Webinar Recap

Collaboration is Key: SAFSF & HEFN

On September 20, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF) and Health and Environmental Funders Network (HEFN) worked together to co-host “Participatory Grantmaking 101: Funder Peer Learning,” an introductory level webinar for funders in either network. The collaboration—led by Erin Olschewski, program director for SAFSF, and Kalila Booker-Cassano, director of programs for HEFN—was an opportunity to bring together overlapping audiences for a topic that many funders in both networks are eager to dig deeper into. SAFSF has held several smaller conversations over recent years that have touched on participatory grantmaking but had yet to host a dedicated virtual space solely on the importance of the practice. Kalila said, “Erin first approached me about this idea in the summer, and I’m so glad that we were able to collaborate! Working across networks always offers a really great opportunity to examine intersectionalities, and reach new audiences – I’m sure there were HEFN members who aren’t in the sustainable ag space, and likewise SAFSF members who aren’t funding environmental health and justice!” HEFN hosts a participatory grantmaking learning community for funders in their network and SAFSF saw an opportunity to bring that work to a larger audience and team up to bring funders from both spaces into the conversation to share theory and practice with their peers. The webinar had nearly 100 registrants and over 60 participants, all active in the chat and offering many great questions for the funder speakers. “The beauty of the conversation about participatory grantmaking is that it transcends issue area, and lets us discuss the principles and values behind the ways in which we fund, and who holds the power in our funding processes,” said Kalila. Both organizations hope to collaborate again in the future, on participatory grantmaking and other cross-cutting topics. SAFSF deeply values PSO collaboration and hopes to build relationships with other mission-aligned PSOs; we look forward to bringing quality, collaborative programming to new and overlapping funder audiences with our partners.