Collaborative Funding


TRCC’s collaborative funding program is a peer funding network of leading U.S.-based organizations strengthening local and regional resilience through funding transformative systems for climate, economy, and justice. This program using systems-based approaches that shift funding power to community leaders to amplify the network’s collective impact.   

For eight years, TRCC matured the TRC Council shared gifting program described below. In 2021, we are hosting a new “action learning lab” (click HERE to learn more) to support a broader cohort of networks already involved with or interested in collaborative funding. Our goal is to strengthen the movement of shifting funding power to communities that know best what they need.     

 TRC Council Program 

Developed from 2012-2020, the TRC Council has been hosted by TRCC and co-sponsored by aligned funders with a majority from the Threshold Foundation  The program is on hiatus during this action learning cycle. We are already finding that it is a useful model for other collaborative funding networks designing governance and finance structures.  

How it works: Our decision-making TRC Council has a supermajority of resilience leaders from the field along with funder representatives. The Council shifts conventional philanthropic power structures to a deeper democracy model where people who are affected by decisions make those decisions. How we decide together is as important as what we decide together.  We fund projects in three stages. 

The Incubator stage funds seed projects led by one or more TRCC members. TRCC has funded over $90,000 for 35+ Incubator projects over the years. Financial contracts in the $1000-$7000 range support collaborative working groups, regional gatherings, program prototyping, etc. These agile investments have consistently led to either fast failure (a valuable outcome!) or the next stage (often Catalyst funding). 

The Catalyst stage has funded $1,000,000+ in Catalyst grant funds to 45+ projects over five years and advised an additional $400,000+ in prior years. Grants in the $8-50k range support permaculture and climate actions, land trusts, music tours, democratic loan funds, energy co-ops, network hub operations, and more.

The Partner stage has funded over $100,000 to seed and support large networks and alliances.

 Not only is the Council itself a powerful collaboration, the grants it allocates are increasingly collaborative.  Members frequently partner on projects built on our years of connections and experiences.  Having the power to allocate the aligned grant pool becomes an attractor for many levels of communication, trust-building, learning, leadership development, and shared action.

TRC Co-Funding Brochure 2020

TRC Council funds US-based organizations to accelerate local & regional resilience in collaborative networks for climate, economy, and justice. Complex issues need a “whole community” approach to link across regions, creating a massive shift in culture & behavior. We practice Democratic Philanthropy by involving allies (including grantees) in funding decisions. ...

Catalyst Grant Kumu Map

This TRCC kumu map snapshot shows the range of scale of the direct impact of TRC Catalyst grantees in 2017 + 2018. Notice that the most dense connections are around the region node, but there are many connections between all scales. Several members operate at every scale from local to global. Click HERE to see… ...

My Experience on the TRC Council

It is rare as a grassroots community organizer to have the decision making power to grant tens of thousands of dollars to organizations doing incredibly important work around the country. It’s rarer yet to be able to dig into the details of their work, learn about their strategies and spark ideas ...