Grassroots Organizations and Global Fund for Children Call on Philanthropy to Make Flexible Funding the Norm

February 6, 2024 | Press Releases

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February 7, 2024 – Global Fund for Children (GFC), a longstanding champion of supporting communities and organizations dedicated to the rights of children and youth, and its community-based partners are amplifying the growing calls in philanthropy for flexible funding through the #FlexibleFundingWorks campaign, part of the Funding for Real Change project led by Ariadne and EDGE Funders Alliance.

According to the Council on Foundations’ The State of Global Giving 2022 report, only 14% of US foundations’ global grant dollars are for general or unrestricted report, leaving many nonprofit organizations struggling to meet core operational needs. The Funding for Real Change project advocates for a future in which project costs are fully funded and multi-year flexible funding is more common.

For three decades, GFC has been at the forefront of channeling funding directly into communities, where it is needed most and where it can have the most impact. In recent years, GFC’s approach to funding has evolved to be even more trust-based, long-term, and flexible. This change reflects GFC’s commitment to reshaping philanthropy and to serving as an ally to community-based and youth-led organizations tackling complex challenges facing young people and their communities. For 83% of our partners over the past fiscal year, we were the first funder to offer flexible funding.

Vanessa Stevens, Director of Innovation and Influencing at GFC, emphasized the importance of a shift toward funding fully and flexibly: “Global Fund for Children trusts community leaders to prioritize their organizations’ needs. Seventy-six percent of our partners report that our flexible funding positively impacts other areas of their work – the programs they design with young people, the infrastructure for their organization, and the wellbeing of their team members. It’s imperative that funders take steps to ensure that organizations have the resources they need to thrive.”

Every funder can take steps to become more flexible. The Funding for Real Change website promotes multiple options, including full-cost coverage for projects and “all-in” project support, which allows organizations to use funds flexibly within a project.

Funder practices matter to community-based organizations. This past year, GFC convened a group of community and youth leaders in a participatory process to explore and define their priorities for change in philanthropy and global development. Known as the Change Champions. Their unanimous priority was clear: more flexible, long-term support.

Program Manager Salome S. Tulay of Community Healthcare Initiative, a GFC partner in Liberia and a member of the strategy group, said, “Flexible funding has positively impacted the health and sustainability of  organization by empowering us to be more adaptable, innovative, and strategic in achieving our mission. It provides the necessary resources and freedom to navigate challenges, seize opportunities, sustain the continuity of our work, and build long-term resilience.”

In addition to advocating for long-term flexible funding, GFC’s community-based partners are calling for broader changes in philanthropy. These include making funding more accessible and contextualized for local communities, prioritizing capacity development based on organizations’ needs, and shifting toward more community-centered evaluation and learning.

GFC extends an invitation to funders, philanthropy networks, and the media to engage in a dialogue about trust-based approaches to flexible funding. Over the coming months, as part of GFC’s 30th anniversary and in celebration of community-led change, GFC and its community-based partners will share stories showcasing the power of flexible, long-term support based on trust.  Learn more on World NGO Day on Tuesday, February 27 at two global online events at 8:00 am EST and at 4:00 pm EST celebrating the power of non-governmental organizations like community-based organizations and grassroots groups and explore the resourcing they need to thrive.

Join us in our mission to transform philanthropy and support community-led change. Together, we can redefine the future of giving and ensure that funding reaches those who need it most to power social change.



Blondie Ndebele
Global Fund for Children
+1 (202) 222-0813
[email protected]

About Global Fund for Children

Global Fund for Children partners with grassroots organizations around the world, helping them deepen their impact on the lives of children and youth and develop their capacity for social change. By pairing flexible funding with targeted capacity development services, we support community-led groups to shift social norms, policies, and practices to foster lasting change for children and youth. Since 1997, we have invested over $63 million in more than 1,000 organizations worldwide.

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Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.

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