Traditional philanthropy is often criticized for its power imbalance where the funders usually call all the shots. So who gets left out? It’s the communities and people within it who are actually impacted by the funding. Bringing community members to the decision-making table can give them the power to determine, through their lived experience, what areas they think need funding.
“I felt the power, I felt the fire”: Empowering newcomers to the Peel Region through participatory grantmaking
Many funders are interested in moving away from the traditional grantmaking models — which have been criticized as rigid, opaque and disconnected from lived experience. Community organizations say there’s value in building a flexible system — one that can change and transform based on what a community needs at any given moment.
Many small organizations are limited from accessing grants through their lack of charity status, and operational power, while still being a driving force for vital projects. Without grantmakers who will adapt to their unique needs, these grassroots community groups will be stunted from growing their impact in their communities.
On average, the Peel Region welcomes more than 18,000 newcomers every year who continue to be seriously under-employed despite being highly educated.