8 Sep 2021
The Community Foundation has at its core a focus on ‘Connecting People Who Care With Causes That Matter’. As a leading independent, grant making trust here in Northern Ireland, we focus on inspiring generosity and achieving impact. In a society where everyone can prosper and live in peace, we encourage and support those who want to give and empower the local community to effect change.
In March 2020 when lockdown began the Foundation was one of the first funders to open a Covid Response fund, initially an emergency fund which grew to over £4m and developed into supporting New Needs identified by communities across NI. We are particularly proud of how our communities responded to covid at the grass roots of our society and we were privileged to be able to work in collaboration and partnership with other funders to support them.
What we did…
The process to apply to the fund was streamlined to enable applicants to submit key information through a simple application form. We adapted our processes, from signed hard copy contracts and documents, to accepting online signed acceptance. This enabled us to pay grants out within one to two days of awards being approved.
Our assessment process also became more flexible and easier for applicants.
What we continue to do…
Since the pandemic, we continue to adapt and do things online. We now use DocuSign to enable online acceptance of terms and conditions of funding. We have signed up to the following eight commitments around more risk-taking and open and transparent grantmaking.
Whilst our strategic priorities have not changed as a result of the pandemic we are particularly proud to have prioritised supporting people on the edges, and encouraging community innovation and voice, areas that are never more needed since the pandemic.
At the Foundation we encourage consultation with those who have lived experience of particular issues to ensure that our funds adequately support their needs, and to involve those with lived experience in the design and delivery of funding and programmes through participation in design making panels.
We have expanded the representation of our Grants and Impact Committee to include the BAME and LGTBQ+ communities.
In the future we want to continue with our flexible approach to grant making, and ensure that our funds are accessible to all, focussing our efforts on the issues and thematic areas that have been further exacerbated as a result of the pandemic
New funds we’ve developed since covid include a focus on mental health, housing and homelessness, supporting children to thrive, food and digital poverty, capacity building for people on the edges, support for carers and support for patients and families living with cancer.
Our learnings recognise…