50 Grassroots Leaders Driving Change on the Ground in Countries Across the Globe

Applicants selected from 2,000 applications in 93 countries for the Starling Collective will receive coaching, plus a total of $250,000 in microgrants to catalyze grassroots generosity

GivingTuesday, the groundbreaking global generosity movement, announced the inaugural cohort for the Starling Collective, a new experimental learning lab for grassroots leaders that offers coaching, peer learning, and connection to both GivingTuesday's global network of movement leaders and to a new community of grassroots activists, organizers, and changemakers. Applicants selected for the Starling Collective cohort will also receive microgrants to accelerate their work.

Designed to identify and support grassroots leaders working to accelerate innovative approaches to catalyzing generosity, empathy, equity, and justice, the Starling Collective was open to individuals and organizations to apply from August 4 to September 2, 2020. Nearly 2,000 applications were submitted from 93 countries.

50 applicants representing 29 countries were selected to participate in the program, which provides a learning community, coaching, and microgrants to accelerate work on the ground. While the selected projects offer a wide range of approaches and issue areas, they all share a common mission of creating a positive impact in their communities, with a focus on innovation and scalability. Projects include:

  • a community-based organization in Kenya using technology to boost blood drive participation;
  • an initiative to gamify sustainability, community-building, and inter-generational knowledge-sharing through the lens of fast fashion in India;
  • a new “coffee shop ministry” in Greece that will provide psychosocial services to women in refugee communities while simultaneously building community connections;
  • an effort in Colombia to construct photovoltaic solar energy systems and educate female leaders on how they work, combining environmental awareness and inclusion in underprivileged communities;
  • a music nonprofit in Oakland collaborating with a local food bank, creating an uplifting experience for those waiting for food;
  • a nationwide platform in the US that addresses food insecurity by connecting opportunities between producers with surplus and communities in need;
  • and several grantees working to expand the impact of, and connection between, mutual aid networks.

A full listing of participants and more information about their work to drive change is available online.

”We have always believed that people in communities know best what those communities need, and we believe that learning from one another and supporting one another accelerates positive change. Our distributed, interconnected leadership model made it possible for us to reach those people who are showing up in incredible ways in this moment. We were tremendously impressed by the passion and creativity shown by the people who applied, ” said Asha Curran, CEO of GivingTuesday. “The Starling Collective aims to break down traditional barriers to resources and networks that often exclude underrepresented voices, grassroots movement-builders, and community organizers. These are the very voices we need to invite into the conversation about creating meaningful change. I can’t wait to learn from them.”

GivingTuesday has grown a distributed network of global leaders who spearhead national movements in 72 countries and hundreds of community leaders who lead GivingTuesday efforts at a city and local level. These leaders form a collaborative community that co-leads the movement, shaping new ideas.

Applications were reviewed by an international team of regional directors, evaluating the submissions on how their proposals addressed generosity, leadership, vision, ingenuity, scalability, and diversity and belonging. The Starling Collective’s global regional directors also serve as mentors/coaches to participants and aid in facilitating the program’s learning community. 

To learn more about the Starling Collective, visit www.givingtuesday.org/starling