.

How can a small generalist funder tackle climate change? Smaller charitable foundations may be keen to take more action on climate change, yet conscious of the limits of their capacity, and the many other demands on the trust, and the time and attention of the board. Like many smaller trusts, they might fund a range of good causes in a particular geographical area. As such, they may be wondering what it is they can realistically do. Nick Perks, who established the Funders Commitment on Climate Change, has put together a list of five suggestions in this article.

Beyond the Grant: Foundations as Impact Investors: A new report  from The Bridgespan Group sets out how philanthropy can bring its whole self to work with an impact investing mindset that expands horizons beyond grantmaking alone. It asks that we imagine what foundations could achieve—from community development, to racial equity, to climate change mitigation—by supplying loans, loan guarantees, and equity investments for social good.

Deciding Together: Participatory Approaches Highlight A New Way Forward: Participatory grantmaking is about transferring power in philanthropy away from people with wealth and towards people with lived experience. This article from the Beeck Center looks at how foundations and donors can take action. See also, ‘To listen is to learn: What we can learn from Indigenous Peoples across the African continent.’

Funding trends: Climate change mitigation philanthropy: The world is facing a global crisis on an unprecedented scale. If the international community does not take transformative action to combat climate change, people and communities will face increasingly dire consequences from rising global temperatures. Some of these impacts are already becoming commonplace in the daily news. However, ClimateWorks’ latest research reveals that less than 2% of global philanthropic giving is dedicated to climate change mitigation — not nearly enough to meet the scale of the global challenge. Although the field of climate change mitigation philanthropy has been developing rapidly, it clearly has immense room for rapid and sustained growth. Their new Funding Trends brief enables funders to better understand the relationship between where funding is most needed and where it is going; scope new strategies and refine their existing work; identify emerging partnership opportunities, and more.

7 Responsibilities of A Trust-Based Board: Much like how trust-based philanthropy advocates for funders to partner in a spirit of service to grantee partners, it equally encourages boards to see their role as partners – both to the foundation’s leadership and to its staff. This can be embodied in seven key ways that invite a more trust-based, meaningful, and joyful approach to serving on a foundation board, as outlined in this guide.

What Now? The Philanthropic Future Our Democracy Needs: This is the last article in a five-part series “Reimagining Philanthropy” in which Lucy Bernholz explores what’s next for foundations and non-profits. In it, Bernholz calls for news rules for collective action that should look beyond tax exemptions.

The next Thread will go out on Thursday 19th November. We would love to hear from you! Please contact Hannah Stevens by 17th November if you would like to share announcements, events, or resources for the next issue.


Jobs and Tenders

Programme Manager (Rights & Justice) – The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust: The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust is looking to appoint a Programme Manager, who will manage and develop the Rights and Justice programme and related initiatives. The successful candidate will have exceptional communication skills and be able to forge strong relationships, analyse and present complex information and spot opportunities that will secure rights and justice for some of the most vulnerable people in society. Location: York, United Kingdom and Remote. Deadline for applications is 23:59, on 25th October. The Trust is also looking for 3 x Grants Officers, a Programme Assistant and a Database and IT Assistant.

Programme Manager – Alliance for Women in Europe: Facing the dire need for urgent action to address VAW and the persisting inequalities between women and men in the EU, a group of European foundations and organisations decided to dedicate common resources (financial and otherwise) to a flexible, open platform for donors and women’s rights advocates: the Alliance for Women in Europe. They’re now looking for a Programme Manager for a one-year temporary position (renewable) to coordinate grant making and management of the Fund. Location: Brussels, Belgium. Deadline for applications is 26th October.

Knowledge & Learning Officer – National Lottery Community Fund: The National Lottery Community Fund is hiring a Knowledge and Learning Officer. The successful candidate will focus on supporting colleagues, grant holders and stakeholders to share, create and use their insights to create lasting change. The role will primarily be looking to explore and understand the different approaches to delivering grantmaking the Fund uses and how these can improve the difference its funding makes to its grant holders and communities. The Knowledge & Learning Officer will be leading the Fund’s learning on one of its priority themes of participatory grantmaking. Location: The position can be based anywhere in the UK, either working from home or one of the Fund’s offices. Deadline for applications 22nd October.

Grants Administrator – Oak Foundation:  Oak Foundation is seeking a Grants Administrator to join its operations team. The individual will be responsible for the administrative management, reporting, and payment of grants. The Grants Administrator will ensure that the Foundation’s grant-making and related processes, documents, procedures, and implementation are executed professionally, efficiently, on schedule, and in a manner consistent with best practices. Location: Geneva, Switzerland. Deadline for applications 25th October.

Grants Manager – Sigrid Rausing Trust: The Sigrid Rausing Trust is looking to fill a new role of Grants Manager, part of the 8-person Operations team. The team supports the Trust’s core functions including finance, information technology, grants management, governance, compliance, facilities, health and safety, and human resources. The Grants Manager will have operational responsibility for the grants administration management systems and processes, including provision of high-quality management information and impact reporting. Location: London, United Kingdom. Deadline: 21st October.

Program Officer, International Migration Initiative – Open Society Foundations: OSF’s International Migration Initiative is looking for a Program Officer to join its Welcoming and Inclusive Cities Division. WIC partners with cities to provide political leadership and practical blueprints for handling migration and other global challenges namely: the climate crisis, digitalization, and pandemics – all of which intersect in urban areas. As the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a wave of nationalist responses, cities on the frontlines are innovating, sharing local solutions, and supporting each other. OSF imagines a new age of city solidarity where local practice shapes national policy, local knowledge informs international norms, and local needs trigger global cooperation. WIC’s work is to make this vision a reality. Location: New York, United States. Deadline for applications is 23rd October.

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


Public Meetings

October 18th – 24th
The Human in Human Rights: In the first in a series of three lectures, Craig Calhoun will discuss the problems which arise from putting a secular conception of the human at its centre for our normative and political imagination. These problems are thrown into relief by contemporary discussions about artificial intelligence and new technologies. Craig Calhoun is Professor of Social Sciences at Arizona State University and Centennial Professor at LSE. He is also a previous director of LSE. Monika Krause is an Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology and co-Director of LSE Human Rights. The online event will take place on 19th October.

October 18th – 24th
Funding the Future: How the climate crisis intersects with your giving: Active Philanthropy and Dafne invite you to a virtual discussion on the climate philanthropy guide ‘Funding the Future’ compiled by Active Philanthropy. The climate crisis is here and will impact the work of foundations on many levels. Funders have a unique role in helping shift our economic and financial systems to enable greater resilience and wellbeing. But so far, less than 2% of philanthropic giving is dedicated to climate change. How can foundations and philanthropists enhance their role in fighting the climate crisis? And how can funders add a climate lens to their existing portfolios? The online event will take place on 20th October.

October 18th – 24th
Nesta Sparks: Toolbox Sessions: Impact Investment: This session will focus on Impact investment, which seeks to deliver positive social and/or environmental benefits alongside financial returns, by providing capital to organisations that develop products and services or use their operational infrastructure to make a positive difference to society. The online event will take place on 20th October.

October 18th – 24th
Freedom on the Net 2020: The Pandemic’s Digital Shadow: You are invited to join Freedom House for the launch of Freedom on the Net 2020 and take part in a lively discussion about how COVID-19 is fuelling digital repression worldwide. This year’s report documents how state and nonstate actors are exploiting opportunities created by the pandemic to shape online narratives, censor critical speech, and build the foundation for a future surveillance state. The conversation will also address country-specific developments and how recent moves to enforce “cyber sovereignty” threaten the future of the free, open, and global internet. The online event will take place on 21st October.

October 18th – 24th
EPIM learning sessions on the drivers of change for migration in Europe:
EPIM is conducting a review of its funding portfolio to ensure it remains relevant in the coming years. They have invited field actors to contribute to an analysis of key political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal drivers of change influencing migration today and tomorrow. The results of the exercise will be published as a summary paper in mid-October. EPIM has invited experts to discuss the results amongst themselves and with an audience of funders in the migration space. Session 1: Experts will discuss key political, technological and legal drivers of change; Session 2: Experts will discuss key environmental, social and economic drivers of change; and Conclusion: Funders will reflect on their take-aways from the discussions. The online event will take place on 21st October. To register, email

October 18th – 24th
Annual Conference on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2020: This online conference will address the barriers that persons with disabilities still face when accessing justice in practice, in particular persons deprived of their legal capacity and obliged to act through an appointed legal guardian. This conference will provide a forum for discussion of the challenges involved in the application of key notions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, relevant EU law and the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as well as of best practice in the field. The online event will take place between 21st and 23rd October.

October 18th – 24th
The Paradox Between Human Rights and Security Politics: The rise of technology has a growing impact on security and adds to the number of questions that arise when security policy intersects with human rights. Should governments and the EU limit export of surveillance technology? Should information obtained through torture be used by police and security agencies? Should encryption be banned for the sake of security over privacy? When should freedom of speech prevail over official security concerns? This event will explore the issues raised by the use of modern technology and its impact on security politics and human rights. Speakers: Daniela Haarhuis, Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf; Gijs de Vries, Visiting Senior Fellow at the LSE European Institute and former State Secretary of the Interior in the government of The Netherlands; and Jennifer Jackson-Preece, Associate Professor in Nationalism at LSE. The online event will take place on 22nd October.

October 25th – 31st
Black and British: Exploring female identity: The Guardian invites you to join the second in its livestreamed series discussion, in which they explore what it means to be a black woman in the UK today. Statistics show that black women are twice as likely as white women to be arrested, that unemployment rates are significantly higher for ethnic minorities, and that nearly 50% of black women in the UK do not feel their human rights are as equally protected as those of white people. What effects do these figures have in shaping female black identities and lives? The panel of speakers, which includes Nesrine Malik, Guardian columnist, as chair, and with Cardiff University lecturer in Digital Media Studies Dr Francesca Sobande, presenter and journalist Chanté Joseph, and author and journalist Bolu Babalola will be exploring through a black female lens how race and identity have been configured from colonialism and Empire, and how acronyms such as ‘BAME’ dilute the unique experiences of millions. The online event will take place on 28th October.

Until 2nd November
Exhibition; Face to Face: Face to Face, a new exhibition curated by Ekow Eshun, gathers social documentary and portrait photography from regions where the Fund for Global Human Rights is active — Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia — presenting encounters that celebrate the agency, energy, and potential of people and causes on the ground. In working closely with individuals and local communities, the approach of the selected photographers in Face to Face mirrors the values and approach of the Fund. Instead of imposing its own solutions on partners, the Fund respects their expertise, invests in their ideas and asks them how best to address human rights problems facing their communities. The exhibition will run until 2nd November, in London, United Kingdom.

November 8th – December 12th
MALKIA – Women Managers Rise Up: Skilling for Success: The ITCILO Programme for Employers Activities is launching a new mobile tool to empower managers who are women, called MALKIA. Managers who are women are invited to join MALKIA in a five-week online course. MALKIA’S hands-on, mixed-method approach includes: 5 self-paced learning modules on gender biases and core skills for line managers; live webinars to go deeper and exchange key women empowerment issues; operational coaching to develop autonomy in resolving challenges; and the opportunity to find out how you can make a difference at work for you and your team. The online course will take place between 9th November and 11th December.

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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