We have a responsibility to act – we can’t not do this
The thoughts from one of our members when asked whether we should continue to collaborate as funders to support London’s civil society through recovery, renewal and beyond – views that have been echoed through our learning reviews, focus group discussions, and feedback from members and community groups across sectors, across communities, and across London.
It’s been 20 months since 400 funders signed our “We Stand With The Sector” statement committing to working differently to support civil society, and 19 months since the first of over 3,300 grants (eventually totalling over £57.7m) were given out by the 67 funders in the London Community Response partnership.
Our work through the pandemic was driven by our learning from funder collaborations responding to the Grenfell Tower fire, the Manchester Arena bombing and the Borough Market attack in 2017, captured in “The Possible Not The Perfect” we commissioned from IVAR. We’ve been able to build on this learning through covid-19, with four learning reports on collaborating for the future, and our Festival of Learning, that brought together nearly 1,000 participants to look at learning from the pandemic response and what this could mean for the future.
All this learning has shown us that it's clear that collaboration at pace and scale is possible. The challenges London faces – from systemic inequalities to the climate crisis – require the same innovative and bold action displayed by funders during the pandemic.
To help us explore how our shared learning from crisis can be applied to funder collaboration for longer-term/recovery, we’ve been able to use the feedback and insights from our members and civil society to inform some focus group discussions with a cross-section of our members and our equity partners, which has led to the development of proposals for collaborative action for recovery.
Our proposal for the future is captured in our partnership statement:
We love our city and our communities, but we know that we continue to face issues of poverty, inequality and injustice that stand in the way of us all achieving our potential. We want to see a fairer, greener and safer future for our communities, and know that we have a responsibility to act.
We are committed to working together with funders and partners from across sectors through London Funders to develop collaborative funding programmes that invest in London’s communities for the long-term, supporting the recovery and renewal of civil society beyond covid-19.
We will work together to be bold, acting collaboratively on issues that are bigger than any one organisation or sector, experimenting and taking risks so that we can solve problems and deliver impact at scale. We’ll work to share power, to prioritise equity and justice, and to be accountable to each other and the communities we serve.
We know the future is uncertain, but by coming together to build trust and understanding on issues, we can tackle root causes not just symptoms, and be flexible and responsive to changing challenges and opportunities so that people across London’s communities can live better lives.
This statement is supported by an initial group of organisations from across sectors: Bloomberg LP, City Bridge Trust, the Greater London Authority, John Lyon’s Charity, London Community Foundation, London Councils, London Funders, Macquarie and Trust for London.
Building from this statement we’ve developed a proposal for what Collaborative Action for Recovery could look like, and are looking forward to continuing to work with our members, and partners from across London, to turn these ideas into action. If you want to join us on this journey towards future funder collaboration then please get in touch. We look forward to working with you so that people across London’s communities can live better lives.