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Apply: Design a community fund for Kingston

By Hélène Lesterlin

We invite you to participate in a democratic process for designing a Just Transition-aligned pilot community fund for the city of Kingston!



Good Work Institute is facilitating a six-month journey for 8-20 diverse Kingston residents to collaborate with each other and to engage the larger community in deciding on the structure and mission of a Just Transition-aligned pilot community fund. The fund will be seeded with $150,000 once it is created.

Participants in this project can expect to learn from each other and from the offerings designed by GWI in support of trust, collaboration, democratic-decision making, shared leadership, and hands-on community engagement. We will offer training and encourage shared understanding into different ways to design community funds, with invited guests who have launched funds themselves. We will have time to get to know one another and create a supportive, nourishing environment for this work, as we confront what “money” brings up for each of us. 

The goal is for the group to weave all these skills and experiences together to create a fund design that is grassroots, creative, feasible, and that will directly benefit the residents of Kingston. The implementation of the fund is a following step. This program is just the design. This is a real pilot though, which means we are designing a real life experiment! The fund will be launched in 2024.


  • Application open: March 3 – 31
  • Notification of acceptance: April 15
  • Program Dates: May 1 – November 1 (with a summer pause in programming July 15 – August 15)

Time commitment: approximately 2-4 hours per week +  1-day retreat in early summer + a required 3-day design retreat on Sept 29 – Oct 1 or Oct 13 – 15 (will be confirmed based on group availability)


Our intention is to support a process that engenders radical trust and to make sure that we are designing for all members of the community, including the quietest member. We have seen collaborative funds or community projects collapse due to a lack of trust and a default where the usual suspects take over. 

How will we do this? We will bring activities and workshop experiences to the group, including:

  • Training in shared leadership, effective communication (NVC), and collaboration skills
  • Learning about community engagement methods like Citizen Assemblies and democratic-decision making
  • Workshops on fund structures – what’s out there and what can we learn from them?
  • TMI Project workshop that was designed for the Rooted Resources festival that allows participants to interrogate their own relationship with money in a safe space and weave stories to share
  • Encouraging the group to pursue research into areas that pull them and be able to contribute their diverse skills and interests
  • Facilitating a design weekend where we pull it all together and come out with a co-designed pilot fund

We are equipped to offer Spanish/English interpretation and translation services throughout this project. We will remain responsive to the needs of the group, facilitating what bubbles up.


Being a part of a project like this is often a matter of time privilege. We want to make it possible to take the time to fully participate, and so we are offering stipends of up to $450/month to offset lost wages or help cover costs like transportation and childcare. You can choose to waive the stipend, in whole or in part, if you do not need it.


We are looking for people who can commit to this exciting project and who are inspired to enter into this collaborative work. We are committed to social equity and racial justice, and so we will gather a group that is diverse in background and life experiences, race and socioeconomic status. Participants must live in the city of Kingston (we may grant exceptions for people who work or spend a lot of time in Kingston).


Throughout this fund design process, GWI acts as facilitator (i.e. we make things easier); we help equip the people in the group to lead, collaborate, and come to decisions together. Our role is to listen and guide, to offer learning experiences with the help of relevant experts, and to assist the group to emerge with a pilot fund design by the end of the program. The fund will then enter a next phase of implementation, which will be supported by GWI and other needed partnerships (which could include group members!).


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