Friday Insights (1st November)

1 November 2019

Happy Friday all! Hope you’re enjoying those leftover Halloween sweets. Today, we have two big project partner achievements to celebrate, and we’re reflecting on Ten Years’ Time’s recent report on climate change, social change, and how funders can act on both.

Project partner updates

First off, a huge congratulations to Ruth Ibegbuna, founder of former project partner RECLAIM (among many, many other accomplishments in the sector and beyond), for making Charity Times’ Top 25 Most Influential Charity Sector Leaders. She’s gotten a fabulous write up in the most recent edition of Charity Times, which says: “People from across the sector have described Ibegbuna as a ‘relentless change-maker’ who ‘inspires other leaders to use as many platforms as possible to fight for the cause they most care about’.” Congratulations Ruth, we’re so proud of you!

Voice 21 held a launch event for their new oracy benchmarks this week, which we were lucky enough to attend. The benchmarks are a tool that will help teachers unlock untapped oracy potential in their schools – helping them understand which steps to take in order to ensure that they are delivering a quality oracy education, and equipping them to track their progress along the way. Oracy is complex, and as such is often overlooked in curriculum – we were impressed with the way the benchmarks made oracy tangible, and made delivering it well feel achievable (with time and effort, of course). Congrats to Voice 21 on all of your hard work!

Supporting social change and climate action simultaneously

Our friends at Ten Years’ Time released their thought-provoking new report on how funders can act on both social change and climate change. Every sector needs to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 (the government’s legally binding target), ideally much sooner – and funders can help bring this about, even if climate action isn’t explicitly in our missions. We’d recommend reading the whole report (it’s certainly given a lot on which to reflect), but here are some of our key takeaways:

  • Making the sector greener through funding the grassroots: by funding social change in local communities, especially underserved or marginalized ones, we can create co-benefits for both social equality at a local level and climate resilience. Strong local communities are key to both fighting and adapting to climate change – and we are learning that education is a key ingredient in building this kind of strength and cohesion. We’re supporting the Big Education Conversation to galvanize local communities to come together to answer the question: how do we better prepare young people for their futures? We look forward to seeing the actions that they come up with.
  • Making sure young people are heard: young people are our most important voices and advocates for climate action today. We can support climate action by making sure they can use their voices to advocate for the change they wish to see and make sure they can build their joint power. This is why we have funded (and will continue to fund) projects working in increasing young people’s agency – projects like Voice 21 and their pioneering work in oracy, Generation Change and The Key who are making sure young people are taking part in social action, and RECLAIM, who are equipping working class young people to close the leadership gap.

There is so, so much more to do – from re-thinking our own internal practices to thinking deeply about what we want our role in climate action should be as a funder catalyzing long term change in education to be. We look forward to learning more from partners like Ten Years’ Time on this topic.