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Press Release: IDEX and NoVo Foundation forge new approach to philanthropic partnership

For Immediate Release:

June 30, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO—In an environment where foundations are increasingly taking a market-based approach to the ‘business’ of charitable grant making, International Development Exchange (IDEX)* is announcing a seven-year, $2.65 million award from the NoVo Foundation that challenges the norms of philanthropy.

IDEX provides long-term and flexible small grants for locally-led initiatives and grassroots organizations in the Global South. Also referred to as general operating support, IDEX’s funding to partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America is income that community leaders can use with no strings or conditions attached.

IDEX’s grant from the NoVo Foundation, starting July 1st, models this same approach. NoVo Foundation is making a seven-year commitment as a sign of solidarity with IDEX’s overall mission, in the same way that IDEX invests in its own partners in the Global South. This is the largest grant that IDEX has received from a private foundation in its 30-year history.

Funders that support organizations in this way allow nonprofit leaders the discretion to start a specific program or pay the telephone bill. This demonstrates funders’ confidence in leaders to make good use of the money, which differs greatly a technocratic or managerial approach to measuring effectiveness employed by most foundations.

“Our board and staff are tremendously humbled and inspired by this incredible and unprecedented show of support from the NoVo Foundation,” said Rajasvini Bhansali, executive director of IDEX. “NoVo is modeling a new approach to philanthropic partnership with grantees, one based on long-term solidarity, trust and authentic collaboration. This helps create a solid footing from which IDEX can grow and innovate.”

The general operating support grant will help IDEX accelerate its work to build the leadership of indigenous women and youth in Africa, Asia and Latin America who are creating and implementing initiatives to transform food systems for the better, build wealth in their communities, and fight for action on climate change. The grant also will help IDEX expand its newly-launched IDEX Academy, a budding program that trains philanthropists and donors to implement culturally competent international grantmaking practices.

“Some organizations stand out for their powerful values and mission, or for their inspiring and committed staff, or for the consistent excellence and impact of their work on the ground. In IDEX, we’ve found an organization that stands out for all three, every single day,” said Pamela Shifman, executive director of the NoVo Foundation. “We could not be prouder to serve as a long-term partner to such an incredible team of people, and we are incredibly excited to see what IDEX will accomplish in the years ahead.”

IDEX’s work and its partnership with NoVo Foundation is grounded in the belief that the people who are most affected by poverty and injustice hold the most effective solutions to those problems.


Press Contact:

Jennifer Lentfer
IDEX Director of Communications
[email protected]

About International Development Exchange (IDEX):

International Development Exchange (IDEX) partners with donors and funders to support the visionary leaders and organizations advancing solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges around food, the economy, and climate. Since 1985, IDEX has funded more than 500 grassroots, community-led projects in 33 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America with multi-year, general support commitments. Annually, IDEX’s partners serve approximately 1.5 million people, enabling farmers to be agriculture sustainability innovators, helping families build income, equipping community members to fight against human-made climate threats, and much more.

Learn more: www.idex.org

About NoVo Foundation:

The NoVo Foundation is dedicated to catalyzing a transformation in global society, moving from a culture of domination and exploitation to one of equality and partnership. Started by Jennifer and Peter Buffett in 2006, the NoVo Foundation supports the development of capacities in people—individually and collectively—to help create a caring and balanced world. NoVo works with a strategic set of partners on a few very targeted initiatives focused on empowering adolescent girls, ending violence against girls and women, advancing social and emotional learning, and promoting local living economies.

Learn more: novofoundation.org


*Thousand Currents changed its name from IDEX in 2016

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