Foundations and covid-19

This page will be updated as the situation develops.

Last updated 13 May 2020

ACF’s response

We have closed our office but are all working from home and can be contacted by phone or by email as usual.

Events: We think it is essential that we continue to bring foundations together to share good practice and build knowledge, skills and confidence – perhaps now more than ever. Many of our other events will take place online, while some will be postponed. Check our events listings regularly for updates.

Webinars: We ran a webinar on 19 March about the impact of coronavirus on foundations; members can view it here. We'll be looking to host more webinars on issues relating to the outbreak, and members will be notified as and when these are scheduled.

Communications: We will provide timely and relevant information to members through our usual communications channels (Funders’ News, Trust & Foundation News, Twitter). Register on our website and update your communications preferences to make sure you receive everything electronically.

Collaboration: We are working on a collaborative Hub to enable collaboration between funders; find out more here. We are in constant communication with other infrastructure bodies and members to ensure needs are being met and, importantly, that civil society’s voice is being heard within government. We’ve already taken a number of actions together and we continue to support one another in whatever ways we can.

Queries: Members can ask queries on Funder Network, our free knowledge sharing platform. Please contact with events queries with other issues.


What foundations are doing

Supporting civil society

Working differently

  • NCVO has made all resources on Knowhow Nonprofit free to access. Here you can find support with things like building a digital workforce and creating new HR policies.
  • Cranfield Trust is offering free remote business support for charities.
  • Digital Candle has free and advice and resources for charities adapting to working digitally.
  • Acas has lots of information about how to work from home.
  • Working Families also has information on working from home.
  • This article highlights some considerations for how to handle the year end, which for many charities is 31 March.
  • For foundations that raise funds from the public, the Institute of Fundraising is helping charities think through the challenges posed.
  • The National Cyber Security Centre also has guidance on staying safe online when working from home.
  • This blog from Dafne has some ideas for working from home.


Government and regulation

The Westminster government announced a package of £750m to support charities, of which £370m will support small local charities, and £360m to charities providing essential services and supporting vulnerable people. The Chancellor also acknowledged that foundations are already doing their part. We look forward to finding out more about the details of this funding package.

A number of parliamentary select committees are taking evidence on the impact of covid-19 on various sectors and groups. ACF has a briefing for foundations on how and why they might engage with select committees. 

The Charity Commission for England and Wales has assured it will be flexible in its approach to regulation during this time. It has provided guidance for charities which covers changing charitable objectives and other issues from AGMs to safeguarding. It has also said annual return deadlines can be extended.

The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) is updating its website regularly with resources from SCVO and ACOSVO as well as answering charities’ questions.

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has also offered assurances that it will understand where there are delays or missed deadline, as well as warning that delivery of its own services may be delayed.

The SORP-making body has published new guidance to help charities account for the implications of the crisis.


Relevant resources

Issue-specific resources

We support UK foundations and grant-making charities