Kirsten, Stacie, Jenni, Nathan Robbins, Kristen Grant, Kelt Wilska
Outdoor Equity Fund. Nature Based Consortium: teachers, outdoor educators, create access for power of outdoor learning for all. Network came together to set priorities. Create more equitable access to outdoor spaces. Create funding opportunities. Looked for partner who lived into our own values. Partnered with Maine Initiatives.
Process we used and faciliatate design. Participatory Grant Making: values are community members and those involved are those who make decisions and guide funding. Ceding decision making powers to communities. Centering on relationship based and trust based funding to meet equity goals.
Create outdoor experiences on Wabanaki lands. Did an analysis on who is facing largest barriers to start. Started with broader look – quickly id’ed as BIPOC who are getting outside far less than any other group. Stark contrast to who is getting outside. Identifying that as people who faced the biggest barriers. Made the most sense to focus on BIPOC groups. Larger big tent goals. Process: have community involved in design, implementation. Had 7 community members in outdoor design the fund from the start. Set priorities. Had barriers themselves. All were stipend. Big barrier is time/loss of revenue. These are the experts on the experience. They hold the information. Grantmaking retreat: review applications and do that together. Each step is a step for building relationships. Created space to build relationship around that. Even with grantees, another opportunity to build relationships.
Three years of relationships doing great work. Resources available to grantees: going beyond funding, providing funding.
Fifteen designers. Had two groups of advisors. 1 for design, 1 for grantmaking. Partnered with Maine Initiatives. And, used networks to do outreach. Sending out outreach to people we don’t know. Putting it into people where they are at. Actively going to where people were.
Put out a short form (interest form), set of criteria looking for. Who should be in that space. Philanthropy? Familiarity with outdoor spaces? Kept short to value people’s time.
Had to make decisions. Opportunity to build relationship if not selected. Builds its own ecosystem. Each part of the process – will deepen and strengthen relationships.
Tapping into going beyond funding and honoring the people who have that information in an impactful and lasting way.
Everything can be re-visited. Especially if feedback from community. Another 10 grants next year. Look at what work and creating changes. Living process.
Called in grant coaches – need to be more active in offering those.
Restrictions: can only fund 501 c 3. Looking to pull in fiscal sponsors. Could find a match for them to apply. Being creative in ways to meet those.
Climate Corps: state rules. Peer reviewers – to help make decisions.
Centering relationships: systems we offer. Outreach: going to where people (not expecting them to come to us). Get trainings, get more resources. Funding relationship. Community of practice.
Give something up is risky. What is the value the advisors are getting? Relationship is fundamental goal. Well aligned and established to people who have resources and know the lay of the land. Create flows of resources. Community advisor joining storytelling working group. Also optional stipends.
Wabanaki youth & science: western science and traditional
Juneteenth Downeast: get people outside and lift up stories of Juneteenth.
Group sets what outdoor equity in Maine.
Cultural activities and land return initiatives with land trust.
Diverse ways equity is being.
Timeline: 2018 set priorities: outdoor equity became a priority. Working group was formed. Last February, things didn’t go as planned. Timeline shifted, major events. Have understanding funders through this process. Did first outreach in late summer, met in Aug/Sep. Meeting monthly until December. Talking about priorities. Went right until the end of the year. RFP in December. Opened applications in January. Need more time between RFP release and deadline.
Aug- Dec: Design
March: Reader and decision making process,
Now: Evaluative process.
What is a value to the grantees. Uplift the work they are doing.
Reaching them where they are: Being connected to community. Showing up to events and genuinely supporting. Still had gaps: there were gaps. Showing up without expectations to group organization would like to see. Leaning on personal and network relationships. Different outdoor learning to see who could be part of process.
Look at what isn’t represented. Where to put energy.
No reporting requirement for grantees. How do you report back to funders to demonstrate impact? Storytelling and having strong relationships. Consent based stories. It’s an option to grantees. If we demonstrate the values and have good relationships, people will want to report.
What do you need beyond resources? Offering things that nonprofits don’t have time for. For example, having photographer availability to sustain.
Mentorship. Way to build relationships. Put together a resource library: reached out to others to pull together venues, space, mentorship and you’ll be added to this library from different fields. Maine Audubon, MEEA. Take priorities and make moves. Generative space. Increase ability to do the work.
Partnerships. Board and Staff members 50% BIPOC (2 or more of those groups). Could have low score but looking at a whole of where work is being done. Full look at cohort when making funding decisions. Will help with guidance on decisions.
Newer orgs. It is hard to get new org going is heavier than when have momentum. And acknowledge background orgs are key to continuation of field.