WES Mariam Assefa Fund Grantee Partners

Tamarack Institute

Category: Participatory Grantmaking; Trust-Based Philanthropy

Amount: C$800,000

Term: July 2021 - May 2023

Focus: Tamarack Institute is leading a participatory grantmaking pilot project in a selected community in Ontario. The project seeks to fund initiatives identified by the community that can improve the economic mobility of immigrants and refugees.

About the Tamarack Institute

The Tamarack Institute, founded in 2001, develops and supports collaborative strategies to engage individuals and institutions in solving major community issues across Canada and beyond. Tamarack uses a multi-sectoral strategy—working with non-profit leaders, policymakers, advocates, businesses, and individuals with lived experience—to drive impactful community change. Their Communities Ending Poverty project has a network of over 80 local poverty reduction roundtables led by groups from 300-plus municipalities in Canada and beyond.

What type of work will the grant enable?

Tamarack is designing and implementing an innovative participatory grantmaking pilot in a selected community in Ontario. Through the pilot, the community will identify projects and organizations to fund that help remove economic barriers and build inclusive economies for immigrants and refugees in this community. Tamarack is engaging a group of community-based stakeholders to identify needs, co-design approaches, and make funding decisions. This project will support the economic inclusion and mobility of immigrants and refugees while shifting decision-making power to the communities most impacted by the funding.

Why is this work important?

The move from traditional to participatory grantmaking has the potential to shift decision-making power to the communities most impacted by funding decisions, and to lead to outcomes that are more durable and community-centered. In Canada, many funders have moved from traditional to consultative philanthropy; however, there are few examples of true participatory grantmaking. This project will also help the Fund learn about participatory grantmaking and use what it learns to more effectively address power imbalances and advance equity by refining its funding strategies. At the same time, lessons learned from this pilot and tools developed by Tamarack will be shared more broadly with other funders and organizations in the field.