Next year we’ll focus our grant-making on projects we currently fund. This means we will not open again for applications for new work until 2024.
Below Alex Sutton, director of grants, sets out the context for our plans for 2023 and how we made this difficult decision.
We’ve been reflecting on the past year and thinking about the one ahead. The last few years we’ve seen a number of once in a generation events. This year we faced a cost-of-living crisis that pushed more people into poverty than at any time in a century. Like others we wanted to act quickly and we gave out an extra £2.5m in emergency funding to organisations across the city, including to London Community Foundation’s Together for London fund.
What’s now clear is that we won’t be able to support the scale of work we would in a normal year. We’ve had to decide whether to fund more new projects that align with our ending strategy, or to focus support on organisations with existing work funded by us. As context, we have 120 organisations with grants due to end in 2023 with a total value of over £11m.
We know charity staff are exhausted, responding to one crisis after another. And we know the current challenges are likely to be around for a while. Holding on to valuable staff is harder than ever, and if funding is uncertain there is a real risk people will be forced out of work. This is why we think continuing to support much of our existing funded projects is so important.
The other reason we have made this decision is that, submitting an application to a funder takes valuable time. Inviting applications for new work would end up with us rejecting a great many. When resources in charities are already so stretched, we don’t want to waste people’s time.
For these reasons, in 2023 we will focus on continuation funding for current grants due to end next year.
This means we will not be open to applications for new work until we launch our new strategy in 2024.
This hasn’t been an easy decision, but we feel it will prevent excess stress and competition for a small pool of funding, and allow organisations to focus their energies where they have the best chance of success. It will mean we can give stability and reassurance to the many organisations we already fund. And it will allow organisations to hold onto staff providing essential services.
We’ll be updating organisations we currently fund with grants due to end next year more soon. And we look forward to sharing updates on our new strategy 2024-29 planning, including more information on how you’ll be able to input into the process and share ideas.