Trust, interconnectedness, and the climate sector


Alanya Dhalla


I left this year’s Philea forum reflecting on the importance of trust and the challenges of silos within philanthropy and the social sector. Over the course of the forum, sessions and panellists showcased the interconnectedness of our work, sectors, and the world at large, highlighting that our success is intricately intertwined with the success of others.

These principles are essential to the climate movement. Several sessions emphasised that a safe and healthy planet is inextricably linked to gender, health, and intergenerational equity. Our work towards a liveable planet needs to be intersectional and collaborative to be truly just and effective.

During the #PhilanthropyForClimate session, two key points resonated strongly. First, even seasoned funders can be daunted by the complexity of the climate field. A panel of funders, who had recently entered the climate space, shared how their journey into climate action began by exploring its intersections with their existing programmes. They recognised that their goals could only be met in a world with a safe and stable climate. Second, was the power of narratives. The stories we tell can sometimes unintentionally exclude or alienate those we aim to reach. To succeed in building a cross-cutting climate movement, we need to craft inclusive narratives that resonate with a wide audience, regardless of differing visions or political views. There was an inspiring emphasis on using narratives to cultivate joy and a shared sense of belonging within the climate movement, highlighting the importance of using positive messaging to unite people.

Beyond the climate sector, it is critical that funders reflect upon our wider impact. How are funders ensuring that our work not only benefits our direct partners, but also the broader ecosystem? We need to ask ourselves how we continuously build trusting relationships with our grantees, enabling them to pursue their missions without unnecessary constraints or burdens. Building trust is imperative, and in our daily work this involves embracing collaboration and co-creation as fundamental elements of success.

These themes were echoed throughout many conversations and sessions including ones around empowering youth-led movements, providing resources for capacity building and organisational development, and talks around ensuring that the sector is ready to respond to uncertainties. As funders, and members of civil society, we must work together to be both movement and ecosystem ‘generous’; we need to consciously leverage our collective strengths to work towards a more effective system that works for all.

Alanya Dhalla​​​​, Partnerships Analyst, Climate
Children’s Investment Fund Foundation

Tagged in: PhileaForum2024

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Trust is fundamental in fostering collaboration and ensuring that various stakeholders can work together effectively to achieve common goals.

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