15 September 2020 Press Release Finance and Capital Markets

The Response and Vision Fund announces new initiatives to transform the global economic system

Today, the Response and Vision Fundannounced its inaugural slate of grantees, investing in time-sensitive, opportunistic, and strategic responses to support vulnerable workers and frontline communities bearing the brunt of the economic crisis exacerbated by COVID-19. The fund’s goals are to support workers and communities to be at the centre - with voice, power and priority - in the response and recovery investments of public and private institutions alike. 

The Response and Vision Fund was launched in July by Ford FoundationFundación AvinaHumanity United, Laudes Foundation, Omidyar NetworkOpen Society FoundationsSAGE FundTrue Costs InitiativeWellspring Philanthropic Fund, and Wallace Global Fund.  

The first slate of grantees will advance the aims of the Fund, namely building and shifting power for workers and frontline communities, holding corporate, financial and government actors accountable to these communities, and shaping economic recovery efforts to create opportunities for systemic change towards rights and equality in the global economy. 

"Momentum is growing to transform the economy, particularly as the dual crises of climate change and inequality become more apparent. Critical to seizing the openings before us is to find, capacitate and scale the needed work of the organizations like those being supported here. Participating in FORGE allows us to collaborate with other leading donors on doing just this.” - Amol Mehra, Director of Industry Transformation, Laudes Foundation 

The announced inaugural slate of grantees represents a complementary set of interventions that uplift solutions based in the needs and voices of key communities at the frontlines of the economic crises – from domestic and garment workers, to migrants, indigenous communities, and small land holders.  The majority of grants support Global South-led organisations and networks from Latin America, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and constituency-led, movement institutions, including trade unions.  Additional grants support a set of international organisations that are leveraging their power to influence global actors- particularly Multinational Corporations and Financial Institutions- to ensure equitable outcomes in corporate bailouts and economic rescue packages in concert with and to the benefit of Global South partners representing workers and communities at the grassroots level.  

The eight initiatives will receive a total funding of $925,000 USD, grants ranging from $75,000 to $200,000 for up to 12 months. The selection from the first wave of funding are as follows:  

  • “Building online capacity for workers in a world in crisis” by the International Trade Union Confederation to strengthen the collective organisation and voice of workers in regions across the world to act as a counterbalance to corporate power and interests, to hold governments accountable to workers and their communities, and to shape the terms of work and policies that impact their daily lives.  ITUC will continue to represent workers’ interests in international bailouts and recovery packages and equip trade unions to incorporate and utilise technology and online platforms for the purposes of organising workers in the new context of COVID 19 and beyond.  

  • "A community-led Covid-19 response to development Finance" by Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (DAR) to coordinate a collective effort of civil society groups from around the world to alleviate the effects that Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), governments, and other actors have on the ever-changing landscape of vulnerable communities. The joint effort will accompany those vulnerable communities that are addressing the current COVID-19 crisis by holding decision-makers accountable and enhancing active participation of communities in recovery packages negotiations. 

  • “Justice for Wage Theft” by Migrant Forum in Asia to call upon countries of origin and destination to urgently put in place a transitional justice mechanism that will not only secure justice for individual migrant workers who are owed billions of dollars in wages from employers,  but also challenge the economic actors who perpetuate systems of exploitation upon migrants.  

  • “Standing with Garment Workers and Working for Structural Reform During Covid-19” by Workers Rights Consortium is a project  to support garment workers in securing their livelihoods and protecting their rights during the crisis created by the pandemic -- by holding brands and retailers accountable for the well-being of the workers who make their clothing and advocating for protections and reforms to secure workers’ rights in the long-term. 

  • “Resourcing a Just Recovery from COVID-19” by the Center for Economic and Social Rights to enable activists across different movements and geographies to assess how governments and International Financial Institutions (IFIs) are resourcing economic responses to COVID-19; to challenge responses that undermine human rights and reinforce inequalities; and to promote transformative fiscal alternatives.  

  • “Domestic workers overcoming the global pandemic: building strength, democracy, and unity around the world” by International Domestic Workers Federation to strengthen the strategies of its 75 affiliates from 58 countries representing over 560,000 members to respond to the immediate needs of domestic workers facing increased insecurity caused by the health and economic crises, while building collective power to ensure their inclusion in labor and social protections, COVID-19 related programs, stimulus packages and economic recovery programs. 

  • “Holding corporate actors benefitting from financial stimulus package funds to account for the impact of their actions on the labor and human rights of workers” by Shojag Coalition  to generate evidence of the impact of stimulus package funds on workers lives and livelihoods, and advocacy to ensure that the stimulus received by factories are following the conditions established by the Bangladesh government and promote best practices.  

  • “Protecting Garment Workers” by Remake to address the long-term impacts from the economic fall-out of declining sales in the retail sector on garment workers’ lives. This includes advocating for brand sustainability commitments to include worker wages and protections,  the implementation of more equitable contracts between brands and factories, and pushing for greater transparency around purchasing practices to create systemic change.

The Fund is an initiative of the Funders Organized for Rights in the Global Economy (FORGE) collaborative, a dynamic space for learning, aligning, and pooled funding strategies for a just economy. FORGE brings together funders working across multiple domains including corporate accountability, climate justice, women’s rights and workers’ rights. 

To learn more about Laudes and it’s role with FORGE, please contact communications@laudesfoundation.org