Jake Ferguson & Vanessa Thomas, Baobab Foundation: Creating a new kind of philanthropic funder
February 02, 2023
In this episode Rhod talks to Jake Ferguson and Vanessa Thomas, two of the Committee members of the Baobab Foundation - a new member-led endowed grantmaker that is seeking to address issues of systemic racism and intersectional injustice in the UK. Including:
- How did the Baobab Foundation come about?
- What has been the progress so far?
- Has the momentum behind addressing issues of racial justice that we saw in the nonprofit world following the murder of George Floyd in 2020 been maintained?
- Why have Black and minority-led organisations historically lost out when it comes to philanthropic funding?
- How is Baobab foundation trying to shift power to those who would traditionally have been seen as the recipients of philanthropy?
- Why has Baobab decided not to adopt a traditional charitable structure?
- How is Baobab trying to influence the way other funders work?
- Does the philanthropy sector in the UK have a diversity problem?
- Can Baobab play a longer-term role in offering a route into grantmaking for more people from Black and minority communities?
- Why is building an endowment such an important aim of Baobab?
- Can Baobab play a useful role as an intermediary in overcoming some of the barriers in relationships between more traditional/risk-averse funders and grassroots organisations/social movements?
- Are there challenges in trying to bring together different types of knowledge (e.g. lived experience and professional expertise)? How do you navigate these?
- Why was it important for Baobab to adopt a horizonatal, non-hierarchical structure?
- How can measurement be a useful tool for organisations that receive funding, and not just a means to reinforce the dominance of the funder?
- How can donors, funders and CSOs get involved with Baobab Foundation?