New Year, New Trustees - Emma Ackerman

At the end of 2020 the London Funders membership elected (and re-elected) five new trustees. This week we're sharing their views on lessons learnt from the covid-19 crisis, what a 'good' recovery looks like, and what is needed to ensure that funder collaborations are effective. Here are Emma Ackerman's (Funding Strategy Director, National Lottery Community Fund) thoughts...
Emma joined the National Lottery Community Fund in 2017 with over 20 years’ experience of working with children, families and communities across the education, public and charity sectors. Emma is responsible for ensuring that all grant making is of the highest standard and that the richness, reach and scale of funding enables people and communities to thrive across the UK. She also oversees innovation, improvement and foresight work to drive forward funding development and support the sector.

Welcome (back in some cases) to the London Funders board. What was it about the work of London Funders that made you want to get more involved?
London Funders has long been an invaluable place within which funders have come together to face London’s needs, challenges and opportunities together. Testimony to the trust and relationships that lie within, it has been heartening and enabling to see how as funders we have come together through the London Community Response. Now is the time to build on this level of collaboration and seize the momentum, I’m very excited to be part of that journey.

To be on our board, you have to be a London Funders member – over your time in our membership, how has London Funders influenced or supported your organisation?
Our membership has supported us to develop our thinking and strategy around some of the key issues that London faces. These include young people effected by violence, homelessness, safeguarding and loneliness. It has also helped us to align our funding with others, recognising where we can truly add value and make a difference. Partnering with London Funders, we have done more together for the capital’s communities during the crisis response throughout 2020. By working together, we can make the most of our shared networks, not just in these very tough times, but in small everyday ways that can make a real difference to people. For that reason the relationship as a member and partner is very special. 

Looking ahead to 2021, what ambitions do you have for your organisation and the work that you are doing to support communities?
We, as many, are in no doubt that it will take time for communities and the organisations that support them to transition out of the emergency and towards stability. So we are committed to being flexible, to keep learning and be adaptable in our funding approaches. We will do more than support organisations to survive and continue - we want to enable communities to thrive and grow. We will also continue to help people and communities most effected by covid, building on and strengthening the connections, organisation and resilience.  

And what ambitions do you hold for London Funders this year?
I am encouraged and hopeful that the bonds that tie funders together are stronger than they have ever been. It’s going to take all of us to address the complexity, diversity and impact on London communities post-covid, so we have work to do and can no doubt do that better together.

As we look towards recovery, what lessons will you take forward from the covid-19 crisis?
Amidst fragility there is also great strength in our communities. We must recognise loss but also celebrate the human spirit and coming together that we have seen in many neighbourhoods. We must also recognise that the after effects of the crisis will leave some far more disadvantaged and disenfranchised than before and so we must work all the harder to reach out and help repair.