Blog: Why do we need a collaborative hub for funders focused on COVID-19?

Following the announcement about the Funders' Collaborative Hub, Paul Streets (CEO of Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales) sets out why he thinks this is required now, and his aspirations for what it might achieve for civil society and the foundations that want to support the post-emergency response.

Funders are committed to a charity and community sector that, reaches people in need, provides vital services to communities, and provides a rich and varied range of national and local arts, culture and heritage that enriches lives.

We have been so for decades. We will be so for decades to come.

COVID19 has magnified those needs and the importance of these services many times over: just when its economic impact is sweeping cruelly through a sector committed to meet and provide them. Many charities and social enterprises will collapse. We know we will not be able to save them all without significant support from elsewhere, which is why funders have supported the wider voluntary sector in seeking support from public funding.

But we know funders want to do more. Many have already responded to COVID19 as an emergency. Many have supported different emergency funds like the NET. Many have flexed current funding offers to enable those they fund to refocus their work on COVID19 response.  New collaborative approaches have emerged to support key sectors and issues, like children and young people, immigration, advice services and the arts. And more are under consideration. Led not least by the excellent collaborative initiative kicked off by London Funders. 

But we need now to focus beyond the health emergency into the period of recovery and renewal that will extend well into 2021 and likely beyond.

The purpose of the Collaborative Hub is simple. But the ambition is not.

If we are to be effective in ensuring as many key charities and social enterprises as possible survive, recover and renew we think we need to work together better.

To do that we need a better shared understanding of a very rapidly changing environment – which is why we have proposed creating a Funders' Collaborative Hub. This will bring together emerging ground up data and knowledge from a wide range of sources, including that collected by funders with our own ears to the ground.

And we need to use that understanding more effectively to target the resources we have – working alongside our partners in the sector – seeking to align and co-ordinate support wherever possible. To be more than the sum of our parts.

We hope that the expertise, knowledge, and long established relationships, funders have with the sectors and organisations we support will also prove attractive to other philanthropists and funders who might wish to join with us.

Hosted by ACF, led by Foundations and our sector partners, we aim to bring together as many as funders as possible to participate, working with the sector. Sharing data and intelligence. Seeking to come together collaboratively on issues where we have shared interest and understanding. To do our best to efficiently and effectively support a sector we are passionately committed to, and its vital work to reach people and communities deeply 

We support UK foundations and grant-making charities