One hundred funders have signed a renewed pledge to support the charity sector during the coronavirus crisis, ahead of this year’s second lockdown which is starting tomorrow in England.
They are committing to listen to the needs of communities and of civil society, to learn about ways in which charities and funders can better work together, and to make sure that funding supports charities and communities for the long-term.
The pledge is called “still standing with the sector”, and follows the original “we stand with the sector” pledge, which was launched by London Funders in March and went on to gather over 400 signatures from funders across the UK.
Funders also renewed the commitments made in the first pledge, including promising to be flexible when it comes to the need to adapt activities, being willing to discuss dates and reporting deadlines, and offering financial flexibility to charities.
Among the grantmakers that have signed this second pledge are major funders such as the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales and the Greater London Authority.
‘Incredible work’ of civil society
The pledge says: “We, along with a wider group of funders, recognise that the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak continues to have a significant impact on civil society groups, and want to offer renewed assurance that we stand with the sector at this time.
“As Covid-19 hit our communities we saw how the incredible work of civil society groups helped people through the worst of times.
“We know civil society will also be crucial to the recovery and renewal of our communities beyond the crisis, and think it’s important to say that we’re not going anywhere – we’re going to be on the side of communities and civil society for the years ahead.”
London Funders to launch new wave of funding
Together with the pledge, London Funders has also announced it is working on a new wave of funding to support London charities during lockdown.
The organisation leads the London Community Response, a collaboration of 65 funders that have pooled resources to fund local charities during the pandemic. Since March, the group has distributed some £42m.
Emphasis has been on “supporting organisations led by communities most affected by the pandemic”, the funders said, with 70% of funds in the last wave going to groups led by people from Black, Asian or minority ethnic communities, by deaf and disabled people, by women, and by LGBT+ communities.
David Farnsworth, chair of London Funders and chief grants officer at the City Bridge Trust, said: “Although things remain uncertain, it is our job as funders to remain hopeful and ambitious about the future, whilst being mindful of how the past has shaped us.
“As we navigate many unknowns, we do so with a strong track record of collaboration, and a shared commitment to strengthening civil society, knowing that by working together we can help communities to thrive beyond Covid-19.”