Voices from the Ground report: How can funders support those working for economic and climate justice?


JRCT’s Sustainable Future programme was created in 2014 and has made over 100 grants which aim to address the problems of consumerism, extractivism and the root causes of climate and economic harm. 

Our programme committee knew that the context for progressive economic and climate action had changed significantly since then and wanted to learn about what is needed from funders in these fields. We knew that we didn’t want a standard evaluation and instead we wanted to know how to become a more justice-oriented funder. 

The review was firmly located in the Trust’s aims of addressing root causes - and followed from the April 2021 statement about the Rowntree endowment and its origins. We wanted a critical piece of work which engaged with the question of justice and which offered us ways of truly supporting those working for a better world. 

During the review process, given what we were hearing, we began to ask ourselves who we stand with and who are we here for. As funders, we are being asked to make changes in who and what we fund. 

We have learned that those working for a better future need time and space to strategise, heal, connect with one another and experience joy and togetherness. We also learned that we should create the necessary conditions and provide the right kinds of support for this complex and nuanced work. We understand that there is a lot of work to do to build deep infrastructure to allow people to be able to work generatively and sustainably and that we ourselves need to undergo deep transformation in order to respond to what is needed.  

Sophie Long, programme manager for the Sustainable Future programme, said: "Our Sustainable Future committee is proud of the final report, produced by Anu Priya and Laura Miller, with the support of many others.
The findings in the report are relevant for all UK funders. Our committee has committed five percent of our 2023 grant-spend to test and implement the recommendations over the next 12 months."

- You can download the Issuu report above or see the PDF version here.