Funding Guidelines

Funding guidelines can be extremely varied and unique to your group of Flow Funders. Here are a few examples from the Flow Fund Circle:

“I decided to focus on three areas:

  • Support for socially unprotected people such as the elderly, children and disabled adults,
  • Economic and social reforms,
  • and the Social status of disabled people.”

      ~ Natalia

“It has been my experience that when leaders of indigenous people or leaders of a local community gain access to people with political power their ability to be effective regarding their local or global problem becomes multiplied many times.  I like to direct my philanthropy so that it helps to:

  • Support women in Japan, the Pacific Island Nations, indigenous women and women working at the grassroots level in North America using spiritual, healing, visual arts practices in their activism for healing our mother earth.
  • Connect women and activists and supporters through personal and electronic networking, thus enhancing the flow of communication and developing systems for mutual support.
  • Link local activists with established human, institutional and information resources that they previously did not have access to
  • Support and develop strong local spiritual and political leadership on nuclear and energy issues.
  • Make a little bit of grant money go a long way.  For example: $400 for a fax machine, or a small travel grant to bring someone to a key meeting or to meet a key person or receive training.”

      ~ Mayumi


  • “Do nothing with the Flow Fund that will benefit you personally or your organization. This can be an obvious thing like giving a grant to a person or organization you are courting. Or, it can be a more subtle thing like building your ego. Of course, giving is its own reward and we all benefit personally when we give grants to wonderful people and organizations. And, it may be impossible to completely avoid certain benefits like what people think of you. But question your motives before giving.
  • Beneficiaries should be told clearly about the Flow Fund and its philosophy. It’s best to be totally transparent. I usually say that the money original came from the Rockefeller family.
  • Grants can be made to individuals or organizations.
  • Be careful that your grant does not raise expectations of further funding, which can spoil your relationship.
  • Reporting guidelines will be sent to you separately.
  • The size of a grant can vary. You may also want to give some money to someone who will, in turn, pass it on to others as you are doing.
  • Don’t endanger yourself by carrying too much cash.
  • Always trust your heart.
  • Have fun.”

     ~ David

"We did a lot of training with our Flow Funders about how you discern projects that are sustainable.  We built on the old adage: “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day.  If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a life time.”  So the Flow Funders developed the concept of a ‘fishing rod’.  They would fund projects that had the capacity to help a family or a project be sustained over time.  The ‘tool’ of sustainability, whether it was a goat or a sewing machine or an apartment for a community center, was called a ‘fishing rod.’"
      ~ Enid Schreibman & Fran Macy


Characteristics of Group

Even without specific guidelines, it is useful to have a clear idea of the important characteristics (to you) in choosing whom to fund. Some examples are:


  • Innovation
  • Socially relevant & responsible practices
  • Potentiality to become self-sustaining
  • Community-oriented
  • Demonstrated media outreach

      ~ Justine and Michael Toms


  • True, heartfelt enthusiasm for the work
  • Demonstrated creativity & outreach
  • Transparent attitude

      ~ Edmundo


  • Collaborative wisdom, intelligence, creativity & well-being is established
  • Reflective/contemplative feedback processes are well-established
  • Sensitivity to human & biological diversity is shared
  • Intergenerational exchange of energy& experience is valued

      ~ Rachel Bagby


Philanthropy Philosophy

Along with establishing funding guidelines, members of a Flow Fund Circle in the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan were encouraged to articulate their Philanthropy Philosophy:

“I am a source of giving to those who wish to change their lives and the lives of those around them in order to improve the quality of their lives.”
      ~ Dametken

“Giving gifts teaches others about philanthropy and encourages others to think about generosity.”
      ~ Bayan

“I want to develop philanthropy in our region.  I want to create a milieu of local business giving and a structure to do that.”
      ~ Makhmut


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