Rose Longhurst.jpg

Rose Longhurst

Living in: Manchester, UK
Nationality: British

 
 

Rose has spent her career working in the non-profit sector. She has specialised in fundraising and advising institutional donors on how to give effectively. Throughout her career she has championed bottom-up, inclusive approaches to philanthropy. This includes participatory decision-making, where affected communities are involved in decisions about their lives. To achieve this, Rose has worked with several organisations that model this approach.

Rose has been an active member of The Edge Fund since 2013. Edge Fund is a UK-based funder that gives small grants to grassroots activists challenging the root causes of injustice and discrimination. It is a participatory grantmaker, as decisions are made by those who are most affected by the issues. Over the past five years Edge has funded 175 groups fighting patriarchy, white supremacy and other forms of systemic oppression. Rose’s experience with the Edge Fund has particularly strengthened her interest in inequality and injustice, as she has witnessed the disproportionate impact of austerity on marginalised communities.

Rose also sits on the Board of the EDGE Funders Alliance (which has no relation to The Edge Fund), a global network of progressive philanthropy. EDGE Funders Alliance works to increase resources for social movements to create a transition to a just and equitable society. One area of their work Rose is particularly involved in is the Gender Justice Initiative, which seeks to ensure that gender justice is at the heart of progressive philanthropy.

Rose is also on the Facilitation Group of FundAction, a new initiative established to support pan-European activism. The aim is to distribute resources via participatory processes, using a pooled funding model. This has bought together individuals working on digital rights, feminist organising and climate justice from across Europe. They are currently designing the new fund, and imagining an alternative to the rise of popularism and extremism.

In her professional career, Rose has held roles in the women’s rights organisation Womankind Worldwide, the intergovernmental agency The Commonwealth Foundation, and a social enterprise supporting micro-solar energy in Africa. Much of her work has focused on analysis of the funding policies and practices of bilateral donors and charitable foundations.

In 2013 she joined Bond, the UK network for international development and humanitarian organisations. In this role she worked with a wide range of stakeholders, from UK government to small NGOs, leading efforts to support the effective flow of money from donors to the communities it is intended to serve.

Rose spent the first few years of her life in the Philippines, where many of her family still live. She holds a BA in English and Philosophy and a MA in Communication Studies from the University of Leeds. Her dissertation focussed on the campaigning tactics of animal and gay rights groups. In 2014 she qualified as a yoga teacher, and she has just returned to the UK after a few months of living in South Africa, where she taught yoga in a rape crisis centre.

 

Personal Statement

I spent the first few years of my life in Manila, where the backdrop to my childhood was the People Power Revolution, which culminated in the exile of the kleptocrat Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. The authoritarian regime was ousted by non-violent popular protest, and continues to be a source of pride for Filipino people. From an early age, I have felt strongly that we need to be vigilant against systems that support individuals to enrich themselves at the expense of others.

Through the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity I look forward to exploring the relationships between different types of inequality, and the ways in which economic inequality, political power and social outcomes intersect. I believe that rising inequality is deeply unjust, especially when wealth and privilege allow the rich to wield disproportionate influence over the lives of others. The Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity offers an opportunity to consider how we can develop policies and change cultures to create more equitable societies.

I applied to become an Atlantic Fellow partly in response to recent political developments. I believe that rising inequality leads to the degradation of democracy, and to policies that disadvantage vulnerable members of our community. When access to political processes are determined by money, and if public goods are eroded by private capture, then it becomes increasingly hard to combat inequality, because the powerful can and will create legislation that protects their interests. There is an urgency to calls to address inequality, as these processes create a vicious cycle where inequality and its effects are compounded.

I feel strongly that inequality won’t be resolved if solutions are proposed only by the privileged. Those who benefit from inequality can’t be relied upon to resolve it. This has become increasingly clear to me through my work with civil society and social movements. Too often those with wealth, rather than those closest to the issue, set the agenda. Participatory planning is essential to developing just and effective policy, and my ambition for the future is to advocate for participatory decision-making as a means to not only fairer but also more effective social outcomes. This approach is as relevant for international governance as it is for grassroots community groups.

The Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity is a unique opportunity to study a complex issue that underpins so much of the poverty and injustice that people across the globe are facing. For me, the most appealing aspects of the programme are the multi-disciplinary approach and the focus on evidence in action. I hope to learn from experts in a range of fields, offering a comprehensive understanding of inequality as one of the most pressing challenges we face, and one that is at the frontline of many of the crises that we urgently need to address.