The Open Philanthropy Project recommended a grant of $250,000 to the Ayni Institute to support its work on research, communication and training on movement ecology and movement metrics.
The Ayni Institute plans to use this grant to support a research project to identify and make the case for a set of metrics to use in assessing the capacity of groups to successfully mobilize the public on a large scale around issues such as mass incarceration. In particular, the Ayni Institute aims to identify metrics that can be used to determine both 1) the capacity of movements to create or capitalize on trigger events to shift public opinion, and 2) their capacity to absorb increased participation in high-profile moments. We believe that the resulting analysis of how to strategically fund the movement ecosystem may help to inform the way that we and other funders think about supporting movement-building, both in criminal justice reform and in other areas. We believe that the creation of movement metrics, if successful, is likely to increase the effectiveness of funding for social movements and attract new funders who currently do not support social movements due to the lack of measurability.
This is a discretionary (formerly called “no-process”) grant. For discretionary grants, the grant investigator (in this case Chloe Cockburn, our Program Officer for Criminal Justice Reform) can recommend the grant without needing to go through our normal process of providing their reasoning, discussing with the team, and providing input on and review of our public page. These grants are limited to a relatively small proportion of our grantmaking, and some other stipulations apply to what types of grant are eligible. The overall aim is for us to be able to move forward on relatively small and low-risk grants, based purely on the judgment of a single staff member and with minimal delay.