Civil Society Futures Inquiry: 12 months in

The independent inquiry into the future of civil society has published its interim report. The Story of our Time: Power in Our Hands?, looking at the findings from conversations, meetings and written submissions, summarises the themes that have emerged, and poses further questions on the topics of place, belonging together, work, and how we organise. You can download the full report here.

ACF Chief Executive Carol Mack said:

“Today’s interim report is a call to action for all of us who form part of the fabric of civil society.

The report identifies civil society as “bringing people together, building their confidence and capability, offering a helping hand to those in crisis, delivering services and challenging injustice”. Charitable foundations have always been, and will continue to be, at the heart of supporting these endeavours – preserving social good when it is under threat and catalysing it where it is absent.

To contribute to the ‘historic arc’ of change, foundations are ideally placed to be both take the long term view and respond creatively to change and emergent need. Within the current shrinking space for civil society, many foundations are looking again at aspects of their practice; seeking to amplify the voices of those they support, provide platforms for them to be heard, and put pressure on decision-makers to listen and respond. Foundations are also increasingly striving to be more open in their practices, while a number are considering a systems change approach, or are actively working to be more integrated in the places they work and connected to the people, initiatives and causes they support.

We look forward to working with our members in this collective effort to realise the Inquiry’s vision of a ‘humanised’ future, including through our Stronger Foundations initiative which will enable funders to come together to work on a number of vital aspects of their practice.”


Julia Unwin CBE, chair of the inquiry, has written a blog for the Baring Foundation, one of the inquiry's supporters. Read the blog here.

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