The Leathersellers’ Company

COVID-19 Strategic Charitable Giving Response: Stage 1

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing disadvantage and issues of social welfare in the UK. As an experienced funder, we understand the far-reaching consequences of this, affecting the charities that provide huge social and fiscal value to our society and most importantly, those in need who they support. As such we wanted to act in a timely though well considered manner with our funding in this quarter (April – June 2020). Overall the response from charities has been positive – you can read some of their words here.

Utilising unallocated funds, releasing additional funding from our reserves and through generous donations from Liverymen we are in the final stages of distributing almost £400,000 in urgent funds. This represents the additional funds available to the end of June 2020 – the next stage of the strategy will be in place from July onwards, as we go into the next Livery and financial year.

– support to the homeless or those at risk of becoming homeless
– provision of food and essential supplies
– domestic violence crisis support
– those providing nursing care to very vulnerable patients

Additional unrestricted funding has been provided to 17 current grantee charities that are providing vital services in the priority areas identified above. These were proactively identified from circa 170 currently funded charities, with no new applications currently being accepted. Our existing multi-year grant funding commitments continue as normal.

Our Small Grants Programme has had an unprecedented national response with over 350 applications received in the first three weeks of April. With 250+ applications also in draft this has now been closed to new applicants (though charities with a draft started can submit this by 27th April 2020). Applications are also being considered that have been submitted to the London Community Response Fund (LCRF) where we are collaborating with other foundations as an aligned funder. The Small Grants Committee are meeting every two weeks, with decisions communicated within 24 hours and funds received within days. Two of the four meetings in eight weeks have already been held with support having now been given in emergency grants to 30 frontline charities.

Including match funding by the Leathersellers’ Company, funds have currently been raised through the annual request for donations. A further appeal focused on three nominated charities that meet the current focus of giving listed above is being made and these funds will be distributed by the end of May. Whilst usually only one charity is selected, in these exceptional times the funds will be split between the three charities proportional to Liverymen’s votes.

The Leathersellers’ Company Charitable Fund were one of the first hundred charitable funders to sign the London Funders statement of support for civil society. We are operating under the principles agreed collaboratively. A parallel version of this has now been adopted in Europe and the UK focused statement has over 300 signatories already.

With a long standing and proud tradition of providing unrestricted core funding, our grantees are already able to use our funds as best needed, but we are striving to ensure the new and additional funds described above are allocated as effectively as possible.

Should you be interested in learning more about the above, or getting involved in supporting any of the above strands, please contact our Head of Grants, Natalia Rymaszewska.

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