Our Approach to Grants and Co-funding

Our Approach to Grants and Co-funding

Over 500 people perform a flash mob where they pledged allegiance to the flag and sang the National Anthem inside the U.S. Capitol in support of Immigration Reform. This was part of United We Dream's mock Citizenship Ceremony in which hundreds of people from across the country gathered in Washington D.C. to say, "I am ready for Citizenship." Photographed July 10, 2013 (Jassiel Perez / United We Dream)

Unbound Philanthropy’s founders believe our philanthropic role in creating social change is to take calculated risks, experiment, fill gaps strategically, and invest in learning along the way.

These beliefs have strongly influenced Unbound Philanthropy’s approach, which is committed to supporting change for the long haul.

Collaboration with other funders is at the heart of who we are. Our goals are ambitious and large-scale, and most require significant levels of investment and influence. We believe taking a collective approach is essential. We collaborate with many US and UK funders in our fields, either by pooling our resources together, or by partnering to align our grants.

Our strategy to achieve social change.

(Families Belong Together, Monica Majewski), part of NotOneMoreDeportation, a project of NDLON meant to foster collaboration between individuals, organizations, artists, and allies to expose, confront, and overcome unjust immigration laws.

We use a variety of approaches to achieve social change.

We aim to provide significant support to core organizations in our fields to ensure their continuity, flexibility, and efficiency. We look carefully for opportunities to provide capacity-building support to grantees that have the potential to make systemic or large-scale change. To make the most of our limited resources, in the US, we often support intermediaries who fund small organizations working at the local or regional level.

We offer support that goes far beyond financial resources.

We support grantees in a variety of ways—for example, through capacity building, convening, and helping to build relationships among organizations with similar goals.


Partnering Beyond Geographic Boundaries

Jose Antonio Vargas, Define American

We work in partnership and collaboration with other funders.

We believe that most societal problems require collective responses and significant levels of investments over time. We frequently make grants by pooling our resources with others, or by partnering with other funders to align our grants with theirs. We believe that collaboration and partnership with other funders is essential to achieving impact.

We work across two geographic regions, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Our grantmaking in both the United States and the United Kingdom gives us a unique opportunity to exchange lessons across the two regions. We find that our ability to work across the two geographic regions enriches our experience and that of our grantees and funding partners. We encourage an active exchange between our staff, grantees, and co-funders across the two regions. (In the US, we generally do not fund local projects except in Hawaii and Arizona.)

The Value of the Arts

Portraits collected in the Canalside Estates in Hackney, London, contributing to the blog humansofcanalside.org - a collection of mini-stories and portraits of and about people living on the Estates. (Everyday on Canalside - Counterpoints Arts/Marcia Chandra)

We recognize the arts as a creative driver of change.

We believe that arts and culture have the ability to change hearts and minds and motivate people to take action, in ways that traditional organizing, advocacy, and communications strategies cannot. We are exploring effective ways of using art to advance social change.


The Importance of Community

Community event on the Canalside Estates in Hackney, June 2014, co-hosted by Everyday on Canalside project. They set up a "story booth" where they interviewed local residents, took their portrait, and created a live exhibition of the growing collection of mini-stories and portraits, contributing to the project’s blog humansofcanalside.org. (Everyday on Canalside - Counterpoints Arts/Ian Buswell)

We believe that organizations must be inclusive of the communities with whom they work.

Many of our grantees are led by first- or second-generation immigrants. To assess the diversity of our grantees, Unbound Philanthropy asks organizations seeking funding to complete a diversity survey of their board and staff members.

We are committed to exploring the intersection of our grantmaking with other issues.

For example, we seek to support work that links refugee and migrant issues with issues of gender, racial, and LGBTQ equality. Our funding has supported organizations that help empower low-income workers, increase voting and civic participation of youth, address elder care issues, and combat racial discrimination.


Community leadership training with the Migrant and Refugee Communities Forum (The Forum) (Photo Credit: Simon Mooney)

We invest in leadership in our fields.

We make a concerted effort to support development of leadership. For example, we invest in organizational leadership, immigrant leadership (with an emphasis on youth and women), artists as cultural leaders, and leadership within receiving communities on immigration issues. We also aim to support under-represented voices and to build leadership capability among those able to build bridges across issues and communities.