CAF creates £5m emergency fund as philanthropists urged to support charities

30 Mar 2020 News

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has launched a £5m emergency grant programme to support small charities during the Covid-19 crisis.

Elsewhere, philanthropists have been urged to do more to support struggling charities. 

Civil Society News has put together a list of emergency funds currently available to charities. It is regularly updated and can be accessed here.

Grants up to £10,000 for small charities

CAF’s emergency fund offers one-off grants of up to £10,000 to small charities and social enterprises that are struggling during the current crisis. Organisations with a turnover of up to £1m can apply.

The money can be used “for unrestricted funding for core costs, staffing, volunteer costs, supplies and equipment, communications or other critical charitable areas”. CAF says it aims to pay the grants within 14 days from the application.

Sir John Low, chief executive at CAF, said: “Some of the charities and small organisations we rely on are facing very difficult times. They are telling us they face financial difficulties, with fundraising events cancelled or postponed and volunteers rightly staying at home. These are the people who are delivering support in so many ways in every corner of the UK and we need them to be there during and after this crisis.

“The situation is dire and CAF has mobilised to try and help as many organisations as we can by offering immediate emergency funds.

“We aim to get this money to charities within days and CAF is working flat out to not just deliver these funds, but to remind the wider public of the essential role that charities and non-profit organisations are playing in the thick of this emergency.”

‘Think broadly’ in your giving, philanthropists told

Meanwhile, associations in the philanthropy and foundation sectors have had a letter published in the Financial Times asking philanthropists to support charities during the current crisis.

The letter says that while the government does need to step up and respond to the crisis, foundations and philanthropists also have a role to play.

The letter reads: “Many philanthropists and foundations are already responding brilliantly, upping their giving and making their grantmaking more flexible. But we need more to join.”

It also suggests that funding should not only be directed towards emergency response to the crisis but also towards charities that have lost their income as a result of it.

It says: “Charities need to be able to provide for people hit hardest by this crisis, and to expand their services to those who have suddenly become vulnerable. But we must also remember the wonderful work done by other charities unrelated to coronavirus.

“Who will help their beneficiaries if these charities go under? So philanthropists need to think broadly, be clear and straightforward in their giving, and encourage charities they fund to be open about where the challenges are.”

The letter was organised by New Philanthropy Capital (NPC), which has also launched an initiative to coordinate philanthropists' efforts and funding in tackling the crisis.

Senior executives at the Association of Charitable Foundations, the Beacon Collaborative, CAF, Philanthropy Impact, Prism the Gift Fund and UK Community Foundations have also signed the letter.

Support core costs and be flexible, DSC urges

DSC has also addressed funders in an open letter from one of its trustees, Andrew Purkis, detailing how to best support charities at this time.

Among “10 things foundation trustees and other funders should do now”, DSC lists supporting core costs, being flexible about reporting, speeding up application processes for emergency funding, removing funding restrictions and responding to cash flow issues.

The letter said: “You have to think about whether the people and causes you’re passionate about are going to be served now and in the future by your grantees. Will those charities that you spent so much time and effort selecting, monitoring and even capacity-building even be around in three months’ time to serve them? It’s that serious.

“But here’s the thing: you can help. By being a good grant-giving trustee – show you get it. Break some rules and chuck some conventions away. Take a few well-calculated risks. There are bigger considerations here than grant monitoring and reporting, KPIs and outcomes metrics.”

As of today, 249 funders have signed a statement published by London Funders pledging to offer flexibility and support to grantees during the crisis.

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