Network: stories from our members and grantees

Stories from NSC members

During a lifetime working for environmental campaigns, I learned just how impactful small grants can be in enabling new causes to start up. Later I managed to generate enough surplus funds to become a philanthropist myself, and along with other networkers I can now really make a difference funding environmental start-ups. It’s a great privilege to be in this position and I welcome others joining us.

—C.F, NSC member

I joined Network after my mum died. My brother and I sold her house and suddenly had surplus funds, and a Network member friend suggested I join, for which I’m very grateful. It’s been a really invigorating additional component to my life. I like the differing perspectives people bring; and the way we manage to enjoy ourselves while trying to get at least some things changed.

—T.S, NSC member

I joined the Network for Social Change as I was processing, both emotionally and practically, my wealth and privilege and wanted to connect with others working through similar things. Giving with and alongside others has been inspiring and I have learned so much from them. Network provides just the balance of support and accountability that I need, and pushes me to think differently about where my money is going and how it can be best used to benefit others.

—Hannah, NSC member

For us, Network has continuously widened our charitable horizons. We joined when we had just retired and sold a business. We were new to giving and Network gave us the learning and background we needed for identifying and judging charitable organisations, providing that social and collective support which is all important.

—R.M, NSC member

Being a part of Network for Social Change means a huge amount to me. It provides a vehicle for my philanthropic giving which makes it so much more effective than it would be otherwise, with opportunities to learn from the cache of expertise that other members have. And on top of that it’s a family of friends who support each other through the sometimes challenging journey of trying to improve the world around us.

—A.W, NSC member

I joined Network in my mid-thirties after receiving an unexpected inheritance from my grandfather. I felt guilty at possessing unearned wealth, ashamed of having profited from the work of others and isolated from peers who did not know my financial situation. I wanted to redistribute my inheritance in line with my values but lacked the knowledge and skills to do this effectively. Network has given me access to people, projects and organisations that I would never have come across otherwise and that I feel privileged to support financially, as well as to a community of like-minded people with whom to share my ‘giving journey’.

—A.S, NSC member

When my husband and I sold our small business we were still in our 40s. We went to a Network introductory session and spite of initially feeling slightly out of our comfort zone, we joined and are so glad we did. We’ve learned so much and met so many interesting people, both members and grantees. We can honestly say Network opened a whole new world to us, even that it gave us new unpaid careers, and the knowledge that we are helping to create the sort of world we would like our children to live in.

—Sue and Oliver, NSC members

I first heard of Network when a member invited a charity I was involved in to apply for funding. Subsequently, I asked her about Network, and considered joining, but frankly did not have the financial wherewithal. A few years later I sold my house, meaning that I could contribute. I applied to join shortly before an October conference which I found interesting and even exciting at times. Before the end I had decided to join a grant-giving Pool. That was so important; it enabled me to feel involved. I am so grateful!

—R.L, NSC member

“Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind”. I often think of Donne when I reflect on all the opportunities Network provides to be involved. It is an endless learning experience and really heartening to discover and support the work of the many compassionate, courageous and determined people running the projects.

—G.H, NSC member

I took early retirement because I wanted to prove that there was life after the law. My wife and I decided to put some of the earnings from my legal partnership into a charitable trust. We support a variety of things but particularly like helping cutting-edge groups that are tackling injustice.

—P.S and M.S, NSC members

We had just retired, sold a business and were new to philanthropy. Network gave us the learning and background we needed for identifying and judging charitable organisations, both for donating via Network itself and through our own family trust. It provided that social and collective support, which was all important. Network has continuously widened our charitable horizon, taken us to parts of Britain we would not otherwise have visited and walked in, as well as always providing —twice a year— a very welcome fun and bopping weekend. Indeed we have only missed one or two over the last decade!

—Roger Manser, NSC member

In my 40s I was an investor in technology start-ups. Meeting people fired up with an idea they wanted to realise was exciting – but I realised that the same vision and enthusiasm exists in the not-for-profit sector. So I didn’t need to think twice when, after I left the venture fund, I was invited to try out the Network for Social Change.

—C.H, NSC member

Assessing projects has brought me into contact with an inspiring range of people, from whom I have learnt so much about how to take effective social action. They have influenced both my funding and my understanding of how society works in the UK and across the world.

—P.B, NSC member

I’ve learnt so much as a member of Network —it’s changed my life.

—A.M, NSC member

Stories from grantees

You are one of the only funders who puts trust in small grassroots organisations like us who can achieve so much with a bottom-up approach. Your support for communities affected by land grabs and human rights abuses in India is hugely beneficial. Thank you so much.

—Samarendra Das, Foil Vedanta

NSCCT’s funding came at a crucial time for us when we were facing a significant funding shortfall. It allowed us to report on a new warhead the UK is planning, and to spend time properly investigating this issue in the degree of detail it required. The final report continues to be a resource for campaigners, researchers, politicians and journalists alike. You also funded database improvements resulting in a real step-change in the quality of our work —this will have an impact way beyond our organisation.

—David Cullen, Nuclear Information Service

Your open-hearted trust in others to make the world a better place touches me. It feels a privilege to be part of this giving world, stretching from people like you in Network to the villagers in India who come together to help others in their communities, often at great cost to themselves.

—Helena Nightingale, Integrated Village Development Trust

You supported Glasbren to do vital outreach work in the community, widening our networks to help us become a more resilient and impactful project. This proved crucial to our being entrusted to manage Lords Park Farm for National Trust Cymru, realising our vision for a highly-diversified, people-facing, agroecological farm; a hub of local, accessible food and a place for regenerative education. Here our community can gather, learn and connect. The outreach work we were able to do with Network for Social Change support has helped build a community of practice, our strongest foundation as we go forward, at the heart of the Landworkers Alliance, another vital network of which we’re a proud part.

—Abel Pearson, Glasbren: Permaculture non-profit community enterprise

Artis Foundation is extremely grateful to the Network for Social Change enabling us to deliver our creative curriculum to children in deprived areas of the UK. This support has helped us reach even more primary school children to stimulate their imaginations, regulate their emotions, ignite a love of learning and foster a brighter future. Partnering the Network for Social Change has been a pleasure, and we appreciate their dedicated support throughout their rigorous application process.

—Rebecca Boyle Suh, Co-founder & Chief Executive at Artis Foundation

Your grant came at a particularly challenging time for us, when we were contending with a global pandemic and growing inequalities. You helped us build our capacity to challenge policies which were reducing support for Inclusive Education. Your funding has enabled us to cover core costs and campaigning, and has contributed to a more effective reach.

—Navin Kikabhai, Alliance for Inclusive Education

Network for Social Change has supported Landworkers’ Alliance since 2020. Our organisation was then just five years old, with a small team of staff and a growing number of members. Network’s support has funded much of our core operation, enabling us to grow into a body of over 25 part time staff and a  membership of over 2,500 landworkers. We also have numerous active partnerships with other like minded organisations and groups, all calling for change to dominant and unjust food systems. We are now successfully creating an active food sovereignty movement in the UK. Network ‘gets’ the importance of unrestricted funding, and your grant has been crucial for us.

—Alyce Biddell, Landworkers’ Alliance, a union of farmers, growers, foresters and land-based workers

How does Membership work?

As well as donating money, members help each other understand social and environmental issues, and we discuss how our money can be best directed to achieve social change.  

Network Membership