At the Tea Leaf Center we are shifting the ‘research for development’ paradigm: transitioning away from reliance on foreign experts and increasing the role of local researchers. We believe the voices in research should most reflect those who experience them and this requires local researchers to take a stronger lead. The Tea Leaf Center is a membership of independent researchers and a network of affiliated researchers with common values and a common approach.

Our governance mode, combines a membership organization structure with non-profit work to better build a base of regional researchers centered around the Tea Leaf Center values. By building around these values, we believe our work can be a sustainable and repeatable model for research work in this region.

...So, how does this work?

Sustainable Funding

The Tea Leaf Center currently operates on a minimal budget but expects to grow over the next 5 years. Our funding structure is designed to rely on a diverse income stream and not rely entirely on donors.

  1. Each member contributes a portion of their consulting project income
  2. The Partners are not salaried. Instead, they seek independent consulting and project work under their own names as Partners in the Tea Leaf Center. A portion of this income goes directly to the Tea Leaf Center’s core fund. This allows the partners to seek out projects that best fit their research fields and interests while ensuring their work contributes directly to the Tea Leaf Center through their core contributions. This helps to support pro-bono activities, research, network activities, and other overhead costs.
  3. The Tea Leaf Center will begin accepting donations to the core fund to help fund additional pro-bono work and supplement the contributions from the Partners work.
  4. The Tea Leaf Center will also begin to seek project specific funding to fulfill our objects.