It was the summer of 2008 and two friends sat on a dusty porch in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Contemplating the systemic changes happening around them, Sadaf and Cate sensed a radical shift in the scale of the problems faced by communities around the world. Knowing orthodox solutions to these new and evolving challenges may not cut it, they were confronting a common dilemma: how can individuals affect meaningful change?
Deciding to combine their talents and resources to spark something new, they founded Kindle Project. Cate came to Kindle with a background in progressive philanthropy and inherited wealth which she had already been sharing. She was committed to contributing her wealth to something meaningful and Kindle was it. Sadaf came to Kindle with a background in the non-profit sector and a fresh perspective on systems change after receiving her Masters Degree from the United Nations University for Peace. She was committed to bringing her skills and grassroots experience to something distinct, and, for her as well, Kindle was it. With the help of a trusted team of diverse advisors, they were a combined force to be reckoned with and crafted their out-of-the-box organization.
After much deliberation, around the clock strategizing, and the advisement and work of a dynamic team, it was clear: Kindle Project would disrupt the status quo by funding in creative and unconventional ways and supporting off-the-radar people and projects contributing to systems change.
First, there was the creation of the Kindle Project LLC which provided the structure to enable Sadaf and Cate to provide direct support to organizations and individuals that did not have tax-exempt status. However, they also knew that many of the projects they would likely support were traditional non-profits, sometimes doing very non-traditional work. To that end, they set up the Kindle Project Fund of the Common Counsel Foundation in 2011. From awards to renegade whistleblowers like John Bolenbaugh to grants to organizations like Amazon Watch, Kindle has primed itself to be a nimble funder, able to seed creativity, imagination and projects. Kindle’s funding philosophy was, and still is, rooted not on a project’s institutional affiliation but on merit, passion, drive, experimentation, originality and risk.
Kindle’s spirit of renegade funding has achieved success in large part because of the deep commitment to breaking the barriers so often present between funders and grantees. This is the foundation upon which all Kindle relationships are built–knowing that every person and project has a voice of equal importance.
Kindle’s programs have always been about funding in radical ways and we are now creating more avenues to push boundaries and flex creativity in the philanthropic sector. Kindle Project is playing a catalytic role in inspiring an existing movement of like-minded funders, donors and organizations by helping to shape the field of Indie Philanthropy by creating a network of change-makers and resources to achieve bold solutions.
What was started by two friends in 2008 has continued to carry a strong and growing legacy. With advisors, staff, the Common Counsel Foundation, consultants and a Kindle Project Steering Committee–the organization has a chorus of voices and expertise that continues to propel us into the future. Sadaf remains Director while Cate remains a close ally and advisor to the organization, after stepping down as Co-Director in 2011. When Cate stepped down, she generously provided funds for Kindle to carry on for several years.
We are actively seeking funding partners who are looking for strategic ways to direct their philanthropic dollars. Whether you are an individual donor, a conscious company or a progressive private foundation, if you’d like to break convention and create change in unexpected and amazing ways, we’d like to invite you to be part of the next chapter in the Kindle story.