Mission, Vision & Impact areas
It all comes back to resilience
Open Collective Europe has set out to achieve the sustainability of the social and solidarity economy as well as open source technologies. Our mission is to enable initiatives to raise and spend money transparently under a common umbrella nonprofit.
Open Collective is not a typical company. It is an ecosystem where a software company coexists with independent associations and foundations that we call 'hosts.' Open Collective Europe is blossoming as one of the first major fiscal hosts on the European continent. We host initiatives that share our values and work towards a better future. But what are those values? Our vision for a healthy and thriving world starts with resilience. Out of that central concern, we find six related areas where we want to make a difference.
Humanity is divided on countless fronts, but most will agree on the need for resilience. When systems fail, we need fallback buffers. Resilient communities don't break due to cascading system failure. They have a patchwork of fallbacks to absorb the shocks. Resilience is when people next to you on the street know how to administer CPR or can swim to save someone from drowning. It is when the families in your neighborhood own their own homes. It is when your community has enough nurses to deliver your children and enough teachers to educate them. It is when every other house in your neighborhood has solar panels, feeding spare capacity back to the grid. It is when authorities arrive at a natural disaster and find that the local community has already started helping itself. It is a society of ordinary people who are great leaders when they need to be. Resilience keeps people, jobs, and services in your hometown. And when we can trust our community to catch us if we fall, we can safely turn our attention to working for the greater good. That is why we put resilient communities at the center of our mission.
We put great trust in civil society but also understand that resilience is unevenly distributed. Communities achieve it at different times and sometimes lose it. By acknowledging that, those acting from a more resilient position can act to show solidarity. People who have perfected their skills may mentor those who need better role models. Business leaders may support entrepreneurship where it is challenging. Those of us with platforms may speak for those with less access. Our care may extend to other living beings, preventing animal suffering and cruelty. On another level, we also acknowledge that even the wealthiest societies eventually crack when things fall apart. People with stable jobs and warm homes may be refugees from wars and other disasters. Solidarity is vital because we are all in this together. Solidarity is an act of kindness that also stops cascades of suffering that may eventually lead to system collapse in our communities. We act with caring solidarity to nurture resilience in others.
Resourceful people want to thrive and blossom, seek joy and new insights, jump higher, play louder, and whisper poetry. We want to score that goal and sing in celebration. Culture brings attention to what we must express - because it is true, just, beautiful, or frightening. If culture becomes something only produced somewhere else, by someone else, then we are not genuinely resilient because it does not reflect our values, triumphs, and sorrows. Our communities must seize opportunities to play, perform, express, read, write, dance, and swim. We support independent culture organized by citizens for citizens.
When we use science and technology wisely, it makes us more resourceful. We expand our horizons and capabilities. If we share our findings, we grow stronger together. We foster collaboration and accelerate the dissemination of knowledge and technology through the network effect. Otherwise, we risk becoming divided by increasing technological gaps. Civil society plays a vital role in making innovation available to all. Distributed networks of passionate people around the world develop open-source software. Citizen scientists collect and share data. Civil engineers document how to build more energy-efficient homes. Technologists share blueprints for 3D printers and robots. Maker spaces around the world help people innovate and repair. What makes all of this possible is open innovation.
We risk becoming a lonely species in an overheated and flooded world. Without solving the climate crisis and other man-made disasters, our work toward resilient communities will fail. There are countless examples of civil society initiatives that reduce carbon footprints, minimize waste, prevent deforestation, and protect animals from extinction. Citizens can take direct action or push for better policies and practices to support sustainable ecologies.
When a social innovation, cultural institution, or green space starts feeling like it has always been there, it has become a common good. We hope the commons we create will become so readily available that they appear unremarkable. And it is precisely at this point that it becomes vulnerable. Humankind longs for innovation, novelty, and excitement. We want to solve the urgent problems of the day, and that is where we focus our attention. But we also need to pay attention to maintaining the solutions to problems we have already solved. Once saved from deforestation, a forest needs protection from invasive species. A community center built by one generation must be repaired and maintained by the next. Technology that encrypts websites and emails and keeps us safe from surveillance must be updated. We cannot take our commons for granted. If we do, all our work on communities, solidarity, culture, innovation, and ecologies risks being undone. We need to support commons stewardship for our progress to leave a lasting legacy.
We are based in Europe but offer fiscal hosting to initiatives around the world. If our vision speaks to you, get in touch. We are ready to host your collective today and would be excited to hear from you. You can apply here.