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View this email in a browser May 2020
News from Luminate

During these difficult and unsettling times, we want to reiterate our support for our partners as they navigate new and evolving issues related to COVID-19. 

We're committed to:

  • Being flexible: Unrestricted grants are truly unrestricted. Our partners can use the funds for whatever they and their staff need to best address health, safety, stability, and resilience. Wherever possible and helpful, we’re open to loosening restrictions on other types of grants, to allow for maximum flexibility.
  • Adapting: We understand that many budgets will likely need to be reallocated and work plans may need to be altered, planned events will be canceled or held in a virtual format, and goals and objectives may not be reached. We know that reports may need to be short, delayed, or not submitted. We are also open to accelerating scheduled disbursements this year.
  • Listening: We know that this is a very challenging period. Partners’ focus should be on the health and safety of their teams, family, friends, and communities during these unprecedented times. Therefore, we’re here to listen when our partners are ready.

Luminate values the wellbeing of our partners – always, and especially during this uncertain time. We recently joined The Wellbeing Project’s Ecosystem Network, an initiative focused on catalysing a culture of inner wellbeing for changemakers, and would like to extend an invitation to all of our current grantees and investees to join their series of live, virtual gatherings. If your organisation currently receives funding from Luminate and you're interested in participating, reach out to our Director of Partner Support Laura Bacon for more information and a calendar invitation to this series.

We can't yet predict the inevitable social, physical, and economic shifts that will take place, but we're committed to working alongside our partners, other funders, and the global philanthropic community to learn how we can tackle the immediate crisis and the far-reaching implications it will have for families, communities, and society.

Stears: Challenging misinformation in Nigeria
During COVID-19, accurate and trustworthy information is more important than ever. Wendy Trott and Stan Getui shared how one of our newest partners, Stears, provides quality, data-driven analysis and news to Nigerians. Quartz Africa recently reported on our investment and the Stears information services model which sets them apart from other outlets.
An International Fund for Public Interest Media
Robust journalism is an essential foundation of healthy democracies, especially during crises like COVID-19. But with declining advertising revenues and rising costs, successful business models for media are disappearing. A new feasibility study shows how an International Fund for Public Interest Media could help to rebuild the sector.
New/Mode: helping causes use digital tools to drive change
McKenzie Smith talked with New/Mode's co-founders about their work helping causes and campaigns empower real people and communities to make governments meet their needs. The platform is currently used by nearly 300 leading causes and powers millions of civic actions around the world.
Surveillance and privacy issues during the pandemic
Some governments are using surveillance to track the coronavirus outbreak, but what are the implications of these measures on our privacy? Will these controls be removed after COVID-19, or are they here to stay? Watch Martin Tisné's reflections in this video from Thomson Reuters.
Resetting the internet for democracy
Luminate launched Reset, a new initiative in partnership with the Sandler Foundation to grow and accelerate the policy and advocacy work we’ve been undertaking to tackle digital threats to democracy. The initiative is run by Ben Scott, who recently joined the Big Tech podcast to discuss digital threats to democracy and the internet’s role in politics. 
Reforming audit for the public interest
Andrew Clarke shared our perspective on the Auditing with Accountability report, which makes a strong case for reform of the audit industry and calls for a reaffirmation of the founding principles of audit. We support measures that would strengthen the independence of auditors and ensure that a wider public interest is served by audit alongside the needs of company shareholders.
How our partners are responding to COVID-19

We’re inspired by our partners who are using their strengths to respond to challenges around COVID-19. The following examples are a small sample of a long list of their actions. Submit news you’d like to share about your organisation here.

Highlighting surveillance and privacy concerns and opportunities for collaboration
The coronavirus crisis has highlighted surveillance and privacy issues around the world and the potential misuse of technology in addressing the pandemic.
Privacy International is tracking surveillance, data exploitation, and misinformation by tech companies and governments, and EDRi called for fundamental rights-based responses to the pandemic. The virus knows no borders, and governments need to collaborate to solve this global issue. GovLab highlighted seven actions to unleash the potential of data collaboration to tackle the current crisis and to improve future preparedness, and ODI’s Jeni Tennison wrote about why governments around the world should be openly publishing the data and models that underpin their decision-making. 

Tracking the pandemic
Partners are also creating tools to track responses to the pandemic:
Open Government Partnership is collecting open government approaches to COVID-19, Directorio Legislativo launched a daily report of Latin American governments' regulatory responses, Instituto Igarapé’s platform visualises the coronavirus spread worldwide, and Elucd created the National Coronavirus Preparedness Tracker, to monitor Americans’ perceptions of COVID-19, how confident they are in the response to the pandemic, and how prepared they personally feel. 

Supporting vulnerable communities 
The coronavirus has exacerbated existing inequalities and has proved to be an even greater challenge for vulnerable populations.
IBP South Africa is tracking service delivery in informal settlements during the crisis and working with health experts to develop advice specific to people living in these areas with close quarters and shared toilets. Code for America’s new GetYourRefund program is helping low-income Americans to file taxes and claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), providing them with flexible cash during an uncertain time. 

Providing trusted and timely information 
Times of crisis are ripe for mis- and disinformation, and our partners
Africa Check, Chequeado, The FerretFull Fact, and Myanmar Now are among those countering false information about COVID-19. With trustworthy information more important than ever, a number of media outlets Luminate supports have created dedicated COVID-19 content for their audiences including The Bristol Cable’s hyper-local, community-based journalism, openDemocracy’s stories of pandemic, including hearing from vulnerable groups, The Correspondent’s roundup of their own journalism and other recommended readings, OCCRP’s coverage of corruption and crime during the crisis, and Frontier’s focus on underreported but vital stories related to COVID-19, such as effects on the prison population
, conflict areas, and migrant workers. Phandeeyar has also created a chatbot to provide timely information about staying healthy in Myanmar. 

Sharing knowledge and expertise 
With in-person events cancelled, our partners are moving online to share their perspectives.
ITS made their online courses with lessons on privacy, security, blockchain, and more free. A number of organisations have held webinars, including IWMF on reporting in a pandemic, New/Mode on working remotely, Open Government Partnership and Open Contracting Partnership on how procurement can still be done transparently during an emergency response, and Elucd on how state and local leaders can effectively communicate during a public health crisis. And for those wondering how to make their usual in-person trainings virtual, Campaign Bootcamp has compiled tips and resources for how to run online trainings. 

Luminate Jobs
Director, Africa | Nairobi
Lead Luminate’s work in Africa, managing existing relationships and expanding our funding and operational work in the region
Contractor, Baltics | Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, or Poland
Support portfolio and pipeline management for Luminate’s Central & Eastern Europe region
Finance Business Partner | London
Support Luminate’s Financial Controller with the accounting and finance operations for Luminate Projects Ltd and its primary project, Reset
Grants Manager | Washington, DC
Manage grantmaking operations, grant compliance, systems, data, and workflow. Support day-to-day grants management processes and act as primary lead on grant compliance
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