Day 1

What Covid-19 has shown us
about the state of society, civil society
and foundations’ role and mission

Wednesday 25 November

On day 1 we enabled participants to stop and reflect on how foundations and civil society have responded since the pandemic struck, and the strategies and actions members have taken into the recovery period. It provided evidence, ideas and drew lessons from the pandemic about what has worked well and what needs to change in individual foundations, the foundation sector, and wider civil society.

For further information about our speakers click on their names.

Session 1: 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM
Welcome, Keynote, Plenary


Janet Morrison OBE, Chair, Association of Charitable Foundations

Keynote – Stronger Foundations: Reflect. Recover. Renew.

Carol Mack, Chief Executive, Association of Charitable Foundations

The state of the foundation sector after 2020 and the challenges ahead. ACF’s Chief Executive looked at how foundations have stepped up to the challenges of 2020 and how to draw on the excellent practice that exists in the sector that the Stronger Foundations programme has shown.

Plenary – What Covid-19 has shown about society and how funders should respond

Baroness Manningham-Buller LG DCB, Chair, Wellcome Trust

Wellcome’s outgoing chair offered us the view from a foundation working at the heart of how societies across the globe are dealing with the Covid-19 crisis. The keynote speech outlined how Wellcome has responded, how different societies and governments are managing the pandemic, and what the crisis shows us about the strengths and weaknesses of our society and the role that foundations play in it.

Coffee Break 10:50 AM – 10:55 AM

Check out our Official Partners

Session 2: 10:55 AM – 11:45 AM
Question time

Question time – Covid-19: Civil society lessons for the future

Sufina Ahmad MBEDirector, John Ellerman Foundation 
Yvonne Field, Executive Director, The Ubele Initiative
Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations 
Simon Parker, former Director of Strategy, Redbridge Borough Council 

Covid-19 has affected everyone but the effects of the pandemic – both direct and indirect – have impacted in different ways on diverse groups in society. This interactive session discussed how the impact has played out and how different actors have responded and the tensions it has revealed – centralisation or localism; Whitehall and devolved governments; communities of place and communities of identity. Participants and panellists drew out the lessons for how foundations can work together as they face an uncertain future.

Coffee Break 11:45 AM – 12:00 PM

Check out our Official Partners

Session 3: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Participant choice

Choice 1 – Workshop

Intentional Investing 2020

Kate Rogers, Co-Head of Charities and Head of Sustainability Policy, Cazenove Capital

It has been five years since the original ‘intentional investing’ research was published, considering how foundations can align their mission and their investments. The session looked at new research examining the current responsible investment practice in UK foundations. Intentional Investing 2020 shows that 77% of charity investors now have a responsible investment policy and highlights a huge increase in climate change and fossil fuel divestment policies across the sector. With guest speakers talking through their foundation’s policy, the session was interactive and designed to help participants share best practice.

Supported by Cazenove.

Choice 2 – Webinar

Collaborating in a crisis: case studies of foundation collaboration

Rob Abercrombie (Chair), Project lead, Funders’ Collaborative Hub
Clare Carter, Deputy CEO, The Access to Justice Foundation
John Dawson, Head of Social Investment Programmes, Power to Change
Jenny Field, Deputy Director, City Bridge Trust
Katie Le Quesne, Chair, Jersey Funders Group

While the context has changed dramatically for us all over the last 12 months, the pandemic has shown it’s more important than ever that foundations are ambitious and effective with all their resources. Whether it’s to maximise impact, avoid duplication of effort, reduce the burden on applicants and grantees, or share learning, thinking and acting collaboratively can be a key driver of stronger foundation practice.

Foundation collaboration can happen in a variety of ways. A pooled fund or implementing a common application or reporting process can be valuable. However collaboration – while it may involve these elements – is also a mindset that encompasses shared learning, and values contribution above attribution. In practice, it might be joining learning, sharing data, joining sector-wide initiatives or, if appropriate, aligning processes and practice.

This session heard from four current funder collaborations from across the UK and the Channel Islands, each of which is responding to the current complex and challenging context in different, innovative ways.

Lunch break 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Session 4: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Participant choice

Choice 1 – Webinar stream: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Diversifying our board: our journey and learning

Sarah Benioff, Director, Cripplegate Foundation and Islington Giving
Allyson Davies, Independent Consultant
Manny Wiafe, Trustee, Cripplegate Foundation

As a 500 year-old, place-based funder, Cripplegate Foundation had been talking about diversifying the board for some time, but just hadn’t done it. They embarked on the process just after the pandemic struck, and through a range of methods, managed to recruit eight (yes 8!) extraordinarily diverse local people to join their board as governors/trustees and advisors. The session covered their approach and the many lessons learned along the way. The session included an overview of why they embarked upon this now, how they generated interest across the local community and attracted a wide range of local people – the majority of whom had never been trustees before – and how they ran an inclusive and engaging process entirely by Zoom.

Followed by

What charities really think (of you) – what needs to change

Aanchal Clare, Trustee, Peter Minet Trust
Laura Solomons, Trustee, Peter Minet Trust

Aanchal Clare and Laura Solomons (Trustees at the Peter Minet Trust and full-time fundraisers at Versus Arthritis and The Sutton Trust respectively) reveal what charities really think of grant-making practices. They drew on their own experiences fundraising from trusts and foundations, and feedback from those raising funds from charities and causes of all shapes and sizes. The session covered the good, the bad and the turn-the-webcam-off ugly! The session also covered how research into different charity perspectives has helped shape Peter Minet Trust’s new strategy, and what change we feel is still needed in the foundation sector.

Choice 2 – Workshop

International funder response to Covid-19: Challenges and opportunities

Degan Ali, Executive Director, Adeso
Purity Kagwiria, Director, With and For Girls at Purposeful
James Logan, Director of European Office, Fund for Global Human Rights
Eva Rehse, Executive Director, Global Greengrants Fund UK
Klara Skrivankova, Grants Manager, Trust for London

In response to Covid-19, we have generally seen swift, decisive action from domestic trusts and foundations, providing flexible, responsive and coordinated funding across the UK. The international funder response has been slower and challenging, with some notable examples. Some have had to stop funding internationally to focus on Covid-19 response at home. This comes against the context of a shifting landscape for international funding, with dire consequences for civil society. What are the barriers for international funders to respond effectively to Covid-19, and what can we learn from each other for future recovery in this critical moment? This session highlighted good practice examples of international and UK grantmakers, and explored with NGO allies how international funders can respond to the challenges at hand.

Coffee Break 3:00 PM – 3:15 PM

Check out our Official Partners

Session 5: 3:15 PM – 4:00 PM
In conversation, Day 1 review

In conversation – 2020: Leading in a time of turmoil

Janet Morrison, Chair, Association of Charitable Foundations
Paul Ramsbottom OBE, Chief Executive, Wolfson Foundation
Danielle Walker Palmour,
Director, Friends Provident Foundation
Jo Wells,
Director, The Blagrave Trust

Foundations have been at the centre of the turmoil of 2020. As well as dealing with the impacts of Covid-19, they have also been facing up to criticism about their historic and contemporary role from movements who challenge where foundations’ assets have come from, and from critics who see philanthropy reinforcing present day inequality. This session heard from leaders of foundations about how they have responded and the ways in which they approach ensuring their organisations are ambitious and effective in a changing world.

Day 1 review

Carol Mack, Chief Executive, Association of Charitable Foundation

Break 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

Social 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Quiz, supported by CCLA

Quiz, supported by CCLA