Community Fund

We are working towards the creation of a Community Fund - a fund designed and run by the Kingston community.

At GWI, we are committed to building local economic power and encouraging projects to democratize wealth throughout the region. In alignment with that mission, we are excited to announce that we’re taking a step into action, into new territory for us. We are exploring how to build a community-controlled fund.

The questions that drive this work come from a deep desire for solidarity in our economy. How can we nurture community resources, rooted in local values and stewarded by the people who live and work right here? What are ways we can bring abundance and collective thriving, from within the community? Who can we learn from and what models can we adapt for our own context?

Will it be a loan fund, an investment fund, a grant fund, an emergency fund, some kind of hybrid? We don’t know: we’ll have to see what emerges. What gets created is up to the community. 

Applications to participate in the 6-month fund design process are closed! 

Check out Apply: Design a Community Fund for Kingston to learn more.

Take part in imagining and building a people-powered fund that benefits the long-term health and vitality of Kingston.

Program Dates: May 1 – Nov 1, 2023

  • If you are interested in getting involved, please contact us by filling in the contact form at the bottom of this page. We’d love to hear from you.
  • Our announcement post has more info on this project and why we are doing it: Making a Community Fund Here in Kingston
  • The Rooted Resources Festival took place in May 2022, and was a gathering that honored the wide scope of what we mean when we say “democratize wealth.” Check out our festival archive to get a glimpse of what happened.
We have no upcoming Community Fund Events right now. Please check out our upcoming workshops.

Overview

Our plan:

  • We are starting with outreach and connection, to make known what a fund like this can be and find the people who want to help create it.
  • We want to bring what we’ve been learning out into the community; we want to share more about projects like the Boston Impact Initiative, the Black Farmer Fund, the Ujima Fund, and get inspired by their examples of empowering communities to take the decision-making in hand when it comes to funding community priorities.
  • Starting in fall 2022, we hosted a series of community meetings to spark and facilitate a dialogue within the Kingston community, and we started to envision what it would be for this community to create a community fund. 
  • We are recruiting a diverse group of community members to come together for a 6-month journey, starting in the spring of 2023, to design a democratically-controlled fund with input from the larger community.
  • Once this pilot community fund is designed, it will launch with initial funding in place. We have secured seed funding of $150,000.
Our approach:
 
  • GWI’s role is to facilitate the process of creating a fund, and we’ll bring our Just Transition-aligned work around shared leadership and navigating conflict to the forefront. We believe in order to change the outcomes we also have to change the process. How we work together is just as important a part of democratizing our communities, wealth and work as achieving the creation of a fund.
  • We are co-learners in all our work, which means we bring an open beginner’s mind to this project too.
  • We’ll be adding information, resources, and documentation from our community meetings here, as we gather input and ideas along the way. This is only the beginning.

Rooted Resources is a collection of posts and reflections on localizing economic power to nurture solidarity, awareness, and action.

By Hélène Lesterlin
12.19.23
An overview of the program, to give a sense of the breadth of topics we encountered and discussed together in this intensive learning and design process.
By Hélène Lesterlin (Steward, Community Fund Circle)
12.18.23
From the beginning we were committed to this process being just, emergent, open to experimentation, and grounded in collaboration and learning.
By Clay Moodey, member of the Community Fund Design Group
12.18.23
At its core, this project is about shifting power. As the first stage of the design process wraps, I’d like to share some reflections about my experience and perspective about power through the design process.
By Hélène Lesterlin
03.03.23
We invite you to participate in a democratic process for designing a Just Transition-aligned pilot community fund for the city of Kingston! More info here.

Get involved!

Do you want to get involved or do you have a question? We want to hear from you!

Partners and Supporters

We are actively looking for partners to support the development of this community fund and to join as initial funders. Contact us to learn more and offer your support. 

We are grateful to the Novo Foundation for their early support of this project, and look forward to working with them as initial funders for the Kingston Community Fund once it is created. 

Thank You