One of the toughest challenges facing us in caring for the environment is that it is going to take all of us working together. The big systemic challenges like climate change or economically-driven degradation of the natural world need systemic responses. Responses are not hard to design, but how to do we achieve the ‘all of us working together’ part? The USA is way out ahead of us here, with funders partnering up with backbone organisations and giving unrestricted funding, in relationships of trust. It is time we in the UK caught up with this approach to whole-systems change.