Ice-cream, stamping dollar bills to keep corporate money out of the elections and capitalism were just some of the surprises of the first day of the Just Giving Conference, convened by EDGE Funders Alliance – EDGE standing for Engaged Funders for Global Equity – and held 5-7 September in Berkeley, California.
EDGE provides a space to meet people who work for global change, focusing on social justice and sustainability. The conference celebrates the successes of social movements. It is a place to listen to the amazing work of international networks such as the Tax Justice Network and US-based organizations that work for global justice such as EarthRights International, as well as activists from all over the world such as Ikal Angelei, a recent Goldman prize laureate.
Both within the US and within ‘the Global South’, EDGE members find ways to strengthen local democracies and community-based action as well as strategic interventions that set out to change the current economic system. Individual members focus on issues such as labour rights, women’s rights, corporate responsibility or international capital flows. They design funding mechanisms to reach out to communities quickly to allow community leaders to keep focusing on their key activities. Likewise, they look for ways to assure greater interconnection between separate issues to generate significant change in our current globalized economic system.
EDGE is quite unique because its members recognize that there is a need for a strong involvement of civil society in political debates. In that, they are frontrunners in a world that urgently needs a serious and well-informed and above all inclusive debate on the way we see our global future.
Danielle Hirsch is director of the Netherlands-based Both ENDS.