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Solidarity fundraising, an equity-driven framework: A commentary by Jeff Wokulira Ssebaggala and Annie Lascoe

August 19, 2022

Leadership_handshake_credit_VioletaStoimenova_GettyImages-1365436662When Witness Radio in Kampala, Uganda, faced a government crackdown on groups protesting the World Bank-funded Lubigi Drainage Channel, the organization had to dedicate all its capacity to ensuring its team’s safety. This was in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when funding was urgently needed to continue its mission—in this case, stopping a development project that could force the eviction of dozens of local families. In response, Accountability Counsel, Witness Radio’s San Francisco-based partner, provided support by making introductions to key funders, which enabled Witness Radio to secure both emergency funds and long-term support for their work.

We refer to this joint effort—through a relationship that extends beyond our substantive work together—as “solidarity fundraising.” Solidarity fundraising is the act of leveraging funding relationships for the benefit of peer and partner organizations. By making high-value introductions to aligned funders, we can apply an equity-driven framework to philanthropy, starting at the grassroots level.

Solidarity, not charity

Solidarity fundraising presents an opportunity to subvert the traditional funding model that often excludes marginalized individuals and communities. It enables those of us with greater access to capital and resources to be more effective partners to civil society organizations and frontline communities. By leveraging our connections and resources, we can build a philanthropy ecosystem based on mutual cooperation and provide better support to those who have been traditionally denied a seat at the table....

Read the full commentary by Jeff Wokulira Ssebaggala, country director of Witness Radio in Uganda, and Annie Lascoe, director of development at Accountability Counsel.

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Violeta Stoimenova)

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