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Enabling collaboration between funders in response to the Covid-19 pandemic

The impact of Covid-19 is being felt across society. The pandemic is a health, social and economic crisis. Civil society reaches people in need and helps make sure that everyone’s voices can be heard. But civil society’s capacity for action is being limited as its income dries up due to the current restrictions.

Foundations have already stepped up to provide funding and to support existing grantees. And we think that more can be done to encourage and enable collaboration in order to align and coordinate support for emerging needs arising out of the crisis.

With that in mind, in March the Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF) convened a meeting of organisations across the sector to discuss the potential for collaboration. Following that meeting, a group including Caroline Mason from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Paul Streets from Lloyds Bank Foundation and Carol Mack from the Association of Charitable Foundations have been developing a proposal for a Funders Collaborative Hub.

The proposal is still in development but we’re working to put in place a collaboration focused on the next phase of the crisis as the country looks to recover and renew. We expect work to start in summer 2020 and last into 2021. The Hub would be a time limited, effective and collective approach to co-ordinate recovery funding and support with the charity sector.

The Hub would be hosted by ACF and led by foundations and sector partners. The focus of the Hub initially would be on sharing information, learning and data and using a “hub and spoke” approach to connect with organisations who are building collaborations on particular issues thrown up by the emergency. The hub and spoke structure will help to target resources more effectively.

During May, we will be working up the proposal more and establishing two groups – a diverse founding strategy group drawing on expertise from across foundations and civil society; and a project group to develop a practical approach to managing data and evidence and to building connections with other relevant work.

We aim to provide further details at the beginning of June. Critical to the effectiveness of the Funders’ Collaborative Hub is transparency and the involvement of a wide and diverse range of organisations. The next phase will include engagement with foundations and wider civil society. We welcome contributions and thoughts now. Please contact Carol Mack, Chief Executive, Association of Charitable Foundations (policy@acf.org.uk) if you would like to provide input.

Caroline Mason, Chief Executive, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
Carol Mack, Chief Executive, Association of Charitable Foundations
Paul Streets, Chief Executive, Lloyds Bank Foundation

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