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Indigo Trust pledges £2.5m to support charities during coronavirus crisis

The Indigo Trust is making £2.5m available through emergency grants to help charities respond to the coronavirus emergency.

The trust responded to an initiative from charity think tank New Philanthropy Capital (NPC), which has published guidance for philanthropists on how to best support charities through to the crisis.

Housebuilder Redrow’s founder Steve Morgan has also pledged £1m a week to charity, joining the list of celebrities and businesspeople offering their support.

Civil Society News has put together a list of available funding pots, which can be found here.

‘Wealthy individuals need to immediately respond’

The Indigo Fund’s emergency grants will go to the National Emergencies Trust (£1m), to the Trussell Trust to support foodbanks (£1m) and to the Oxfordshire Community Foundation (£500,000), which will distribute the sum to organisations in the local area.

Fran Perrin, founder and chair of Indigo Trust, and her husband, William Perrin, who is also a trustee of the trust, said in a statement: “We are currently in a national emergency to which charities and wealthy individuals need to immediately respond, changing as necessary their pre-existing funding priorities, amounts and processes.”

Like many other foundations, Indigo has also published a statement reassuring grantees of their support and flexibility during the current crisis.

NPC urges philanthropists to contribute

The Indigo Trust’s emergency grants are a first response to NPC’s appeal to philanthropists, urging them to offer their support.

NPC has launched “a collaborative effort to help philanthropists keep charities serving throughout the coronavirus crisis, and prepare for whatever challenges the post-covid world will hold”.

Initial guidance published on the NPC website says that in the current crisis philanthropists should be proactive in offering their help, encourage transparency, consider which vulnerable groups might need support and what charities “we can’t afford to lose”, and be timely in their giving.

Dan Corry, chief executive of NPC, said: “The country is in a very deep crisis. Our number one priority is rightly trying to avoid as many deaths as we can. But at the same time we must do our best to minimise the decimation of the rest of our economy and society as we struggle through this process. 

“At NPC we are working with philanthropists and partners on how they can more effectively fund charities now. And we want to hear your ideas about what more can be done. Previous disasters like Grenfell, Notre-Dame and the refugee crisis produced an outpouring of empathy but no obvious direction. So at NPC, we’re launching a collaborative effort to help philanthropists give as effectively as possible, with specific insights into different sectors. 

“The government’s announcement of an emergency fund is welcome as one way to give: we will see whether the money now comes in. With household giving squeezed, fundraising events cancelled, and public sector contracts in jeopardy, philanthropists have an urgent role to play.”

NPC said it will be publishing advice, insights and case studies on a range of issues and sectors and that it will become “a kind of curated Covid-19 wiki for the voluntary sector”.

Redrow founder pledges £1m a week

Steve Morgan, the founder of construction company Redrow, has also independently pledged £1m a week for 12 weeks to charity.

The funds will be granted through the Steve Morgan Foundation to charities in the areas of Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales.

He said: “We’ve already had more than 50 of our supported charities approach us for desperately needed funding and we are only at the beginning of this crisis. One of our charities, in just one day, had 248 additional people register for their foodbank.

“As the economy shrinks, it will be the charities and the vulnerable people who suffer first and we can’t allow that to happen.

“At times like these it’s right that people turn to our politicians to take the lead, but entrepreneurs like myself can help. We can’t stand idly by and do nothing.”

Other high-profile figures who have offered their support include Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis, and John Lewis together with Waitrose, which have pledged £1m each.

For more news, interviews, opinion and analysis about charities and the voluntary sector, sign up to receive the Civil Society News daily bulletin here.

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