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London Funders collaboration has distributed £22m to charities since crisis began

22 Jul 2020 News

Sixty London funders have distributed more than £22m in grants to local charities through a collaborative funding project since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis.

The London Community Response Fund launched in March to provide emergency funding to charities and community groups across the capital, and opened for applications four days after lockdown began.

The fund is coordinated by the London Funders network. The organisation said that when the crisis hit, grantmakers got together “recognising that it was vital to distribute grants quickly based on shared intelligence and processes”.

It has since distributed funding through two different waves, and is now open for a third round. Charities can apply for three types of grants: “crisis” grants for organisations distributing food and essentials in their communities, “enable” grants for projects helping people to emerge from the crisis and preventing it from escalating, and “adapt” grants to help organisations adapt to the crisis and fund collaborative work.

The Mayor of London is one of the key contributors to the fund. Last week, it pledged £2.1m for projects supporting young people. Grants from the London Community Response Fund are awarded by the City Bridge Trust.

Funds distributed to minority groups

London Community Response said that it “has placed a strong emphasis on equity and inclusion”, aiming to support minority ethnic groups that are being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

It analysed its grantmaking and found that some 43.8% of funds distributed so far have gone to Black and minority ethnic-led organisations, 8% went to deaf and disabled-led organisations, 5.8% went to LGBT-led organisations and 58.8% went to women-led organisations.

London Community Response worked with social enterprise The Ubele Initiative on equitable funding. In April, the organisation published a survey, which warned that 87% of micro and small BAME-led organisations were at risk of closure in the following three months.

More than 40% of London’s residents are from a BAME background, according to 2011 Census data.

Yvonne Field, founder of Ubele, said: “We’re pleased to have worked alongside the London Community Response, taking a proactive approach to ensure that groups led by Black and minority ethnic people across the capital receive funding.  

“It has been refreshing to see a partnership of funders that have really put equity at the heart of their approach, and to see that when we work together we can ensure that communities get the resources they need.”

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