What does Kindle Project do?
Kindle Project provides funding to catalysts of change—those who are addressing some of our most pressing problems but who would otherwise fall outside-the-box of traditional philanthropy.
We ignite change at key tipping points by providing no strings attached gifts, general support grants, multi-year commitment grants and awards to individuals and artists. Kindle Project offers dynamic support beyond the money. We collaborate with our grantees and awardees, offering in-house support ranging from media training to creative programmatic brainstorming to storytelling and beyond.
We are cultural curators, bringing forward those individuals and projects that are out there on the fringes of their fields doing extraordinary work. We share the unique stories of our partners on our Nexus page, through our social media channels and when we’re speaking at conferences, gatherings and workshops. It’s their voices that need to be heard, their work that needs to be supported and their vision that is capable of making the shifts that we so urgently need.
We also act as a bridge between innovative donors and visionary projects. To learn about how we work with donors scroll down and check out our FAQ’s for prospective donors below.
Why does the world need Kindle Project?
When Kindle Project was formed in 2008 a giving model emerged from the vision of our co-founders that supports the creative evolution of philanthropy.
Kindle was created to support the vision and work of those that are so often overlooked by mainstream philanthropy. Our model focuses on: discovering and supporting the underdogs and a diversity of voice; creativity and experimentation with our grantmaking practices; diversifying our decision-making practices; and working to create a more equitable and transparent redistribution of wealth. To see how we do this check out the question below that dishes on the details of our grantmaking practices.
In 2014 we created the Indie Philanthropy Initiative to give a name and a wide set of tools, resources and education to the daring, democratized and creative movement in philanthropy that Kindle Project has innately been a part of since we began. We incubated the Indie Philanthropy Initiative until 2016 when it spun-off to become its own independent project, to which we remain core partners and close allies.
What does becoming a donor partner with Kindle Project look like?
Why should I become a donor partner to Kindle Project?
Kindle Project acts as a bridge between innovative donors and visionary people and projects. In addition to directing a range of support to impactful individuals and organizations, Kindle Project is a catalyst for experimentation and fresh thinking in the larger philanthropic sector.
By choosing to be a part of Kindle Project’s circle of donors, you will join other creative collaborators influencing a new wave of proactive philanthropy. Giving to Kindle Project means that you are supporting cutting edge projects and people, engaging in outside-the-box grantmaking, and helping to transform the field of philanthropy.
Because we know that the some of the brightest projects are often ‘not eligible’ for traditional funding, we’ve created a three-part structure that ensures we have a lot of flexibility. With an LLC (for supporting individuals and unincorporated projects), a Donor Advised Fund (for supporting 501c3 organizations) and fiscal sponsorship (to support Kindle Project’s operations), we combine nimble and creative programming with sound due diligence.
What do I get from collaborating with Kindle Project that I couldn’t do with my own foundation or another Donor Advised Fund?
It can take years to move from vision to implementation when starting a funding program, with lots of bumps along the way. You don’t have to start from scratch. We’ve put in the hard work to design and build Kindle Project from the ground up, and feel proud of what we’ve created.
Some of our donors also have their own private foundations or Donor Advised Funds, and find that they feel isolated or stuck in their giving – or limited by a mission that was put in place by an older generation. Supporting and collaborating with Kindle Project brings them into community, collaboration and inspiration – introducing them to new ways of thinking, funding and impacting the larger field of philanthropy.
We engage with each part of our growing community in special ways. We tailor our offerings based on the unique needs, feedback, and input from the diverse members of our community. These individualized relationships bring so much richness and reciprocity to our Kindle culture. Some of our donors choose to be more involved and connected to our programming on a regular basis, while other choose to have a more hands-off approach. We’ve worked with donors to create their own funds through Kindle Project, aligning our passions and vision. While other donors choose to contribute to Kindle’s overall grantmaking programming. Our structure is such that allows us to work collaboratively in so many ways. We are eager to grow our Kindle community with a new circle of bold, open and collaborative donors.
There are so many ways to engage as a donor with Kindle Project and we’d love to co-create with you!
Who funds Kindle Project?
Kindle Project donor partners are artists, seed savers, punk-rockers, activists, and entrepreneurs. They come from diverse backgrounds, with diverse interests. For some of our donors, Kindle Project is only a small part of their giving, while for others it’s a focal point. Our donors come from across the country with varied philanthropic backgrounds. Some are brand new to giving with earned income while others are inheritors of wealth and have a lot of experience.
We are currently supported by a small but growing group of anonymous, bold, creative and collaborative donors who not only see the value in Kindle’s approach and style of grantmaking but are also excited to dream into what the future our experimental philanthropy can look like.
Are you interested in becoming a donor partner to Kindle?
Do you know someone who’d be a great fit to work with us? Put them in touch here.
Why all this talk about risk and underdogs?
We live in a time where playing it safe just isn’t meeting the complexity, weight, and urgency of the challenges we face. It is imperative that philanthropy step up to the plate and try bold methods, make new alliances, break the mold and take risks. For us, risk is an opportunity to experiment, reinvent, and adventure into the unknowns, together.
Underdogs are by definition a risky bet. But, to us, they are the ones with the highest potential for significant impact. The underdog deserves a chance to make things better for all of us and to do their work with the same access to resources as those in the spotlight.
What do you mean Kindle Project doesn’t have an area of focus?
We believe that the spaces brewing at the intersection of crises, approaches, and solutions is often the most fertile and potent grounds for change to occur. It’s for this reason that we don’t limit ourselves to specific areas of focus.
Over the last decade or so we’ve funded a broad range of projects with diverse missions that fit into several areas of focus and issue areas. We’ve supported those working on: arts, documentary and independent media, women and gender, climate change, indigenous knowledge, civil disobedience and social justice, and conflict transformation.
What is Kindle Project’s recipe for holistic and creative grantmaking?
There is no one route, no set metrics, and no certain formula for a dynamic grantmaking experience. Success looks different for everyone and that’s why we think of how we work in terms of values and relationship goals. The way we give has to match our values and here are the ingredients that make this work:
We believe that experimentation and creativity are core to creating meaningful funding relationships. We operate as a living philanthropic lab willing to get creative and play with dynamic programming.
We know how important it is to be responsive, nimble and flexible when working with the shifting needs of our grantees and the contexts that they work in. That’s why we put a high value on funding methods that can support this. Whenever possible we aim to provide multi-year commitments, general operating support and use flow funds to help reach communities and work that we wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
We know that paying close attention to the power dynamics present in any funder/grantee relationship is essential. To address this we aim to flip decision-making power on its head by working with flow funds, welcoming community members into our decision-making and asking previous grantees and awardees to nominate groups and individuals for future consideration. Our newest program, Boomerang (launching soon) experiments with several of these methods together!
Trusting relationships are at the core of our work and are held in dynamic, equitable and creative ways. We focus on building trust and sharing stories of success and ‘failure’ as a key part of our work.
And lastly, we reframe risk as opportunity. We are free to take risks because of who we are. Our creative structure, our pool of remarkable donors, and our diverse grantee community, reinforces the strength in what can happen when those on the supposed fringes are given support.
What impact does Kindle Project have in the world?
Since 2008 we are honored to have given over $3.8 million to some 200 groundbreaking initiatives. To see a more detailed breakdown of who we’ve given to check our our database of amazing grantees.
But, impact is about so much more than numbers! We know that there is no one route, no set metrics and certain formula to what meaningful impact looks like in our field. But, what we do know comes from the relationships we’ve built and the stories we’ve heard. Our grantees and awardees have told us about how their gifts from Kindle Project helped to shape a project, change their personal life or embolden them to move forward with their missions. Many of their stories are captured on our Nexus page and this, for us, is the very important living, breathing and deep impact that our work has in the world.
How can I get funding from Kindle Project?
Unfortunately, we just don’t have the capacity to. Sometimes we share other funding opportunities on our social media channels so be sure to follow along there.
How can I get involved in Kindle Project?
One great way to get involved with Kindle Project is to browse the incredible list of grantees and read, in their own words, about their work on our Nexus page. Like what you find? Share it on social media, sing it from the rooftops. The groups and artists we support need your voice to amplify theirs.
Are you interested in having Kindle Project speak or host a workshop at your conference, gathering, or retreat? We love being in the room with others who are eager to share stories and learn about what how our creative grantmaking can be replicated and played with in their own giving contexts. Drop us a line and let’s talk about how we can collaborate!
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You can also get involved by making a donation to Kindle Project. As a Kindle Project supporter you are moving philanthropy into uncharted waters at the forefront of changemaking. Step up and jump into the pool as together we expand the reach of philanthropy and make the future a better one for people and planet.