We are pleased to announce the release of the 2021 Ariadne Forecast for European Social Change and Human Rights Funders!
Making predictions about 2021 seems like a foolish endeavour. 2020 subverted all of our expectations and turned our plans inside out. Ask people to share their insights into the coming year, and the most common reaction is to plead for reassurance that there will be no more surprises. ‘Things have to get better, don’t they?’ is the refrain of early 2021.
As we probe a little deeper, though, what emerges is the belief that things can, indeed, get better but that we have to help make them that way. The past year opened up the possibility to re-evaluate, to reimagine how our lives and societies could be structured. It has been a painful time for many, if not most, and there is undoubtedly more struggle to come as the economic impact of the pandemic comes even more sharply into focus. We can’t turn away from that reality, but we can push through the cracks this crisis has exposed in the structures we built and consider new constructions, lay new foundations.
Philanthropy can hold the space for reimagining what the future might look like. It can support diverse and creative minds to articulate new solutions, marginalised communities to participate in the decisions that will shape their lives, and the advocacy efforts to influence the policy landscape to make change possible.
Sifting through the submissions for this year’s Forecast, it’s clear that there is a real appetite among European foundations for change. Very few people are hoping to go back to the way things were in 2019. They want, instead, to find the gems among the rubble: what positive changes have come out of the upheaval of 2020? What do we want to keep, and what do we want to do differently? People speak of some changes having been inevitable and only accelerated by the pandemic. There is no going back. So as philanthropy, let’s embrace change but try to make it positive change. Let’s help ensure that the future that is built is as inclusive, equitable, and green as possible. We may not be able control the future, but we hold the tools to influence it.