I’m a bit shocked to realise that it’s twenty years since I first wrote about the Network for Social Change. In fact the Network has been operating, quietly and below the radar, since 1985. It brings together people who, in one way or another, have acquired a relatively significant amount of money and want to use their wealth to help – as the name suggests – to achieve social change.
The Network has spawned a number of other initiatives over the years, including the Funding Network which I wrote about in the Observer a mere ten years ago. And now an email comes through from one of the founder members of NSC telling me of another similar venture, Edge Fund.
Edge Fund is a venture designed to make the process of giving money away a collaborative and collective experience. It is structured as a cooperative and also aims to work cooperatively: “Edge Fund members make decisions together about how we give out money and how the organisation is run,” it says. The Edge Fund also tries to break down the usual barriers between donor and recipient, with all the difficulties and power inequalities that represents.
It is deliberately not a charity, so that it is not limited in where the money goes. As it says, Edge Fund is overtly radical, supporting communities, campaign groups and activists struggling for social, economic and environmental justice.
I rather like what it’s trying to achieve.