ACF report shows foundations rising to challenge of Covid

13 April 2021

Foundations are rising to the challenge in response to increased demand caused by coronavirus 

Today, ACF releases a new report based on a survey with ACF members in March – ‘Rising to the Challenge: Charitable foundations’ responses to coronavirus and their forecast for the future’.

9 out of 10 expect to maintain or increase grant funding for civil society in 2021, but many predict financial turbulence. ACF received responses from 80 foundations across the UK, with balanced representation from small, medium and large grant-making charities.

The full report is here:

The main findings are that:

  • Nearly all foundations are planning to maintain or increase spending on grants to civil society organisations in 2021 (86%), even though 40% are expecting a negative impact on their own finances.
  • Many plan to maintain or return to their usual funding programmes or areas of focus in 2021, but apply a ‘coronavirus lens’ to their work or offer additional support particular groups that have been most affected.
  • Half plan to create or renew coronavirus-specific funding programmes this year, while more than 8 out of 10 stated an ongoing commitment to increased flexibility for grantees and reduced administration for funding applicants.
  • Nearly all respondents (96%) said they changed their work in 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic – including new grant programmes, increased funding, closer collaboration with other funders and overhauls to how they assess applicants.
  • 45% plan to maintain their 2020 level of grant spending in 2021, and 41% plan to increase it, but many were uncertain about the longer term.
  • Two thirds say they will work differently in 2021 because of the ongoing impact of the pandemic, with nearly half of this group intending to do so throughout the year, and the same number saying they thought this would extend beyond 2021.