RAF’s grantmaking approach is reflected well in the document “Healthy Soils to Cool the Planet: A Philanthropic Action Guide”, written by RAF board member Betsy Taylor. The guide emphasizes the need for rapid action, for more philanthropic risk-taking, for demonstrating and communicating successes, and for taking a whole systems perspective. The guide outlines multiple change levers for advancing regenerative agriculture.
To date RAF’s grantmaking has focused on farmer to farmer programs, supply chains, communications, and networks. In addition, RAF has a strong commitment to advancing racial equity and justice as essential components of a regenerative agricultural system.
RAF was created as an intermediary funder for multiple reasons:
- To provide pooled funds and other tools to support collaborative funding into regenerative agriculture from across multiple sectors. Regenerative agriculture may not be the central focus of foundations that prioritize grantmaking in climate, public health, racial equity, and rural economic development, but regenerative agriculture is an important vehicle for advancing all of the goals.
- To encourage funders to see their work as part of an ambitious, transformational vision for agricultural systems. Agriculture is inherently a risk-averse sector dependent on annual cycles, and consequently change tends to be slow and incremental. Yet for many reasons, our ecosystems and our communities need systemic solutions, and fast. RAF seeks to create connections and partnerships between these short-term and long-term efforts, assuring that we collectively learn from the project work and celebrate each small step while continuing to envision long-term transformation.
- To serve funders as a repository of information and guidance about opportunities to advance regenerative agriculture. RAF staff, board, and partners maintain relationships with nonprofit organizations and networks across the country and are happy to talk with funders about grantmaking.