Alex Sutton and Klara Skrivankova, our joint directors of grants, share an update on what we’ve been working on over the past six months, and where we’ll be focusing our energy ahead of launching our new strategy in spring 2024.
Every five years we review our strategy to make sure we continue to focus our limited resources on the most impactful ways to address poverty and inequality in London. Our last strategy covered the period 2018-2022 and gave us a good foundation to build from. We’ve learned a lot from the organisations we fund about the key drivers of poverty in London including inequalities in the housing, social security, work and migration systems.
We’ve changed a lot over the last few years. A new senior leadership team is in place, we have a new chair for our board of trustees, and a new, more efficient grants database has prompted us to review our grant making processes. The current strategy review offered us an opportunity to refresh our organisational values and think about our longer-term vision for London.
Since April our grants managers have spoken to over 140 experts drawn from organisations we fund, think tanks, peer funders, trade unions, and local and regional government. We’re sincerely thankful to everyone who has shared their lived, learned and practice experience of the issues we seek to address during this time. Based on these conversations and our own experience and analysis, we’ve set out long-term visions and 2030 goals for several potential areas of work such as housing, migration, social mobility, policing and welfare.
Our vision statements currently cover a broad expanse of work. From wanting all workers in London to enjoy decent pay and conditions; ensuring we have an immigration system that is humane and where destitution is not an inevitable consequence of policy; to a housing system that is sustainable and equitable, allowing all Londoners on low incomes to live in secure, high-quality, affordable homes close to work, school or family.
At this stage our visions and goals cover a huge breadth of work, beyond the resources we have available. Over the rest of the year we’ll be working with our trustees to prioritise where we’re best placed to make impact. We’ll also be thinking about our approach to grant making and grant management during this time, to ensure how we give out funding best sets up our partners to succeed and be impactful in their work.
We’re sincerely thankful to everyone who has shared their lived, learned and practice experience of the issues we seek to address during this time.
Our experience and feedback from organisations we work with tell us it’s best to focus our energy and resources on a narrower field of work, rather than spreading ourselves too thin. This will mean some tough decisions, but it will help our grants team to build a thorough understanding and expertise in the areas we focus on and will mean we can work more deeply with funded organisations to collectively achieve change. We’ll also continue to think about how we support different communities particularly impacted by poverty and inequality, while also working to address the common and shared causes of poverty. Our current approach of both addressing immediate harms and also seeking to achieve longer-term change won’t change.
There are two areas where we do have absolute certainty on our next strategy - we remain committed to our work on racial justice and disability justice. We expect to share a further update of where we land in early 2024, ahead of launching our new strategy in spring.