1. Context

In early-2020, in response to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Roddenberry Foundation rapidly made a series of grants to innovative initiatives across the Global South. In a moment when supply chains were struggling and borders were closing, we saw how the global crisis was in fact a hyper-local one, manifesting differently across regions, economies, and public health systems. And our experience with these early grants opened our eyes to how locally-led initiatives—leveraging their close relationships with the marginalized communities they served—were uniquely positioned to respond to the crisis.

Meanwhile, the philanthropic sector was fielding many calls-to-action for long overdue changes to practices, strategies, and mindsets, to better align giving with on-the-ground realities. Funders were being called on to provide flexible funding, decrease burden, collaborate with other funders, facilitate networking among supported initiatives, pay for capacity development, share power, and more. Though the Roddenberry Foundation had embraced many of these principles to date, we saw an opportunity to deepen our commitment to give more effectively. We realized we needed a new approach to discovering and supporting locally-led initiatives who were most proximate to their communities.

Unfortunately, locally-led initiatives are often disconnected from funders and other power-holders—most of whom reside in the Global North, and too often privilege expat leaders, countries with strong infrastructure, and organizations with connections to the “right” networks. And the vast majority philanthropic giving to the Global South is channeled through large international organizations (NGOs, multi-lateral institutions, and other intermediaries). One result of this dynamic is that high-potential, locally-led initiatives often struggle with scaling their impact and strengthening their organizations, while the support they do receive is often restricted and onerous.

So, in mid-2020, we launched the **+1 Global Fund,** a philanthropic platform designed to tap proximate leaders and experts across the social change sector for their nominations to peers who were tackling the effects of the pandemic in the Global South. Nominated initiatives were able to quickly apply for support by completing a light application and sharing existing material (e.g. grant applications to other funders) and, once selected, were provided with funds that could be used however needed. Following multiple pilot rounds of discovering and supporting exceptional locally-led initiatives—many of which hadn’t ever been supported by a Global North funder—we invited other funders to join our efforts.

Today, the +1 Global Fund is comprised of multiple +1 Funds, each dedicated to urgent issues in specific regions of the Global South, and supported by multiple funders—such as the Sall Family, Schooner, Shockwave, Skoll, Tarsadia, and Vitol Foundations, among others—who are pooling their resources and collaborating with each other to shape and refine each +1 Fund.

2. How +1 Works

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