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Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity
Rose Longhurst AFSEE

Rose Longhurst

Head of Democratic Renewal Team, Open Society Foundations

Rose is the Head of Democratic Renewal Team for Open Society Foundations - Europe and Central Asia. She has spent her career working in the non-profit sector and has specialised in fundraising and advising institutional donors on how to give effectively. Throughout her career she has championed bottom-up, inclusive approaches to philanthropy. This includes participatory decision-making, where affected communities are involved in decisions about their lives. 

Before becoming the Head of Democratic Renewal Team, Rose was a Program Officer at Open Society Foundations (OSIFE), responsible for the open source democracy portfolio in the Transparency Participation and Accountability Unit. She has also been an active member of The Edge Fund since 2013. Edge Fund is a UK-based funder that gives small grants to grassroots activists challenging the root causes of injustice and discrimination. It is a participatory grantmaker, as decisions are made by those who are most affected by the issues. Rose’s experience with the Edge Fund has particularly strengthened her interest in inequality and injustice, as she has witnessed the disproportionate impact of austerity on marginalised communities.

Rose also sits on the Board of the EDGE Funders Alliance, a global network of progressive philanthropy, and is also on the Facilitation Group of FundAction, a new initiative established to support pan-European activism. In her professional career, Rose has held roles in the women’s rights organisation Womankind Worldwide, the intergovernmental agency The Commonwealth Foundation, and a social enterprise supporting micro-solar energy in Africa. Much of her work has focused on analysis of the funding policies and practices of bilateral donors and charitable foundations. In 2013 she joined Bond, the UK network for international development and humanitarian organisations. In this role she worked with a wide range of stakeholders, from UK government to small NGOs, leading efforts to support the effective flow of money from donors to the communities it is intended to serve.

Rose spent the first few years of her life in the Philippines, where many of her family still live. She holds a BA in English and Philosophy and a MA in Communication Studies from the University of Leeds. Her dissertation focused on the campaigning tactics of animal and gay rights groups. In 2018, as part of her Atlantic Fellowship, Rose completed an MSc in Inequalities and Social Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

I feel strongly that inequality won’t be resolved if solutions are proposed only by the privileged. Those who benefit from inequality can’t be relied upon to resolve it. This has become increasingly clear to me through my work with civil society and social movements. Too often those with wealth, rather than those closest to the issue, set the agenda. Participatory planning is essential to developing just and effective policy, and my ambition for the future is to advocate for participatory decision-making as a means to not only fairer but also more effective social outcomes.

Rose Longhurst


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