Firetree Philanthropy is the grant-making and the external philanthropic partnerships arm of the Trust. It supports people, grassroots organisations and networks that are building more inclusive, equitable and just futures in the communities in which we collectively work.
Nicky Wilkinson and the whole Philanthropy team and Board strive to develop deep, open relationships that are driven by trust, and built on mutual respect, flexibility, learning and shared values. We know this takes time - often years - and it is not easy. In our experience having patience and allowing the necessary time is the only way to tackle power dynamics, to fund effectively and, most importantly, to achieve our shared goals with partners.
Firetree Philanthropy’s grant making approach is entirely structured on trust-based partnerships with value aligned social purpose organizations, NGOs, non-profits and networks.
Firetree Philanthropy gives multi-year unrestricted grants and – when appropriate - it advocates for the Trust to give other types of social investments (i.e. interest free loans to social enterprises and innovative non-profit organizations).
Firetree Philanthropy’s partners are embedded in the communities they work with, they are deeply collaborative and multi-faceted in their approach and therefore each partnership is based upon the needs of each organization we support and the context in which it operates.
Firetree Philanthropy’s role in The Philanthropic System
Philanthropy can support innovative approaches, foster collaboration and play a catalytic role in shifting outcomes in communities. Accordingly, Firetree Philanthropy believes connecting, learning and sharing both successes and challenges is a fundamental part of achieving long-term change. As this is a key component that we look for in our partners, we must work to embody this ourselves.
This is done through:
Regular blogs to openly share our learning and share insights / resources from our partners
Funding networks and coalitions, where appropriate
Commission, take part in and facilitate specific research in areas of to contribute to shared learning.
Firetree Philanthropy can develop its own direct social initiatives rather than (exclusively, at least) relying on partnership funding when a clear gap exists in a current context in which members of our team have direct applicable knowledge/experience of the problem(s) and can work with others to play a role in directly designing interventions to build long-term solutions. Tondo Community Initiative (TCI) is an example of this.
When grassroots changemakers that we know well (often through years of our partnership funding work) are contemplating their next professional steps to learn how they can continue to contribute to systemic change in their communities, we can provide a fellowship to enable them to (re)map the needs and root causes, to (re)map stakeholders, identify any gaps and test their assumptions in order to best determine what – if any – their role should be. At the end of this process, if a decision is taken to develop a collaborative initiative this may be incubated within Firetree.