From ‘altruism’ to solidarity: funding feminist movements

On Thursday 16th June, we were joined by feminist activist Lori Adelman. Lori is Vice President at Global Fund for Women, where she oversees strategic advocacy and communications.

Lori spoke to Intellectual Forum SRA Belinda Bell about broad-based, intersectional movements such as The Green Wave, #EndSARS, Ni Una Menos, and #MeToo, and their power to create and sustain long-term social transformation.

Lori stated that amidst unprecedented challenges – from the ongoing pandemic, to the rollback of reproductive rights, to the rise of authoritarian anti-gender forces, to environmental degradation – such movements need all the help they can get.

Yet, Lori argued, philanthropy remains charity-oriented, optimization obsessed, and homogenous: all barriers, according to Lori, to engaging with grassroots movements that hold the key to changing the status quo, but don’t resemble traditional ‘beneficiaries’. She highlighted how funders have struggled to engage movements on their own terms, at times doing more harm than good.

How can money and resources reach movements to embolden activists and fuel their impact? What must ‘doing good’ look like especially for those invested in gender, racial, and class justice?

The recording of the conversation is available on our YouTube channel.