How and Why I Started Flow Funding

by anonymous Flow Fund Initiator of the Healing Arts and Food Justice Flow Fund

I started flow funding by giving money to a few friends. Some of the money was intended for their own use, and some was for them to give away. I gave them money because of what I found inspiring in them, and I hoped that they would also give from their own inspiration.

It was interesting doing it with friends. Some people were able to handle it, but some people didn’t stay in contact. For whatever reason, the friendships didn’t survive. It was a risk I took.

I had given to about eight people over five years before I started the Flow Fund, which is more structured. I wanted to bring together a group to support myself in the healing of giving money. I chose people in my life that I felt were able to stay connected with me. In the beginning, I was a member of the group as one of the givers.

The focus of the first circle was healing. Everyone could define for themselves what they meant by ‘healing’. It wasn’t as focused as some people would have liked, but it was really a good experience for everyone. The evaluations were very useful to my learning.

Everyone also got a stipend of $1,000 – if they didn’t want to take it for themselves, they could give it away. People brought recommendations of giving and discussed how the giving would be done. People were surprised by how much work it was to make recommendations in a way they felt good about.

The second circle was more specific and focused on children’s and women’s health. I came into the circle to help set the context for the work, but I stepped out as a giver and left others to make the decisions about the gifts.

The next Flow Fund Circle will be focused on issues of food justice. The Flow Funders will be four people working in the field of food justice in different parts of the country. They will be chosen by someone else who has offered to coordinate this circle, not by me.

People within these circles may take on their own circles in the future. I really want the flow funders to be people who are in the field, although they may not be recognized as leaders in their field. Something that is important to me as a donor is to empower not just leaders or visionaries, but people doing great work who may not be recognized by the main leaders in their field.

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