£22m funding distributed in London through an unprecedented funder collaboration

Over £22m in funding has been distributed through the London Community Response (LCR) to support the capital’s civil society organisations since opening for applications four days after lockdown started. The LCR is an unprecedented funder collaboration – over 60 funders have come together from across sectors, recognising that it was vital to distribute grants quickly based on shared intelligence and processes. 

The collaborating funders have placed a strong emphasis on equity and inclusion, recognising that the pandemic is disproportionately affecting already marginalised and discriminated-against communities. Analysis of the grants made shows that 43.8% went to Black and Minority Ethnic-led organisations, 8% went to Deaf and Disabled-led organisations, 5.8% went to LGBT-led organisations and 58.8% went to Women-led organisations.  This was achieved through funding the valuable expertise, reach and proactive support of equality-led infrastructure groups who are working alongside the funding partnership.

As an example, Bloomberg - the London Community Response’s founding corporate partner – has provided much-needed direct support to over 50 organisations, many of which are long-term partners and are focused on helping vulnerable and excluded groups. The collaborative work of the London Community Response Fund speaks directly to the aims of Bloomberg's philanthropic mission to create lasting impact by addressing unmet needs in their local communities.

Two such organisations are The Albert Kennedy Trust (akt) and The WOW Foundation.

 Akt aims to change the life chances of young LGBTQ+ homeless people and to reduce the long-term social and economic impacts that homelessness and gender inequality causes. The emergency funding Bloomberg was able to provide through the LCR enabled akt to deliver much needed essentials to young LGBTQ+ people who experienced acute hardship during the pandemic. With support from the LCR, akt worked to find emergency accommodation for those who were made homeless or who needed to leave their current accommodation through fear of abuse or violence.

Tim Sigsworth, CEO of akt spoke about the benefits of receiving this funding:  “The young people facing homelessness who akt support have been significantly affected by the pandemic; many of whom have faced the threat of abuse and poor mental health as a result of being forced to isolate with families who do not accept their sexual or gender identities. They have also faced the threat of eviction, homelessness and joblessness as the pandemic has progressed. The funding received from Bloomberg, through the London Community Response, has enabled akt to provide young people with safe accommodation, food, phone credit and other vital resources to keep them safe at this time.”

At the height of lockdown, the WOW Foundation launched the WOW Global 24 virtual festival, attended by more than 11,000 people live, from over 50 countries speaking 20 different languages. The festival helped bring people together to build communities, participate in gender focused discussions and share in an online forum to convene ideas and people at a time when physical gatherings were prohibited. While Bloomberg has supported WOW for over a decade, the funding to adapt and expand their programming in the wake of the pandemic was provided through the LCR.

Reflecting on the London Community Response process, Yvonne Field, Founder of Ubele said:

“We’re pleased to have worked alongside the London Community Response, taking a proactive approach to ensure that groups led by Black and minority ethnic people across the capital receive funding.  It has been refreshing to see a partnership of funders that have really put equity at the heart of their approach, and to see that when we work together we can ensure that communities get the resources they need.”

The LCR is now open for its third wave of funding, and civil society organisations (particularly smaller groups, those focused on equity and inclusion, and with strong reach into communities affected by covid-19)a simple application form is at www.londoncommunityresponse.org.uk.

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