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Case Study: Fondo Semillas

A national feminist fund based in Mexico, Fondo Semillas, where Tania Turner formerly served as Co-Director, has grappled with organizational change and human resources from a routine and unique angle. Like many other organizations, the routine issue was the need to identify the optimal staffing and operational processes that can support this. However, what makes Fondo Semillas distinct is the strong connection and proximity to grassroots organizations, the local community, and leaders. Tania says, “We are a small organization with a very grassroots approach, unlike international NGOs. Sometimes, the fear is that if we grow too much, we will begin to lose that approach, the proximity, and the availability of direct knowledge to take the temperature of the field.”

Tania considers the challenges of operating within the nonprofit space, noting that the corporate systems and mechanisms that can help organizations grow are often at odds with nonprofit values, communication, and operational approaches. It proves challenging to work with a corporate sector that prioritizes resources and assets over people, as opposed to the people-centered values of social justice organizations.

The organization has had difficulty working with corporate partners that focused on process and end results but did not understand the operational context, goals, and vision. “In Mexico, the way you talk about things is also important when you are trying to change things.” Tania shared. “In terms of social justice, the ‘way’ you work is just as meaningful as the work.” It has been Fondo Semillas’s biggest challenge to find partners that can help establish systems for growth and are able to understand their organizational culture and mandates.

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