Standing outside in circle

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions that we hear from our community.
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    Thousand Currents funds, connects, and accompanies the people, organizations, and movements that are finding solutions and making waves around the world. Thousand Currents develops different funding relationships with women-, youth-, and Indigenous-led organizations that we call movement partners who are working towards climate justice, economic justice, and food sovereignty. In order to accompany our movement partners responsibly through many cycles of change, we provide various forms of support. This enables our movement partners to be responsive to communities and focus on shared objectives rather than arbitrary time frames. Read more about our grantmaking model. Thousand Currents is also committed to ensuring philanthropy is rooted in justice and equity. We are a vocal and visible advocate for grassroots-led social change, bridging emerging approaches and learnings from the Global South with philanthropic models and practices in the Global North. We seek to question hierarchical and rigid structures within philanthropy and offer alternate models of supporting and showing solidarity with movement leaders and groups working within the larger realm of climate, food and economy. Learn more about our donor education programs.

    In the Global South and around the world, visionary women, youth and Indigenous leaders are organizing their communities to fight for climate justice, ensure communities are living with dignity, and transform food systems. To achieve climate justice, our movement partners are fighting for community-owned and controlled renewable energy, resisting fossil fuel extraction, enacting collective, sustainable, and equitable access of our natural resources, and actively combating toxic waste and pollution. To obtain food sovereignty, our movement partners are fortifying local food systems that optimize biodiversity, advancing sustainable food production methods, building farmer managed seed systems to protect local resources, and creating market linkages that are owned and operated by smallholder farmers. To obtain economic justice, our movement partners are working to ensure healthy, safe, and dignified working conditions, educate, advocate, and resist governments in order to put smallholder farmers’ interests before those of multinational corporations, engaging the broader community through principles of mutual aid and solidarity, and creating ecologically regenerative worker owned cooperatives.

    For nearly 4 decades, Thousand Currents has sought to affect systemic change. In a world with such entrenched and complex issues as corporate-driven food systems, massive inequality, and unchecked consumption of natural resources, Thousand Currents sees people in the Global South as having the necessary wisdom and strength needed for holistic and sustainable solutions to our shared global challenges. These movements are building lasting solutions, but they are often ignored, pushed aside, or underfunded. Thousand Currents takes a different approach. When the people living and working closest to problems are the source of the solutions, they are ultimately more relevant, effective, and long lasting than top-down, “imported,” one-size-fits-all solutions. That is why Thousand Currents works to shift unequal power dynamics in grantmaking, influence broader philanthropic giving to adopt more equitable practices, and facilitate mutual learning between the Global South and North. Read more on Thousand Currents’ Theory of Change here.

    Over thirty five years ago, IDEX (our former name) was the inspiration of a group of ex-Peace Corps volunteers and members who had a vision for a different kind of international development model. They witnessed the potential of locally led initiatives and were frustrated by the poverty reduction strategies they saw imposed on communities in the Global South. Together they created IDEX as an alternative to top-down development programs. From its humble beginning, IDEX strove to ignite a cultural change in how U.S. citizens relate to the Global South. In order to address the root causes of inequity, early IDEX-ers and co-founder Paul Strasburg revised our approach to support community self-determination by funding grassroots organizations instead of projects. In the 1990s, IDEX moved toward long-term partnerships and general support grants, which continue to this day. IDEX completed a rebranding process in 2016 and announced its new identity as Thousand Currents. Our new name suggests the plentiful, every-moving web of grassroots movements and solutions at work around the world.

    Thousand Currents is currently in relationships with 100+ movement partners and alliances in over 40 countries, across seven subregions in the Global South. Our partners are in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Thousand Currents supports global solidarity by investing in partnerships of various lengths, providing general operating support (with no strings or restrictions), asking our partners to shape our strategies and evaluate us, and learning alongside our partners. We invest in Thousand Currents staff to develop their own skills and enable our partners to speak for themselves. Thousand Currents honors grassroots leadership and local, ancestral, and Indigenous knowledge as the engine of social transformation. We work to differentiate ourselves from traditional large-scale models of international aid and philanthropy by unleashing and amplifying the power of movements and movement support organizations in the Global South at the forefront of social change.

    Thousand Currents supports global solidarity by investing in partnerships of various lengths, providing general operating support (with no strings or restrictions), asking our partners to shape our strategies and evaluate us, and learning alongside our partners. We invest in Thousand Currents staff to develop their own skills and enable our partners to speak for themselves. Thousand Currents honors grassroots leadership and local, ancestral, and Indigenous knowledge as the engine of social transformation. We work to differentiate ourselves from traditional large-scale models of international aid and philanthropy by unleashing and amplifying the power of movements and movement support organizations in the Global South at the forefront of social change.

    Thousand Currents commits to flexible funding over many years, focused on shared objectives rather than arbitrary time frames. Thousand Currents believes in a values-based approach to manifest a vision of fairness, equity, justice, and dignity for all. We recognize that approach may therefore not require a time-bound restriction.

    Our general operating support grants, with no strings or conditions attached, enable our partners to be responsive to communities. We are committed to funding movement partners who are addressing social, political, and economic problems with deep roots that this planet and collective humanity face in the present moment. We believe that the people whose lives are most affected by today's global challenges are best equipped to solve them, however they see fit.

    Thank you for expressing an interest in our grantmaking model. Click here to read our reflections on adapting this model. If you are further interested and/or would like to initiate a dialogue or partnership on this, please contact us.

    We recognize that lasting change takes time. It requires an approach that is nonlinear, flexible, and multi prong. In order to fund our movement partners through many cycles of change, we provide various forms of support. Thematic funding supports the longer-term work of  formations working on climate justice, food sovereignty, and economic justice with 10 years of core funding. Tactical funding supports work on strategic litigation, popular education, cultural production and campaigns that are strengthening climate justice, food sovereignty and economic justice movement infrastructure through 1-to-3-year grants. All our movement partners also have access to supplemental funding for emergencies, security responses, learning initiatives, travel, and support for experimental initiatives designed to strengthen their work.

    Climate change is one of the greatest existential challenges of our time. Climate justice means safeguarding the rights of people most impacted by climate change, and sharing the burdens and benefits of climate change and its impacts equitably and fairly. Thousand Currents funds movements working to respect, defend, and protect the planet. We support their initiatives to keep the rise in global temperature below 1.5 °C and build systems that address the root causes of climate change through a social justice lens. Thousand Currents’ movement partners are reducing communities’ vulnerability to disaster in Guatemala, challenging polluting industries and demanding a stop to fossil fuel extraction in Nigeria, working to build community owned and operated renewable energy infrastructure in the Philippines, and fighting against human manufactured climate threats around the world. Read more about climate justice and our partners’ work on it here.

    Our current global economic system is based on exploitation and profit maximization that sacrifice and harm our most vulnerable communities as well as the planet. To build towards a vision where all communities are thriving and living with dignity, we need a shift to new economic systems based on care, interdependence, abundance, and ecological regeneration. Thousand Currents funds community-determined economic systems and practices where the means of production, power and decision-making sits with the workers, where resources are stewarded and distributed equitably so that people can live a dignified life, and where the driving logic of any economic encounter is the wellbeing of the planet and people. Thousand Currents’ movement partners in rural Nepal are building solidarity through collective saving and local banking. Partners in Brazil  are building networks of cooperatives with sustainably produced products. Workers in the popular economy in Malawi are fighting against employment discrimination and precarious work. Read more about economic justice and our partners’ work on it here.

    As human beings, our basic need to survive and thrive depends on food. We have more than enough on this planet to feed our global population. Most of our food is cultivated and produced by peasant farmers, majority of whom are women. There are multiple threats to our current and future access to food, including industrial agriculture, biotechnology, and climate change. Food sovereignty means that communities have access and rights to land, territory and the autonomy to define their own food systems, which must be contextualized within a community’s cultural, political, and economic realities and practices. Food sovereignty means having the freedom to choose how your food is grown. It puts the people who produce, distribute, and consume food at the center of decisions on food systems and policies – rather than the demands of capitalist markets and multinational corporations. Thousand Currents' partners are growing continent wide agroecology networks from Zimbabwe to Senegal, building people to people supply chains in Mexico, and fighting to preserve and grow farmer managed seed systems in in the Philippines. Read more about food sovereignty and our partners’ work on it here.

    Since its inception, Thousand Currents has cultivated a learning culture that has enabled our work to be grounded in our movement partners’ vision and strategies. This means that we are always ready to shift our infrastructure and programs to improve our grantmaking support, and practice experimentation in order to make significant contributions to the philanthropic sector. Gathering all the lessons from our movement partners, we will soon be integrating a movement-centric learning and evaluation framework that will encourage a deeper understanding and systematization of impact and lessons our movement partners have achieved towards system change. We see this as a significant step towards shifting the sector and have movements guide us in our learning journey, rather than a donor-dictated approach.

    Thousand Currents’ annual reports are our endeavor to share the annual story of our work, our movement partners, and our collective reflections. You can read all our previous annual reports.

    A key component of our grantmaking approach is a commitment to creating an enabling environment for our movement partners as they fight for and build  transformative systemic change. In addition to funding, we are committed to donor education and donor organizing work that advocates for longer term and core funding for movement formations that are advancing climate, economic, and food solutions.

    Thousand Currents ended its fiscal year 2021 (audited) at just over $15 million in revenue. Thousand Currents has experienced an excellent few years of steady and sustainable financial growth. From 2016 to 2022, our organizational revenue, institutional fundraising, and grantmaking have grown substantially, thereby increasing Thousand Currents’ impact by channeling even more resources to our grassroots partners. Read more on Thousand Currents’ finances here.

    No. To avoid any influence on how Thousand Currents engages with specific groups overseas, Thousand Currents neither seeks nor receives money of any kind from local, state, national, or international governments. This allows us to work with innovative groups that fall outside the radar of larger aid agencies restricted by the bureaucratic requirements of government contracts.

    Thousand Currents is a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. No goods or services are provided to you in consideration of your gift. Our federal tax identification number is 77-0071852. The grants we make to our partners come entirely from our network of supporters like you.

    Thanks to multi-year, flexible funding commitments from key institutional funders, as well as from our earned income strategies, we began our FY23 with 100% of our core organizational costs covered. This means that giving from Thousand Currents’ loyal individual donors is able to go directly to programmatic work in the Global South.

    Yes and no. According to U.S. tax law, you may not designate your donation to a specific organization abroad unless you are willing to forgo the tax deduction that you would ordinarily receive in making a donation to a US based 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. The rationale is that since overseas organizations, naturally, do not register with the IRS, they have not undergone the same scrutiny of U.S. organizations as to standard accounting procedures and financial transparency. However, you may restrict your gift of $10,000 or more to a solutions focus area. Similarly, you may restrict your donation for a specific country, region, or population (such as women, indigenous people, youth etc.). In these instances, a tax deduction is allowable and we will ensure that your donation goes to a group that matches your designation. Restricted gifts must be outlined in writing. Thousand Currents allocates 10% of the gift for programmatic and administrative costs.

    Thousand Currents is proud to be ranked a Platinum Participant on GuideStar, and rated 4 stars with a cumulative score of 96.31 by Charity Navigator.

    One of Thousand Currents’ most important roles, and a fundamental way in which Thousand Currents adds value, is by selecting sound, innovative organizations as partners. Partners are selected carefully based on a long list of criteria in which transparency and accountability are essential.

    Thousand Currents has worked with many of its current partners for years and centers trust in its relationship building with movement partners. While partners provide reports twice per year, we value the relationship beyond a grantor-grantee paradigm bringing in a lens of mutual learning. Thousand Currents staff visits partners regularly to see their work and program staff are in regular contact with partners by email or phone. By having long-term relationships with partners, we build and nurture trust between each other, as we continue to adapt and learn from our accomplishments over time.

    Of course. There are a thousand ways to support our work. One of them is giving, and your geographical location should not be a barrier. Thousand Currents welcomes individual donors and allies from across the globe, including and not limited to the United States. Our donate page will offer you different ways in which you can make a contribution. Please email our philanthropic partnerships team with any other questions.

    Thousand Currents will never share, sell, exchange, or release your personal information (name, email address, mailing address, phone number, credit card data, etc.), regardless of its source, to any third parties, except as compelled by law. This applies to both online and offline donations as well as website visitor information. Thousand Currents’ privacy policy is compliant with the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Code of Ethical Standards. See Thousand Currents’ full privacy statement.