What is the ECFI Learning Lab?
The ECFI Learning Lab provides a structured space for thought, learning and analysis, that will enrich the individual, their organisation and the community foundation field. The “Lab” in the title indicates that it is a space that is safe and purposeful. It is a space inhabited by peers, primarily led by peers with limited outside guidance and structuring that is provided through ECFI. At the same time, it is a space that gets “dirty” in two ways:
- through the experience brought in by practitioners, which is subjected to their individual and collective reflection, and
- by the very ways of conversations and experimentation (as that is what happens in labs) with ideas, thoughts and reflections of practices, approaches and situations of interest to learners.
In 2022 the focus for the Lab will be community foundations and the SDGs but with broad scope for your ideas – for example how are they relevant to your work, building the SDGs into strategic planning, how you can use the SDG framework to enhance your impact, innovative approaches to collaboration based on the SDGs, etc.
You can find out more about the Learning Lab 2022 collaborators here.
Who is it for?
The ECFI Learning Lab for Changemakers serves community foundations (CFs) and community foundation support organisations (CFSOs) in Europe (which is defined in a broad geographical and cultural sense, i. e. including Turkey as well as the Caucasus).
The ECFI Learning Lab is open to community foundation practitioners in Europe. An application should come from the interested person with endorsement of a community foundation or community foundation support organisation with whom the applicant has a working relationship - as an employee, consultant or volunteer (proof of this endorsement will only be required if the application is successful).
How does it work?
The organisation endorsing the applicant will receive €2,500 as a contribution towards the collaborators time, overheads and other costs related to their participation.
The Learning Lab will be open for 6 months from June 2022 until November 2022 for a cohort consisting of up to 5 collaborators.
Each collaborator is expected to pursue research into their topic in their own time, to engage periodically with the cohort and the tutor, and produce a paper on their work and findings, to be published and shared with the field, and to endeavour to apply their findings in their own organisation.
It is expected that each collaborator will commit his/her effort during the period that is commensurate with at least 20 working days.
There will be 5-6 joint events facilitated by ECFI to offer space for sharing ideas and knowledge, and to get inspiration, feedback and input from peers and other experts.
These events will have a form of on-line workshops / facilitated discussion groups and will take place in June (opening of the Lab), July (1st progress), September (2nd Progress), October (pre-final), November (Final) and if possible and follow up in-person gathering on the topic with a wider audience in December.
Besides these "structured“ events, collaborators will be encouraged by ECFI to engage via various efforts such as reading, listening, writing, thinking, participating in on-line conversations and via other creative means individually and, as to their choice, with other collaborators, and others around the theme. Also, collaborators will have an opportunity of several one-on-one meetings with the tutor of the program to discuss issues of their engagement with the topic and provide additional guidance. The tutor supporting this initial Lab will be James Magowan, ECFI an accomplished professional with broad experience in philanthropic institutions and the community foundation field, and who leads ECFI's work on the SDGs.
How can I apply?
Call is closed. Next opening in spring 2023.
If you are interested in applying please complete the application form in English language. We are looking forward to our collaboration with you!
You will see that questions 11 and 12 require longer narrative responses in English language. One relating to your motivation (300-600 words) and second on the topic and what you propose to address in the Learning Lab (500-1000 words). We suggest you prepare these in a WORD document and then upload your files into this form.
Your answers are editable until you submit the form, however the form cannot be saved and re-opened.
For more information or to discuss your interest in becoming a Learning Lab collaborator, contact James Magowan.
Learning Lab 2022
Outcomes of Learning Lab
Learning Lab 2022 - To learn and understand the SDGs ... (April 2023) Research paper by Iwona Olkowicz, Federation of CFs in Poland, helps to understand and communicate the benefits of the SDGs. It provides guidelines for including the SDGs in activities and highlights the role of CFs in achieving these goals.
Learning Lab 2022 - Marketing tools and SDGs (January 2023) Research paper by Zuzanna Komornicka, PR Specialist, Snow Mountain CF. explores the potential of integrating the SDGs into marketing tools to realise the potential of collaboration with businesses.
Learning Lab 2021 – Motivation and group dynamics in Hungarian community foundations (May 2022) Research paper by György Hámori, Community Foundation Support Program, Roots and Wings Foundation, Hungary, exploring internal and external motivational factors behind participation in community foundation leadership and governance.
Learning Lab 2021 - Community foundation resilience in response to the Covid-19 pandemic (March 2022) Research paper by Kostandina Këruti, Programme Manager, Partners Albania, exploring how community foundations demonstrated resilience through adapting operations, engaging communities and stakeholders and financial planning.
Learning Lab 2021 - A journey from responsive to strategic grantmaking and back (January 2022) Research paper by Irina Șerban-Atanasiu, Galati Community Foundation, Romania, telling the story of a process of strategic thinking around a dilemma faced by most community foundations.
Learning Lab 2021 – Field Development Observations and Lessons (January 2022) Research paper by Valentina Ferrara, AEF, Spain, reflecting on her experience with a program supporting the establishment of new community foundations.
Learning Lab 2021 - Community engagement, a crucial issue for community foundations (January 2022) Research paper by Ilaria de Cave, Assifero, Italy exploring why and how to engage young people, with examples from Italy.
Sustainability as systemic value - Andreea Alexandrov (February 2021) The publication contains proposals for CF developed within Learning Lab 2020
2021 ECFI Learning Lab