MISSION

Swift Foundation's mission is to support land and water stewards who protect and defend biocultural diversity and community-based resilience systems essential to a healthy planet.

HOW WE WORK

Swift Foundation accompanies a small group of long-term partners with grants, time, introductions, and access to investment capital. We aim to develop trust-based relationships with our grantee-partners and assist in their connections and alliances with other organizations, foundations and networks. As a small staff and board, we recognize our limitations and thus try to identify and work with emerging organizations where our grants of $20,000 to $100,000 can make the biggest difference.

Swift also funds one-time program grants for particularly promising and important initiatives that fall outside of our specific guidelines yet meet our overall mission and demonstrate a high degree of effectiveness and impact.

Swift encourages our partners to explore whether investment capital can help their long-term mission and sustainability. For example, Swift has made a low-interest loan to one of our partners to help them purchase their office building. We also look for opportunities to strengthen those involved in identifying and making capital available to social entrepreneurs. This would include organizations such as Native American Natural Foods that used a grant to help finance their Employee Share Ownership Program (ESOP). Unlocking the potential of our endowment capital to support our mission in all ways is central to our thinking and practices.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

These principles and themes are linked by the foundation’s understanding that to stave off the effects of climate change and avoid further ecosystem unraveling, we must focus on those who have been protecting the world’s biodiversity all along.

Swift strives to adhere to the principles put forward by the International Funders for Indigenous Peoples (IFIP), that include: Respect, Reciprocity, Responsibility, and Relationships. These principles provide a strong basis for transformative philanthropic practice.

Biocultural Diversity
Everything is interconnected. In diversity, there is resilience. By maintaining and recovering biodiversity through place-based cultural practices and local ecological knowledge, communities build resilience.
Indigenous Leadership
We recognize that Indigenous Peoples need to speak for themselves and have their own voice on issues. We connect community leaders with national, regional and international policymakers. The foundation encourages women’s leadership, which we support in our own organization.
Local Knowledge
We respect local knowledge and support grassroots community efforts. Giving and receiving takes many different forms. Grantmaking is one form of giving; it is also a way of receiving. We value and respect the spiritual, ecological, and knowledge assets we all bring uniquely to this work and which is ultimately more important than the money involved.
AgroEcology
We advocate for agroecology as an agricultural science, way of life and social movement rooted in local place-based knowledge, soil health and agrobiodiversity. Food sovereignty is integral to agroecology as it includes equitable access to healthy foods and prioritizes local knowledge. For many Indigenous communities, wild harvesting, hunting and fishing, are agroecological practices to sustain ecological balance.

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