The Resilience Funders Network (RFN) is a membership-based organization of independent funders and funder support organizations seeking to reimagine philanthropy to address interconnected social, environmental, technological, and economic challenges of the global polycrisis.
We believe the complexity of the ‘polycrisis’ calls for reimagining how funding flows. While climate philanthropy, for example, tackles ecological breakdown, polycrisis philanthropy emphasizes the interconnectedness of issues like climate, conflict, hunger, and disease. It demands more intersectoral, collaborative, and systems-based approaches to address multidimensional challenges simultaneously.
The RFN focuses on developing a shared understanding of the global polycrisis and the larger context within which sector-specific grantmaking strategies unfold. Our goal is to create a space for the emergence of a new approach to philanthropy and impact investing that takes the challenges and opportunities of the polycrisis into full account. As one of our members succinctly put it, “if you don’t factor in the polycrisis you get strategies that are very likely to fail.”
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Formed in 2016 by a group of funders highly conscious of the rapidly accelerating nexus of local, national and global crises, we were among the first to use the term ‘polycrisis’ to convey the complex, multifactorial nature of today’s global challenges. We believe there is an urgent need to develop strategies that address key leverage points in the global polycrisis as a whole at every level and in every sector.
We are also aware of the many reasons foundations have not embraced polycrisis thinking in their strategies. Most foundations are drawn to focused sectoral strategies. Boards and staff focus on metrics and deliverables for focused strategies. The polycrisis seems too large and complex to factor into their work.
The Resilience Funders Network is designed to address those challenges. We are both a learning community and a community of practice. We are committed to engaging, experimenting, collaborating, and learning together.. We facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration grounded in diverse lived experiences and integrative worldviews. In this way, our members can support multilayered actions tailored to the complexity of the polycrisis.
Our members are funders (past and present) and thought partners from a diversity of backgrounds, including academia, the nonprofit realm, and business. Our members fund initiatives worldwide, from grassroots organizing to institutional change. Some prepare their own communities for shocks ahead, while others drive consciousness shifts. We believe localised and systemic efforts are interconnected and have much to teach one another.
Our aim is to enrich decision-making by facilitating access to diverse perspectives. This includes convening protected spaces for reflection and engaging experts across scientific and other disciplines. We believe this exposure to collective wisdom allows members to better anticipate the unexpected, cascading impacts of philanthropy. By envisioning systemic implications more collaboratively, funders can make informed investments to further social and environmental flourishing.
RFN is a multi-centric collaborative. It is housed within Omega, an incubator for polycrisis resilience work based at Commonweal, a 48-year-old grant-making and grant-receiving nonprofit centre with over 30 national and international projects.
RFN has deep collaborative relationships with many of its foundation partners. RFN is directed by Tamzin Ractliffe, who also directs the Impact Trust. Based in the UK, the Impact Trust has a long history of grassroots educational work in South Africa. The Impact Trust is RFN’s lead on a growing number of international initiatives, including with WINGS, a global community of thought leaders and changemakers committed to ensuring philanthropy reaches its fullest potential as a catalyst for social progress.
As a learning community, we invite you to join us in this critical exchange of wisdom grounded in lived experience.
If interested in RFN membership, please contact our director Tamzin Ractliffe at email@example.com.
We support our members by providing:
- Knowledge sharing through virtual and in-person events on polycrisis issues and effective funding strategies.
- Networking and collaboration opportunities with peer funders, polycrisis experts, and practitioners.
- Access to thematic workshops and dialogues on relevant focus areas like systems thinking, disaster response, intergenerational wisdom, and contemplative practices.
- An online library with research, case studies, funding guides, and more, plus a quarterly newsletter.
- Workshops on integrating climate and systemic issues into grantmaking portfolios.
- Invitations to member-led philanthropy workshops like the RFN/ Impact Trust’s Resilience Practitioner Series.
- Connections to partner networks furthering global philanthropy.
RFN Advisory Board
The RFN has cultivated relationships with thought and practice leaders and experts across climate science, social science, environmental studies, contemplative traditions, health, and more. We engage these perspectives to expand our collective wisdom for addressing interconnected crises.
Ultimately, we believe it is the diverse experiential expertise of all our members that steers our learning community. By interweaving broad and localized wisdom, we can nurture holistic responses to this moment.
Preeta D. Bansal
Lincoln Community Foundation
Jenifer Altman Foundation
Past Program Officer
Ford Foundation & Aga Khan Foundation
Grace Communications Foundation
Senior VP & Director
Land & People Lab at Trust for Public Land Professor Emeritus
University of Washington School of Public Health
Sonoma Valley Catalyst Fund
N Square & Horizon 2045
Biodiversity Funders Group
Director Environment & Health Program
Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Jenifer Altman Foundation
Jenifer Altman Foundation
Director of the India Programme
Special Advisor to the President at Oak Foundation
The Russell Family Foundation
Chet Tchozewski Founder
Global Greengrants Fund Board Member
Clementine Fund, Chino Cienega Foundation & Voqal Fund
RFN Membership Registration
The RFN is a learning community for philanthropic funders and foundations, impact investors, consultants working in philanthropy and individual donors supporting work that helps navigate the polycrisis wherever that may be happening.
There is no fee to join, and you can register your interest and affiliation by completing the form below.
As an RFN member you will be invited to events and webinars which may extend beyond ‘funder only’ conversations. These are open for attendance with clear rules of engagement that enable a safe space for all.
As we continue to incubate new programs and expand our current work, we welcome thoughtful partners you may wish to suggest. Please feel free to drop us a line or connect with us on Linkedin.