Please note this is a past event.
Participant choice workshops

On both conference days participants will be able to choose to attend a highly interactive, participatory workshop led by an ACF member or ACF Official Partner. Confirmed sessions are outlined below.

Delegates will be invited to select their preferred options prior to conference.


Wednesday 6 October, 11.50am-12.40pm


Building futures – “ours to share” or “mine to hold on to”? 

Community Foundation for Northern Ireland 

What can all foundations learn from funders at the forefront of division in Northern Ireland? 
This workshop will explore how local funders have navigated the issues of community, identity and belonging within a Northern Ireland context, where challenges have been heightened by Brexit and the NI Protocol. Unintended impacts have polarised communities, with the presence of street violence a reminder that peace is not won and needs to be continually worked at. However, NI and indeed the Island of Ireland is no longer a binary society and the need for wider public engagement on issues of identity, border and constitutional arrangements is vital to allow planning for the future where people feel safe, valued and connected. 

Global Risks 2021: Fractured Future? 

Mercer (ACF Official Partner)

What are the key findings from the recent World Economic Forum Global Risks Report, and how do they apply to foundation investments?
This session explores the recent shift towards a focus on societal risks; in particular, the impacts of Covid-19 threatening to scale back years of progress on reducing poverty and inequality. Job losses, a widening digital divide, disrupted social interactions, and abrupt shifts in markets could lead to dire consequences and lost opportunities for large parts of the global population. 
The world’s ability to resolve these major global risks require societal cohesion and global cooperation. With opportunities for attendee discussion and reflection in smaller groups the session will conclude by offering proposals for enhancing resilience within foundation investment portfolios, drawing from the lessons of the pandemic. 

Children's Voices in Grant-making - the UNCRC and Beyond


How can foundations support child advocacy and the protection of children’s rights? This session will focus on how funders can enable and amplify children's voices. It will draw upon work to protect and enhance the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child through rights-based funding and examine how this approach can be embedded in funding practice and strategies.   


100 Year Stories: Funding communities for the long term

Local Trust

How can foundations support future-focused storytelling to enable local people to create meaningful change in their communities?  This workshop will provide a platform to local people to share their experience of using “100-year stories” to build community, identity and belonging. It will spark debate on how funding ecosystems can be reimagined and adapted to better enable communities to make these stories a reality.   


“Modern Grant-making” in a smaller funder  

Modern Grant-making (Gemma Bull and Tom Steinberg)  

How can smaller funders pursue “Modern Grant-making”, and to what extent does size matter?  Smaller funders comprise the majority of both the foundation sector and ACF membership. This workshop will support practitioners based in smaller funders to consider how to implement some of the key ideas outlined in the presenters’ newly published book, without the need for a large staff team or budget.  



Wednesday 6 October, 2.30pm-3.20pm


Heritage Development Trusts: a new model for community-led regeneration 

Architectural Heritage Fund 

How can foundations collaborate across sectors to empower community-led regeneration?  Heritage Development Trusts are a new kind of community-led organisation that harness innovative investment models and partner with local authorities and third-sector groups. They aim to adapt redundant historic buildings into high-quality spaces for delivery of essential community services and promote civic pride.  This workshop will consider this model as an example of cross-sector partnerships and leverage, and explore the merits of foundations looking at collaboration beyond their usual networks.  


Balancing relationships: working alongside people in communities, while making funding decisions 

Corra Foundation  

How can foundations integrate meaningful community participation in grantmaking? 
Corra Foundation aims to work alongside people to make change happen. In the last year its place-based team focused on grant-making to support community responses to the pandemic. This session will explore how to strike the right balance of maintaining placed-based ways of working alongside more transactional grant-giving practices.   


From 'voice' to 'power': funding communities of youth-led change and campaigning  

Act for Change Fund (Esmèe Fairbairn Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and #iwill)  

How can we fund and empower young people to create and lead systemic change in their communities? 
This workshop will discuss the role of belonging, community and identity in funding organisations where young people with lived experience of injustice and inequality lead social action for change to unfair systems and structures. It will draw from the experience of the collaborative #iwill fund and hear from funders who have been directly involved in its design and delivery. 


Unlocking social change: finding and funding micro organisations 

The Fore 

How can foundations reach and support micro organisations and help them to thirve? 
The Fore’s grantmaking programme empowers leaders of community organisations who know how to serve the needs of the people they represent. It does this through specific outreach to micro organisations (turnover of under £100k), who are more likely to be led by or working with marginalised communities. This workshop will explore how a focus on this part of civil society can catalyse social change.  


Thursday 7 October, 11.00am-11.50am


Shoulder to shoulder: Building an international LGBTQI community foundation 

Give out

What is best practice when it comes to LGBTQI philanthropy and grant-making? 
GiveOut is an international LGBTQI community foundation enabling its community and allies to give in one place to support LGBTQI activism worldwide. Community, identity and belonging are central to its mission. In this workshop, Give Out will share the foundation’s journey so far, and reflect on what it has learned about best practice across this part of civil society.   

Community research: who’s in control? 

British Science Association, Centric and Impact on Urban Health (Guy's & St Thomas’ Foundation) 

How can community research be non-extractive, and enable local people to lead the research agenda? 
There is research fatigue among communities and a growing mistrust of research practice. Increasingly, people want to be in control setting the research agenda and want research to be about subjects which matter to them. 
This workshop will explore how funders can support these efforts, and examine the case study of Community Researchers within the Impact on Urban Health initiative.  


What is good investment? 

CCLA (ACF Official Partner)

ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing has suddenly exploded onto the scene, but what is it? 
In 2011 Occupy London sparked-off a four month protest against global capitalism. It provoked a passionate and painful series of debates about social, moral and financial issues. ‘The City and the Common Good – What kind of City do we want?’ was the metaphor of money and monetary exchange and how what  we do with what Wycliffe (1380) and Chaucer (1386) called filthy lucre, reveals who we are and who we are becoming. Each of the sessions opened with a challenge; a re-imagining. Archbishop Vincent Nichols talked of Good People; Lord Skidelsky of Good Money; Archbishop Justin Welby of Good Banks. This was the moment CCLA adopted what has become their strapline of Good Investment. 
Eight years on, CCLA invites ACF members to explore the question ‘What is Good Investment?’ in a highly participative session.  Participants are encouraged to come with all of their personal and organisational baggage stuffed full of their prejudices, passions and convictions. 

Achieving equity and inclusion through funder collaboration 

London Funders and Leeds Community Foundation 

Can collaboration enable funders to be more equitable and inclusive with their funding, both during and beyond an emergency?
As more funders consider how to make their grant-making processes more equitable, this interactive workshop will introduce participants to two place-based responses to collaborative grantmaking.
Both the London Community Response Fund and the Leeds Community Foundation’s Covid-19 emergency funds prioritised equity in grantmaking, from outreach to application process, to funding decisions, and grantee support. Diverse community representatives helped shape the responses to the pandemic, and delegates will hear what funders can do to better support communities and promote equitable outcomes. 
Participants will have a chance to reflect on their own practice and consider how collaboration could enable them to test out new ways of grant making that centre on community, identity and belonging. 


Using data to shine light on foundation practice and catalyse change 

Friends Provident Charitable Foundation led initiative and DEI data group (Esmèe Fairbairn Foundation and The National Lottery Community Fund)  

Can data transform the ways that foundations behave, and shift both power and funding? 
The workshop will share progress and early results of two data-led initiatives: the first UK rating system of foundation diversity, accountability and transparency; and the DEI Data Standard, a collaborative project involving 25+ foundations to collect and collate DEI data accurately and efficiency. 
Attendees will hear an introduction to both projects, and then choose which to hear about in more depth. 



ACF is proud to work with its Official Partners.