Since 2008, Thriving Resilient Communities Collaboratory (TRCC) has been pioneering the use of collaborative funding to forward innovation on the ground. In 2017, Shareable participated in one of TRCC’s participatory grant-making and ended up joining forces with three other organizations to support 17 community resilient initiatives! Working together to find common ground created a much greater impact than if each organization had been competing against one another for funding!
This year, with the creation of the Dojo, TRCC has envisioned a kind of incubator supporting new initiatives to get off the ground as well as learning journeys focused on collaborative funding approaches and tools for effective organizing around money and power.
The first edition of the Dojo is in the final stages right now and was shaped around two pools of money. The first pool for teams to host practice sessions and workshops during the Dojo and another funding pool for initiatives coming out of the Dojo. While that second pool has yet to be dispersed, we couldn’t wait to share insights from eight of the hosting teams who completed the Dojo portion of this journey.
Circle Forward presented the Network Governance Design Canvas as a tool for assessment and reflection. Governance gives form to power and is therefore a key leverage point for transforming systems. They opened dialogues regarding how connections between equity, decision-making, and participation show up most acutely when making decisions about resourcing. Resource flows shift when equity is operationalized and those most impacted by decisions have a voice in decision-making. They also opened a dialogue about how consent-based processes are designed to uncover blind spots and to weave diverse perspectives into wiser decisions.
It was valuable and gratifying to hear affirmative feedback that the Network Governance Design Canvas actually helps clarify and expand the definition of governance in networks beyond just decision-making and agreements! Circle Forward is requesting funding from the Initiatives Pool to provide this service to more networks doing equity work and needing facilitation, coaching, and consultation to implement the practices that operationalize equity, transparency, and forward momentum.
Learn more here.
Defund, Reparations, and Regenerative Movement Synergy
This hosting team took Peter Block’s Six Conversations Master Course together. They brought their know-how to a mixed group of people from the regenerate, reparation, and defund movements. This introductory call aimed to connect siloed movements, all acting in service of a Just Transition.
The second conversation was grounded in the dissent framework and aimed at inviting disagreement and/or divergent opinions to explore what these movements had to offer one another. However, the event did not get much traction. The hosting team learned that to foster genuine momentum to have these important conversations there needs to be leadership from each of the movements in order for there to be profound implications.
The necessity of deeper learning into how to collaborate was made evident in the debrief and reflection conversations but showed through most glaringly during their difficulty in deciding how to allocate their hosting team resources!
Learn more here.
Photo credit: Christine Roy Unsplash
The Money Game
Greaterthan hosted the ‘Money Game-Virtual Edition‘, a 2.5-hour online game that is played (with your own money) to unpack your personal relationship to money. Two different groups played the game and, one week later, both groups had a reflection session together, to share insights and reflect on how this game also helps reveal collective patterns and stories about money.
The reflection session was an experiment and a real highlight they will definitely repeat! The two groups, having had the same experience but separately, created a very special and intimate space with so many great insights.
They are seeing a growing curiosity for this kind of work, and see an opportunity for the Money Game to become much more accessible to the public by being offered as an online experience.
For updates on this project, sign up to their mailing list here.
Leading with the Heart: A Constellation for Regenerative Resource Allocation
Leading with the Heart: A Constellation for Regenerative Resource Allocation’s dojo activity was rooted in Systemic Constellation practice. This included representing aspects of the local food system (from people, water, land, indigenous peoples, currency, etc) and using somatic awareness to explore the relationships between these entities.
The group used the microcosm of their experience allocating their hosting team funding amongst themselves as a way to explore the funding process as it currently exists in our society.
Diving into the emotional aspects of resource systems revealed the dominant role of the mind as well as the work needed to shed biases and attachments in making decisions. Healing began to unlock when they tapped into the wisdom of their bodies and heart-minds.
The Grant Quest
The Collective Intelligence Collaboratory (CICOLAB) hosted calls dedicated to the development of The Grant Quest, a long-term project to use federated and interoperable technology to build and maintain an open, international grant database for groups to collaborate and raise more money together!
They found value in further building relationships and bringing together stakeholders to figure out what the low-hanging fruits might be. For instance, how they can use Trove, Ward Cunningham’s FedWiki, and other technology from their own collective intelligence community as backbone structures for The Grant Quest.
It became clear that everybody showing up to get involved in The Grant Quest didn’t want to have another weekly meeting, so they are now focusing on designing an asynchronous and easy-to-follow structure, with a couple of real grants on the table that they are applying for, to make the process easy to follow and to take up less time.
Learn more here.
Thriving Communities Fund
Eagle Market Streets Development Corporation, CDC (EMSDC), used their Dojo activity as leverage to continue sharing the message of innovative, alternative financing vehicles. This process confirmed there is an unquestionable need for their product! While the structure is unheard of, would-be-contributors were still willing to donate because they understood how charitable contributions work.
The greatest challenge for the fund in future rounds is finding their ideal customer. Keeping pace with Fund growth opportunities will also be a welcome challenge. Their team is diligently at work on the next round of funding and finding new businesses. They are also working on a “virtual back office”–for the businesses and continuing to share the Communities Equity Fund and Thriving Communities Fund message.
Learn more here.
NorCal Resilience Fund
A diverse team of women led The NorCal Resilience Fund to create a collaborative governance and finance structure for a Just Resilience Fund. They designed a pilot project to allocate such a Fund among the NorCal Resilience Network (NCRN) Resilience Hubs Leadership Training cohort.
You can see the slides for the review meeting they hosted for the network’s fundraising group, steering committee, and the Leadership Training cohort here.
One highlight was building leadership skills around collaborative funding. It was a new idea for many people, but they were excited to learn more and to have a voice in how a fund could work in Northern CA. During the design, they caught a glimpse of the big power shift that results from funding a community-based team to govern the fund!
They also learned that their expectations were too high on how fast they could go! They need to move at the speed of trust and systems thinking.
Learn more here.
NorCal Integrated Capital Learning Circle
The NorCal Integrated Capital Learning Circle hosted sessions over 5 consecutive weeks titled “A Learning Circle for Capital Stewards and Community Stewards” for folks engaged in Regenerative Economic Development in Northern California. The circle was a valuable opportunity to build relationships and share stories among both capital and community stewards.
The team is especially eager to cross-pollinate across the bio-region and to apply collaborative fundraising in their local communities. They will be meeting again to submit a proposal to the Initiatives pool!
To dive into the details of their learning, you can read their report, here.
Next steps for the TRCC Dojo
Most Dojo hosting teams are now looking forward to submitting, reviewing, and allocating funding to each other’s initiative proposals. The design of the allocation process for the Initiatives Pool was created collaboratively with Dojo participants and should be completed by the end of September.
If you’re curious to explore the connections between the hosting teams and the value flows within this evolving ecosystem of actors, check out this map that the core team has been developing.
With the pandemic, the TRCC has taken on the challenge to find new ways to work online to serve the networks doing transformational work on the ground.
The Dojo’s core team is building on TRCC’s gravitas and the lightweight synchronous and asynchronous tools and processes they developed for this online experience to serve more networks in advancing their collective capacity to move money in service of a Just Transition. You can follow their work by signing up to the Dojo Newsletter here or connect with them directly by sending an email here.
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