As a young feminist fund invested in the growth, joy and resourcing of young feminist organisers globally, one of FRIDA’s priorities is the Call for Applications process through which we welcome new grantee partners to the FRIDA Community. Throughout the years we have used values and principles important to the young feminist community such as participation, flexibility, accessibility and care in the development, implementation and learning surrounding our participatory grantmaking. Historically, FRIDA has had a Call for Applications almost every year and in 2020 we made the decision, in line with FRIDA’s current Strategic Plan to have the Call every 2 years. We felt that this made space for the intentional transition of FRIDA grantee partners, as this decision allowed for one year focused on the Call and one year focused on transition processes. We also felt that this would create space for learning in order to strengthen each iteration of the Call. Having welcomed 98 new grantee partners at the end of 2022, FRIDA’s next Call for Applications was scheduled to open next year. We have, however, made the difficult decision to not have a Call for Applications process in 2024 and commit to sharing an update on the next Call in a timely manner.
With all its beauty, the Call is also a demanding process- much of this is outlined in Resourcing Connections: Reflections on feminist participatory grantmaking practice, a research report and three year participatory inquiry into our grantmaking model. The Call involves all members of the FRIDA-verse in all its stages- and intentionally so. It is a magical and beautiful process and one that brings us so much joy, as through it we are able to welcome, learn from and accompany young feminist organisers from countries around the world doing so much meaningful work to make the spaces and places they call home stronger, sustainable, equitable and joyful.
Over the last few years FRIDA staff have collectively reflected on our ways of working, as well as on the organisational processes, structures and individual capacities that make the work we do with young feminist organisers, as well as in the philanthropic landscape possible. We have learned the importance of space and pause during moments of reflection and change. And as difficult and as counter-intuitive as it has felt for us to pass the Call for Application process, we understand that creating space and giving ourselves permission to pause ensures that decisions made come from a space of long-term strategic thinking rather than quick responses to urgency culture. We continue to learn and practice the importance of caring for all members of the FRIDA community and ensuring that this care is visible in everything we do.
We understand the importance of FRIDA’s Call for Applications as a space built intentionally for young feminist organisers to be supported by a community through close accompaniment and flexible, medium-term, core grantmaking. We also note the importance of ensuring enough capacity to build stronger internal systems and processes, especially the creation of a more robust Accompaniment Strategy for FRIDA’s current grantee partners. We are proud of our commitment to accompany grantee partners from the moment they enter the FRIDAverse until they transition out of the community and become Alumni, but with over 250 grantee partners for the past years, we haven’t been able to pause and reflect on bolstering and strengthening our Accompaniment work. Among other processes, in 2024 we plan to prioritise the development of a more caring, intentional and effective accompaniment system to encourage learning, capacity strengthening and sustainability for grantee partners. We are also excited to strengthen our grantmaking processes which will continue through the annual renewal processes of FRIDA’s current grantee partners, ensuring they are funded to do their core, operational and strategic work in communities across regions.
It is also our intention to use the coming year to strategize around when the next Call for Applications will open and communicate this publicly in a timely manner. We will also take this time to reflect on how we can continue to employ our values of flexibility, inclusivity, care and action, keeping in mind the fierce, brave, amazing young feminist organisers who may ‘age out’ of their eligibility to join the FRIDA community due to this decision.
We are hopeful that FRIDA’s next Call for Applications will be an even more magical and participatory process, focused on resourcing and supporting young feminist organisers, especially those who may not be able to access support from traditional philanthropy.