They say it takes a village to raise a child, well this past year has shown it will take a city to tackle youth violence. London remains a comparatively safe, gloriously diverse and welcoming city. But its disparities are showing, and growing, and young lives are being tragically wasted. So, can a city come together? Our partnership with the Evening Standard through the Dispossessed Fund’s Save London Lives initiative is showing what is possible. So far, a collective response from government, corporate and individual philanthropy has come together to help build a resilient grassroots response to youth violence. At the time of this report, over £2.1 million has been raised and with it, a defiant belief in how communities, and young people, must sit at the heart of the solution.
The diversity of The London Community Foundation’s (LCF) supporter base is one of the most uplifting features of our work. Public funds, corporate and private philanthropy all proudly demonstrating an unwavering belief in what small charities and community groups can do for communities. This year we will have committed over £9.5 million in grants, thanks to the people and organisations who support our work. But, as the statistics and stories from organisations here tell, their essence and survival are under threat. Met by increasing – and increasingly complex – need, the capital’s grassroots organisations are facing relentless competition for funding, at a time when giving to London-serving charities is falling. And a dearth of long-term funding to support even the basics, like salaries, rent … just keeping the lights on. This Annual Review coincides with the launch of Voices from the Frontline, our largest engagement survey of London’s grassroots in five years. You can read more of its key insights in the following pages.
You can’t build trust and change fragile lives by just surviving hand to mouth, year in year out as a community group or small charity. And so, at LCF, we will raise the bar in championing the need for long-term philanthropy for the organisations whose ambition is not to replicate, diversify or scale, but to go deeper into the communities they serve and be the anchor for the people who need their support the most. As the team here at LCF knows, we are surrounded by incredible examples of community groups, the impact stars working just on your doorstep. You may not be using their services, but your neighbourhood would be lost without them.
Money alone does not change lives. But the stories here show that by combining funds with local knowledge, deeply-earned trust and a belief that things can change, incredible things do happen.
Kate Markey, Chief Executive, The London Community Foundation
The London Community Foundation exists to help build strong and connected communities.
We do this by inspiring London’s generosity to invest in small charities and community groups. To date we have raised over £100 million to support London’s grassroots organisations.
As a result of funding we received from LCF, we started working with new organisations and have gone on to win further funding from others to work with them.
Understanding the needs of the grassroots organisations we invest in and helping our supporters increase their philanthropic impact is important to us. So, over the last year, we have undertaken work to review our grant making to ensure it is as impactful and supportive as possible.
In November 2018, we commissioned the largest survey in LCF’s recent history and spoke with organisations in our network through focus groups. We received 201 responses to the survey (an almost 12% response rate) and 35 participants took part in focus groups.
"LCF gave us our first opportunity. We may not be in existence without them.”
“We were able to pilot new things, which shows the funder believes in us”
The 5 most frequent words used to describe LCF were:
We asked survey respondents to indicate what they thought London’s most pressing issues were over the next five years. The below chart indicates the percentage of respondents who ranked each issue in their top three.
Full-time equivalent paid staff (FTE)
These findings help shine a light on what it means to be a grassroots organisation operating in London right now and will feed in to how we can continue to improve our service to groups and our supporters.
Over the next 12 months, we will continue to evidence the compelling and intimate role grassroots organisations play in London by exploring these findings further in a blog series, Voices from the Frontline.
LCF’s model is really important to the sector and we don’t know anyone else like it.
To mark our fifth anniversary, the Wimbledon Foundation has launched a new fund for the homeless. A Roof For All offers flexible core-funding to help local homelessness organisations develop strategic approaches to address this growing social issue over the next three years. We believe local voluntary organisations are best placed and have the expertise and commitment required to meet the complex social needs associated with homelessness.
Grassroots community organisations provide vital services to many Londoners and are frequently the frontline in tackling some of the most difficult issues the city faces, yet they are also often over stretched, under resourced and gain limited recognition. By providing funding and capacity building support, we've seen the tremendous impact that can be achieved. Working with grassroots organisations is an investment in London's future.
We enjoy working with LCF to support London's grassroots charities through the Cattermull Legacy Fund. We're now delighted to be able to increase the impact of our giving by pooling our grants with those of other donors through the Thrive in London Fund, giving together to help tackle homelessness and unemployment by supporting local charities that we believe are best placed to address these issues.
I would like to thank all our donors and partners who have worked with us over the last year to help build stronger communities across the capital by supporting grassroots London.
We are privileged to work with supporters who recognise the vital role locally embedded organisations and charities play in their communities and who understand the challenges they face every day. Together, we ensure funds are directed to where they are needed most.
Francis Salway, Chair
The London Community Foundation is a trusted partner with a track record of delivering grants on behalf of a range of corporate, individual and public sector donors. From youth violence, to unemployment and from isolation, to homelessness, we work with our donors to reach under-the-radar local organisations they can support. We use our expertise and insight, as a grant maker – as well as our access to community leaders and policymakers – to help inform our philanthropic advice to London’s donors.
We provide professional fund management and grant-making services, providing donors with financial and impact reporting.
Registered charity number 1091263
Company limited by guarantee number 438326
The London Community Foundation, Unit 1.04 Piano House, 9 Brighton Terrace, London, SW9 8DJ
Photography: Colum O’Dwyer
Design: Clear Honest Design