The 2014 Grantmakers East Forum proved itself a valiant attempt to illuminate some of the many ways in which European grantmakers might engage in the incredibly wide range of issues surrounding the topics of migration and mobility.
No small task.
Thanks to pervasive media negativity, for example, many people associate darkness and horror with the very term ‘migration’ while reserving ‘mobility’ for the movement-impaired. Yet when asked during the opening plenary who in the room was a migrant, the overwhelming majority of hands went up.
Over the following day and a half, the grantmakers behind those hands heard from, and debated with, a range of specialists, their peers and migrants themselves about the range of issues and solutions being worked on across the continent. The insights from public administration officials and civil society alike were welcomed and offered each a way to engage.
Clearly migration, like climate change, youth unemployment, and the rise of right-wing political extremism, is a pan-European matter. For demographic reasons alone, whether or not your foundation works on migration, it will sooner or later be an issue that affects you and/or your beneficiaries; and thus one worth thinking about.
Each of the session descriptions and a short report will be available here over the coming days and I recommend you scroll through. If you do work in the field and see a good case study, reach out and create some connections. One clear take away was that there are many positive interventions occurring which could be considered for testing and, potentially, responsible replication in other locales.
If you don’t work directly in the field, perhaps consider some of the ways in which you might at the very least ensure your foundation isn’t inadvertently supporting some of migration’s negative impact: check that your grantees have inclusive hiring and programmatic delivery policies. Look into the basics like checking the employment practices of the company cleaning your office.
And if you support public policy work, think about the ramifications of laws written today on a European future which will be much more diverse than today. Though we may all be a bit limited in our ability to leverage systemic impact in the space, we can at least each contribute through thoughtful, inclusive decision-making in line with our sector’s work to support (hopefully more) ‘civil’ society.
Christopher Worman is director of program development at TechSoup Global.