New fund launches to support BAME organisations during crisis

07 May 2020 News

A new fund has launched with the aim of tackling the impact of the pandemic on BAME communities and organisations.

The Resourcing Racial Justice Fund will open for applications on 18 May and organisations will be able to apply for grants between £5,000 and £50,000.

Contributions to the fund will come from a diverse range of sources, including “foundations, philanthropic organisations and crowdfunding”. The foundation Thirty Percy has made an initial contribution, and the fund is also aiming to raise £50,000 from the public via JustGiving.

The fund is looking to support both projects that respond to “immediate needs” of people of colour and more long-term initiatives aiming to create “solutions for change on a systemic level”.

Resourcing Racial Justice was founded by a group of people of colour activists, artists and social leaders.

‘Disproportionate’ impact on BAME communities

The key purpose of the fund is responding to the pandemic’s “disproportionate impact on people of colour”.

Research shows that BAME communities are being hit the hardest by the virus.

One study has found that they account for a third of critically ill coronavirus patients in hospitals, even though they make up only 14% of the total population. They are also over-represented when it comes to the number of deaths.

A survey from social enterprise the Ubele Initiative, which was answered by 137 BAME-led micro and small organisations, also found that 87% of respondents do not have sufficient reserves to last more than three months, and therefore risk closure. The organisation estimates that their services support between 15,000 and 20,000 people per week.

#CharitySoWhite published an open letter last month which has been signed by more than 100 individuals and organisations, asking that 20% of the government’s support package for charities is ring-fenced for BAME organisations.

‘Lack of equity in funding decisions’

Salina Nwulu, founding member of Resourcing Racial Justice, said: “It's sadly unsurprising, but very clear, that the Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted working-class communities of colour in terms of infections and deaths. Through every crisis, be it Covid-19 or the climate emergency, people of colour are disproportionately affected because they already experience the blunt end of social inequality.

“We're hoping this fund will provide much-needed support to frontline organisations and groups who are working to support those more at risk and vulnerable to Covid-19.”

Yvonne Field, chief executive and founder of The Ubele Initiative, said: “Lack of equity in funding decisions have been so normal that to hear 'nice idea, but no thanks’ became expected by those of us who applied. However, this is being challenged by movements such as #CharitySoWhite, and I for one welcome their direct intervention in the system.

“We need initiatives such as this to support us, not only through this emergency but also for the long haul.”

According to 2018 figures from the Association of Charitable Foundations, 99% of trustees at charity foundations are white.

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