There are many, many funding challenges facing Palestinian community-based organizations working in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel. Grassroots activists may not know about funding opportunities. Or, they may not know how to write proposals, which often must be in English. Or they may not qualify for existing funding because they are too small or dont have enough financial or legal documentation. Also, it is extremely difficult to get funding for operating expenses or small amounts of money to support organizations when they are between projects. At the root of all these problems is the fact that Palestinians dont control decision-making over how resources are used on their behalf.

For these reasons, Dalia intends to FUND hopeful, inspirational and sustainable civil society initiatives, including community efforts that just need a small grant to supplement their local resources. We will do this using community-based decision-making because we believe that communities know their own needs best, and they know how to address their needs in ways that are dignified and cost-effective.

Unfortunately, there are few models of community-based grantmaking for us to learn from, and there are many pitfalls we must avoid. Therefore, we are piloting three mechanisms in order to learn what works in our local environment. After implementing and evaluating the pilots, we will be in a better position to decide if and how to institutionalize these mechanisms as ongoing grantmaking programs.

Further, the Board of Directors has decided that successful piloting of these projects by August 2009 is our top priority, and we will utilize other strategies—“linking,” “involving,” and advocacy”—only as they advance the objectives of the pilots, or as long as limited staff resources are not diverted from the pilots.

Click below to read about the three community-based grantmaking pilots:

  1. Women Supporting Women
  2. The Village Decides
  3. Crafting Our Own Solutions: An Online Competition

A permanent endowment a large sum of money that is professionally invested over time with the earnings used to fund civil society activities will be built over time to ensure sustainable income for current and future generations. Endowments are a core strategy of community foundations around the world.