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Assets, Agency, & Trust Program

How do we balance power in the development ecosystem to support people's own priorities and advance community-led development?

What We Seek To Address

As in many other parts of the world, the funding base for local civil society organizations in the Philippines is often
fragile. Some are highly dependent on short-term and restricted funding that limits their ability to respond to
community priorities. This power imbalance also undermines the legitimacy of civil society in exerting their
rights and holding other development actors to account.


There is, however, an increasing number of organizations and voices that challenge this power dynamic based on
philosophies or community ownership - that resources generated by and for the community can create durable
and thriving societies. An essential part of this architecture Is community philanthropy.

What We Seek To Do

In 2021, with support from USAID, the Assets, Agency and Trust Programme was launched to jointly build an enabling environment that encourages key audiences and funding structures to recognize and respond to the agency of the people in shaping and sustaining their own development.


As an action research and learning program, we aim to gather ideas and insights by building a network of key
actors from a wide array of sectoral issues, thematic focus, organizational capacities, and levels of operations. From this network, we will Jointly explore existing and emergent forms of community philanthropy, test, and share them among partners, and co-create knowledge through an iterative process.

What We Mean By Community Philanthropy

Community philanthropy is a development approach that invites alternative resource mobilization models (e.g. cooperatives, social enterprises, etc.) and innovative ways of working (e.g. crowdfunding, participatory grantmaking, etc.) for a development paradigm where people are in control of priorities, resources and other decisions affecting them. The logic is simple:

Frequently Asked Questions

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