Our Rapid Response Fund has raised and distributed nearly £5 million to 88 UK churches and charities within 100 days of COVID-19 lockdown – aiding grass-root response to individuals and communities in need.
Hosting a webinar with senior charity leaders on 27 March, our Chief Executive Stewart McCulloch highlighted the grass-root need to reach isolated and disadvantaged people affected by COVID-19 and heard a sincere desire on the part of donors to help charities and churches who could make a real difference immediately.
“Stewardship was uniquely placed to launch and manage this fund really fast. This is due to our highly-established network of givers, charities and churches,” said Stewart.
“Churches and charities were having to adapt rapidly to a fast-changing scene, often furloughing staff, asking staff to work from home, creating new ways of communicating with supporters and users.
“They needed help urgently to meet rapidly growing needs and so to provide practical help in an unprecedented situation.”
We approached our major donors and around 50 amazingly generous Christians contributed to what finally totalled £4.85 million for distribution.*
Grants of between £10,000 and £250,000 were made to those charities who could demonstrate they would deliver an immediate impact. Those assisted include grantees providing vital support to badly affected BAME communities, domestic violence victims, the bereaved, those suffering with mental health issues, ex-offenders, vulnerable young people, those suffering from addictions, and the relief of food poverty. This clearly shows how the Church has risen to the aid of all in need across our nation!
Our Philanthropy Services Team raised the funds, assessed the grant applications, and distributed funds in record time. Our expert in-house research and grant-making team assessed each application, and in many cases, provided free additional expert coaching to help organisations seek additional funding.
Nicola Johnson, our Chief Philanthropy Officer, added: “The Fund was unique in the pace that we were able to help Christian charities provide urgent help on the ground and, enable Christian charities to make their ministries available to a wider audience. The Fund assisted major organisations like Alpha, Evangelical Alliance and Christians against Poverty, as well as many smaller high-impact charities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“Many Christian events were cancelled and churches closed; yet people desperately wanted access to gospel hope. The fund stepped up - a grant to Spring Harvest enabled them to make their Easter 2020 festival available online, providing 1.4 million views of 200,000 hours of Christian teaching and content.”
The fund is now closed and we are currently exploring what a follow-up Rapid Response Fund might look like – watch this space!
For further information, contact us at [email protected]
*The direct giving was £3.8 million. Matched-funding, gifts in kind and gifts directly prompted by the campaign totalled £4.8 million.