The Current’s New Tributary

A wise collaboration to enable joyous redistribution of wealth

Oona Eager
5 min readFeb 14, 2023

Highlights (tl;dr)

  • After a year of sense-making, network-building, research and experimentation, I have decided to step away from The Current at the end of this month (February 2023) and will transfer my experience, resources and energy to supporting’s launch of “Money Pot” [working title]—a pooled fund, inspired by The Current’s design.
  • I am ever-grateful to my friends and collaborators Sharon Chang and Jennifer M. Cohen for providing the “experimentation sandbox” used by myself, The Current’s Maker Team and our wider network all throughout 2022.

In Amsterdam, where I live, the smallest signs of spring are beginning to emerge: occasional blackbird song, slightly warmer temperatures and brighter mornings. All of which are a reminder that warmer days are ahead and months have passed since my last update to you in October 2022. Since then, The Current has taken many twists and turns. I’m glad to finally be sitting down to share the status of the project: an exciting new direction!

If you want to go far, go together

Of everything Current-related I learned in 2022, my biggest insight by far was that the success of The Current will depend on how well it’s situated in-community-with or even within networks and organizations that complement the user journey we have co-designed and been prototyping.

December 2022 Prototype

As an economic, social, and technological infrastructure that will enable a free flow of liberated money (and other resources) into community-based organizations across the U.S, The Current is one imagination of a radical shift. And work this radical does not flourish in a vacuum. This is true for three central reasons:

1. Relationships: Trust is the real currency

High Net Wealth Individuals (HNWIs) and those with an abundance of ‘disposable’ income will only say “yes!” to join a radical philanthropic experiment after a lot of trust-building has occurred. Through our desk and design research, we found that there are several factors that can contribute to the establishment of trust in this context. Even the most progressive donors have legitimate questions: Does this organization or the leaders behind it have a track-record of successfully moving funds? Is there oversight via a Board or engaged community? What is the process for justly and equitably allocating and distributing funds? These questions need to be answered either explicitly or implicitly by the fundraiser in order for the donor to take a ‘risk.’

2. Efficiency: Working with existing infrastructure

In Fall 2022, we began exploring what role The Current could play in the existing ecosystem of philanthropic experimentation (e.g. amidst activist-led funds, existing membership orgs and other funder organizing bodies). We realized that if we were to build technical infrastructure from scratch, we would cut our capacity to move money in half, if not more. So, to save time and money, we looked for a cutting-edge fundraising and redistribution platform that was built for collective work. Open Collective’s work with corporations and foundations to disperse large funds, combined with their mission for budget transparency and solidarity is so mission-aligned with ours that we began forming a partnership.

3. Co-Design: Radical outcomes require community-embedded process

I also began to notice that building the necessary relationships with (for example) community-based funds and grassroots organizers in order to co-design a just and equitable allocation process would use an immense amount of resources (as it should!). During design research, community organizers and funders asked: Who is at the decision-making table? Why can’t a progressive donor just give to an existing regranting process? I began to wonder: Would there be a more ease-ful way for this work to be piloted — one that felt authentic and flowing?

Thus, it became clear that The Current was a flow seeking bodies of water: both a money-moving platform and a community-based organization for the The Current to move through. By December, given these learnings, I was actively seeking a new pathway. I was looking for an existing network or organization in which The Current could both flourish and offer meaningful value.

A new tributary

Simultaneously, in the latter half of 2022, Caroline Woolard (Chief Cultivation Officer at Open Collective) and I met several times to discuss how The Current could use Open Collective’s infrastructure as its underlying technology. Caroline also happens to be a co-organizer of a U.S.-based network that supports working-class, queer, trans-, and Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour creatives in the Solidarity Economy movement. has an established track-record, has existing partnerships with several foundations and Grantmakers in the Arts, a stellar team, as well as the benefit of already using Open Collective’s technological infrastructure to allocate funds. All in all, a perfect context in which to pilot a radical philanthropic model!

After consulting their members at the beginning of this year, the Art.Coop team embarked on developing a pooled fund, inspired by The Current’s design, called the Money Pot [working title]. For all the reasons I mentioned earlier, I see this new endeavour as an exciting way to pragmatically and fluidly enable The Current’s original imagination to come to life. As such, I have decided to step away from The Current at the end of this month and transfer my experience, resources and energy in service of’s launch of Money Pot. As many of you following this important work already know: another world is possible! Joy, play and innovation can live at the heart of all wealth redistribution work.

I will continue to periodically share learnings and progress here. And, in the future, I’m certain that The Current and will actually intersect because all water eventually becomes one :)

Please reach out if you’d like to continue your support (financial or networked) of this exciting work.

Note: All the sense-making, community-building and design and desk research required to incubate The Current as an imagination and user-journey was graciously seed-funded by private foundation TTSL and operationally supported by Yoxi in 2022. I am ever-grateful to my friends and collaborators Sharon Chang and Jenn M. Cohen for providing the “experimentation sandbox” used by myself, The Current’s Maker Team and its wider network throughout all of last year.