The Trustbuilding Program (TBP) works with several local partners in the project countries. On the program level we have one major partner that we are fortunate and happy to collaborate with The Fetzer Institute.
The Fetzer Institute
The Fetzer Institute (Fetzer) is a US-based nonprofit organization whose mission is helping to build the spiritual foundation for a loving world. They aim to inspire and serve a global movement that transforms the world into a more loving home for all. Their work is guided by their Theory of Change that articulates the need for a global movement.
Initiatives of Change (IofC) and Fetzer share a lot of common ground, as IofC also seeks to catalyze the inner transformation of people and encourage action for the common good.
Fetzer has invested in two IofC projects in recent years: Creators of Peace and IofC USA’s Faith-Rooted Organizing initiative. Fetzer’s president, Bob Boisture, has been supportive of IofC and was a special guest at the 2015 extended Global Assembly in Caux, Switzerland where IofC International meets annually to discuss the governance of the global movement. As a partner, Fetzer understands the imperative of moving towards financial sustainability and this understanding has necessitated and informed our expedited strategic review. In our collaboration agreement, Fetzer made a major commitment to ’co-create’ the TBP as a step towards IofC International achieving sustainability.
An alignment in goals
Shakiyla Smith, Director of Organizational Culture, sits on the Program Steering Group and the Planning Committee of the TBP, which enables a level of engagement and communication necessary for effective collaboration. Shakiyla visited Caux for the Global Assembly last year and describes the collaboration as follows:
‘Fetzer and IofC have been working together over the past year to build and launch the TBP, which serves to strengthen the IofC network. Here at Fetzer we have long been inspired by IofC’s mission and work, and now we are pleased to be part of the IofC family. Both our organizations aim to nurture personal spiritual transformation and realize that once it reaches a critical mass of people and creates a community of like-minded souls, it can be the catalyst of social change.
IofC asks us to measure our own actions by four values - honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love - as a means to that end. These are consistent with Fetzer’s values of love, trust, authenticity, and inclusion. IofC’s trustbuilding work is a great example of how inner work translates to outer action – a key focus of Fetzer’s work organizationally and programmatically. In order to have the collective impact that we desire, it’s critical that we connect with fellow changemakers and spiritually-grounded organizations who are working towards the common good.’
Partnership in practice
Fetzer’s engagement with IofC is deeper than one might expect between two organizations: it’s a productive and healthy relationship with similar goals. Both Shakiyla and Kurian Thomas, Vice President of Spiritual Transformation, have participated in events and in dialogues hosted by IofC. Kurian visited Asia Plateau, the IofC centre in India, earlier this year and contributed his perspectives on democracy during the Towards a Humane World conference. Then, when the COVID-19 crisis broke out, he shared his thoughts about the importance of compassion and impact beyond the crisis.
Shakiyla was a speaker for our webinar series titled Building Trust In Times Of Crisis. She lent per perspective to the series of discussions, whose common theme was on how these unprecedented circumstances have caused a ripple of disruptions to our daily lives that make people generally more stressed and afraid, as trust is at a critical low point.
Overall, we would like to express our gratitude to Fetzer for their ongoing support and partnership! With their support we are strengthening the capacity of local teams, developing the long-term sustainability of the Program and making an impact in the local communities where the TBP works.
*Illustration by Manon Michelle Monhemius
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The Trustbuilding Program is aimed at addressing divisive issues at the international and national levels, on the premise that only those who have undergone the internal process of becoming trustworthy themselves can close gaps across the globe. The Program was launched by Initiatives of Change International in 2019 with projects in Kenya, Canada and France.