Individual donors and representatives from donor organizations will have the opportunity to participate in IKhana Fund at the team level. Right now, that means taking part in work to re-envision and then actualize an entirely new, Indigenized way of handling and awarding grants. This is something that’s literally never happened quite this way before. So not only do our donor-participants get to work with Indigneous professionals from around the world, they get to do work that’s ground-breakingly innovative.
Why are we offering this opportunity to selected donors? There are several reasons. The first is that we want to provide some measure of accountability to the people who support this work with their (or their organization’s) financial resources. But we don’t want to do it through the usual system of metrics that assess outcomes. We realize it might not be obvious to you why we don’t want to use that accountability standard — but that’s actually the other reason we’ve decided to have donor-participants. We want to create opportunities for collaborative learning. Sure, there are things we can learn from you. But what we really care about is what you can learn from us. If the world is going to survive, collaborative relationships between people of Indigenous and Western cultures have got to start getting a lot more, well, collaborative. It’s not easy to explain Indigenous worldview. It works a lot better if you can get immersed in it and just swim. The donor-participant program gives you a chance to be immersed.
Jessica Sweidan of Synchronicity Earth is piloting the role of donor participants in IKhana Fund meetings, by participating in our planning team meeting and then reflecting on that process with us so the experiences of future donor participants can be meaningful and useful.
The fact that we’re piloting the donor-participant program should tell you this isn’t the kind of a situation where you’ll do all the same things you typically do in such a meeting, then go back to business as usual. We’re inviting you to a life-changing experience instead — one that’s sometimes going to make you anxious, and sometimes confused. It’s going to challenge you and knock you flat at times. And it’s going to open your eyes and roll back the edges of the reality you thought you knew. With any luck at all, you’ll never be the same. And it’ll be one of the best things you’ve ever done.
If you decide to be an IKhana Fund donor, or if you’re an officer in a foundation that supports this work, and you’d like to learn more about the donor-participant program, contact Dawn.