Funding Circle History

Intention & Process of Forming this Circle “Incubation” Process

As part of the overall development of the Permaculture CoLab, a Funding Circle is being “incubated” to support securing additional resources to support people and projects in the CoLab and elsewhere in the global permaculture community. There is a small amount of stipended funds that are going towards getting this Circle started, with the intention of it becoming at least somewhat self-sustaining over time.

Aimee Fenech (Germany), Jillian Hovey (Canada), and Lauren Minis (USA), are the core initial leadership team from the Permaculture CoLab for this process over the next five months. They have created a three-person Guild to incubate a Funding Circle for the Permaculture CoLab, and will be working between meetings to move things forward, perform organisation & coordination, and holding space for others to get involved.

People from the international permaculture community, who have some background in funding, are being strategically invited to co-create the Funding Circle and its VMAs. Materials developed for this outreach will be coordinated with the Welcoming and Communications functions of the CoLab, with a view to also support those invited to explore joining the CoLab. A funding database of funding opportunities and funding clients will be set up, and a first funding application supported. The intention is to become a self-sustaining Funding Circle supporting the ongoing work in this domain, which will benefit the Permaculture CoLab and its members.

Two Main Threads of Work in the Initial Funding Circle

Incubation Process:

1. Research and Documentation

As part of the Funding “Commons” that we are developing, we would like to set up 2 repositories:

  • a database of funding opportunities including profiles of freelancers and consultants in the funding field – funding opportunties
  • a repository of funding applications (both successful and otherwise) – funding applications

This thread may be especially of interest to those of you who are looking for an easy entry way into supporting the funding circle, where you can contribute to the commons in a way that suits your time and capacity.

2. Co-creation of the Micro-Enterprise Framework

A “Micro-Enterprise” design for the Funding Circle will not be possible without you. Feedback is needed from both Service Users and some aspects are only possible with the input from “Service Providers.””

Development of the Vision, Mission, Aims and Domain of the Funding Circle

Vision for the Permaculture CoLab

The Vision is already set for the Permaculture CoLab:

A healthy, peaceful and socially just world in which we care for the earth, each other and future generations, in harmony with nature.

Domain of the Funding Circle

This is the area that the forming Circle will operate in – the “Domain” of work in relationship to the Vision. The Domain of this Circle will be Finance and Economics.

The Domain is further expressed in the “Mission” and “Aims” of the Circle. The Initiator of this forming Funding Circle, Aimee Fenech, had written an initial draft of the Mission and Aims. These were shared and discussed at the inaugural meeting January 25th, and suggesions were made to evolve the draft.

Mission of the Funding Circle

Original Draft:

The Funding Circle enables Permaculture CoLab and its members to access funding in order to further work and activities within the remit of the overall Permaculture CoLab Vision, Mission, and Aims (VMAs).

Suggestions from Jan. 25th meeting:

  • add something around economy, income to sustain programs
  • add language regarding more set income i.e. for teacher salaries
  • add language around who will be doing what, what the group is made of
  • add an action or a deliverable
  • suggested revised Mission statement from the meeting: The Funding Circle enables Permaculture CoLab and it’s members to develop proposals and access funding in order to further work and activities within the remit of the overall Permaculture CoLab VMAs

We will continue to develop the MIssion for the Funding Circle as we move forward.

“Aims” of the Funding Circle

The original draft Aims are written below.
Suggested changes are as follows:

  • Changes from our 1st full group meeting in January are in italicised font
  • Changes from our 2nd full group meeting are highlighted
  1. Identify and highlight value exchange / funding opportunities
  2. Identify, secure and mobilise resources that support participants to nurture existing initiatives and develop new eco-social enterprises, projects and initiatives that address identified challenges in permaculture, or add additional value to permaculture networks; (Look at Permaculture CoLab Aims)
  3. Identify and build relationships with fundraisers and fiscal sponsors working within permaculture and support them to be more effective (Andy Goldring added before 1st meeting)
  4. Apply for funding on behalf of CoLab, its members and appropriate initiatives of the wider permaculture movement
  5. Create an opportunity to access resources and research for permaculture related projects and new innovations in the field
  6. Identify priorities, gaps and significant change-making opportunities in the permaculture movement that need resourcing
  7. Provide proposal writing assistance, partnership or leadership, including references and movement information
  8. Provide advice / consultations to enhance aspiring funding applicants, including monitoring and evaluation
  9. Provide training and sharing resources related to fundraising
  10. Create a community of practice

Additional feedback from Jan. 25th meeting

  • 3rd Aim needs to be less broad, create context, add impact, or split into 2-3 points

Additional feedback from Apr. 19th meeting

  • 2nd Aim is a bit wordy/long
  • Add an explanation of what Community of Practice is (Aim #10)

Ongoing Process of Refining Mission & Aims

It was felt that the Mission and Aims of this Circle were “Good enough for now, and safe enough to try,” and that we will continue to develop them as we go forward. So, please regard them as a “work in progress,” and your input on them are always welcome as we continue to co-create this Circle.

Funding Circle Incubation Deliverables

The Funding Circle started incubating in the beginning of 2021. There were 4 main deliverables that were identified as key for getting this Circle started:

  1. Facilitate the co-creation of a prototype Funding Circle with its Vision, Mission, and Aims (VMAs) collaboratively shaped, where the Circle is activated to further its own development with a view to becoming self-sustaining
  2. Set up a funding page on the website where funding opportunities are made public, include profiles of freelancers and consultants in the funding field
  3. Set up a repository of funding applications (both successful and otherwise) on the pccolab nextcloud instance which funding writers / colab members can consult with submissions from colab members and beyond
  4. Develop a microenterprise framework to support funding applicants to look for and apply for funds, where potential freelance fundraisers have been identified, paired, and invited to explore fundraising for the CoLab and its members. (This will include a preliminary guidance framework for the CoLab itself to pursue funding, for CoLab members to become clients, and for freelancers to fundraise within the CoLab).

Progress to Date:

1. Vision, Mission, & Aims

As previously mentioned, our VMAs have been in development since the first Circle meeting and will continue to be refined.

2. Website & Database for Funding Opportunities

Our current database of funding opportunities can be found here.

This web site page that you are on is our working draft of what will become the web page for the Funding Circle on the Permaculture CoLab web site. Here is a skeleton for the web site:

3. Repository of Funding Opportunities

We have also set up the repository for successful funding applications (for once we have some that have been submitted), which can be found here.

4. Micro-Enterprise Framework

Currently, Aimee has drafted a skeleton as to how the Funding Circle webpage can be laid out. You can view what has been started here.

We hosted a a Micro-Enterprise Design session in the end of August.

Tasks for the Funding Circle

(which came out of our first full circle meeting)

  1. Identify successful and reliable sources of money
  2. Grow list of experienced fundraisers in the permaculture network (and have them send examples of successful applications)
  3. Identify funding/support needs in the permaculture network – (1st 3 tasks = mapping the funding ecology, 7 Vortex can be a good tool for this)
  4. Then create a community of practice, identify opportunities, share best practices, share materials for funders and for ourselves

Orientation to CoLab and slack Orientation Meetings:

On Friday, May 14th, we had an Orientation Session for people in the Funding Circle who reside in Asia: Narsanna Koppula, Padma Koppula, and Sneha Koppula from Aranya Agricultural Alternatives, and Christina Sayson in the Philippines, led by Jillian Hovey with support from Lauren Minis. In it, we shared more about the CoLab and its history, as well as the Sociocratic structure and how it operates. We also gave an orientation to the slack work space. It would be good for everyone to participate in an orientation session, so please be in touch to express your interest.

How to Join the Permaculture CoLab in Slack:

The Permaculture CoLab operates in an online workspace called “slack.” Here are some supports if you would like to check it out:

There are various “channels” on Slack: some are Circles (for example, there is a Funding Circle channel, which would be good for you to join); and other are areas of interest or projects which may not have been formed into a formal sociocratic Circle yet. You will see more, and can select which channels to add to your dashboard as you become familiar with the slack environment.

Additional information: