Free webinar: What next for funders - the 2021-22 response to Covid-19
18 May 2021

In our May webinar, we explored the question of ‘what next’ in the UK’s grant funding landscape – we’ve been asked this a lot, particularly in the context of following the Covid emergency funding programmes of last year. We were joined by three excellent guest speakers to discuss this topic: Faiza Khan MBE, Max Rutherford and Sufina Ahmad MBE (their biogs are below).

00:00:00 Introduction from Alex Blake, including signposting to our Trust Fundraising Scorecard, our upcoming sector research report and our evaluation training programme (just 2 places left), as well as IVAR’s initiatives offering peer to peer support for charity leaders and to influence improvements in grantmaking practice.
00:09:33 Max Rutherford shares data and insights from Association of Charitable Foundations’ (ACF) recent member survey and their Stronger Foundations diagnostic tool. Max covers funders’ responses to Covid-19 and their forecast for the future:

• 86% of charitable foundations expect to maintain or increase grant funding for civil society in 2021

• 40% are expecting a negative impact on their own finances

• 80% stated an ongoing commitment to increased flexibility for grantees and reduced administration for funding applicant

• 65% say they will work differently in 2021 because of the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

Max also shared the work funders are doing in their commitment on climate change, including how they use their endowment funds as well as their grantmaking; and on diversity, equity and inclusion, for example strengthening diversity in governance, enhancing funding operations through a DEI lens and engaging in advocacy, learning and collaboration.

Max's slides are available to download here.
00:20:42 Sufina Ahmad speaks about her personal reflections of leading John Ellerman Foundation since January 2020 as well as reflections on what this period has meant for the grant making sector, and what might come next.

Sufina’s insightful and inspiring talk covers some of the big issues for grantmakers around power, transparency and inequity; and how the response to Covid-19 has improved grantmaking practice, increased focus on diversity, equity and inclusion and re-energised the art of the possible.

Some initiatives that Sufina referenced include:

Resourcing Racial Justice

Baobab Foundation

Grant Advisor


10 Years Time.
00:33:15 Sufina shared four leadership capabilities:

1. Sense-making: understanding context of organisations and being committed to learning continuously and challenge ourselves to test principles and move outside of existing frameworks and norms.

2. Relating: building trusting relationships across our organisations and the sector, understanding other people’s perspectives with less judgement; creating safe spaces for people to share their views.

3. Visioning: how do we imagine a vision for the future that responds to the crises we face.

4. Inventing: how will we develop new ways to achieve the vision.
00:39:28 Faiza Khan shared with us the scale of the National Lottery Community Fund and how they have responded to Covid-19 through supporting their staff, grantees and getting additional funding out to charities during the pandemic. This response included collaborating in an eco-system with other funders, investing in sense making through their UK portfolio to understand the situation.

Resources that Faiza mentioned were:

• Lloyds Bank Foundations report on the Value of Small

• The Fund’s Community Research Index where they asked 7,000 members of the public about how well charity and voluntary initiatives were responding to local needs.

Voices from the Pandemic.

Faiza also spoke about providing hyper local support at scale and learning to aim to come out of the pandemic stronger, fairer, greener, shaking off some of the long standing characteristics that may be causing unintended barriers; and ended with two points – how important it is to hold on to stability for those communities that are well served by organizations and also experiment and test and innovate.
01:00:07 We then had some really good questions and responses for the last half an hour of the event.

A resource mentioned during the Q&A is an article on reserves by Caron Bradshaw of the Charity Finance Group.

Guest Speakers

Max Rutherford, Head of Policy, Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF)

Max provides strategic insight, policy intelligence and programme leadership, and enables collaboration and engagement between ACF members. This includes leading the Association of Charitable Foundations’ 'Stronger Foundations' initiative, the largest foundation engagement and change programme globally to date. Max previously led the high-impact Transition to Adulthood Alliance (T2A) campaign for Barrow Cadbury Trust. Max’s current roles include: Member of the Charities SORP (Statement of Recommended Practice) Committee; Member of the DAFNE (Donors’ and Foundations’ Network in Europe) Legal Affairs Committee; and Trustee of Revolving Doors Agency - a national research and policy charity.

You can find Max on Twitter and Linkedin.

Sufina Ahmad MBE, Director, John Ellerman Foundation As Director of the John Ellerman Foundation, Sufina works closely with trustees, staff and stakeholders, including grantees, to ensure all aspects of the Foundation’s strategy, governance and grantmaking work is delivered effectively.

Before joining the Foundation, Sufina worked in corporate strategy and performance at the City of London Corporation. She has also worked for the National Lottery Community Fund and City Bridge Trust in grantmaking, strategy and policy roles. Sufina started her career in service delivery and business development roles for charities working with adults with learning disabilities and older people.

Sufina holds trusteeships with Just for Kids Law, We Belong, The Charterhouse and the Association of Charitable Foundations. Sufina is an honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, having chaired their Expert Panel on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. She is also an RSA fellow. Sufina was awarded an MBE for charitable services in 2020.

You can find Sufina on Twitter and Linkedin. You can also view updates from the team at John Ellerman Foundation and find out more about applying for funding here.

Faiza Khan MBE, Engagement and Insight Director, National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) Faiza leads NLCF’s activities across communications, engagement and knowledge and learning. She was previously Director of Policy and Communications at Paul Hamlyn Foundation and before that led a national citizen engagement programme, working with NHS England to bolster citizen voice through a process of deliberative democracy. Faiza has led one of the largest networks of voluntary youth charities as Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Policy and Communications at the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services, working with charities, communities and Government Departments to support better outcomes for children and young people. She has been a Trustee for End Child Poverty and has supported many not-for-profit organisations during her career to date. In 2014, Faiza received an MBE for services to young people.

You can find Faiza on Twitter and Linkedin.

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