NAFS | Flexible Funder Awards

Nominated by arts and cultural fundraisers across the UK, NAFS has created a shortlist of funders who have responded most flexibly to the third sector funding crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This award recognises funders who are working hard to react & support the charities and organisations who have been worst hit, by re-purposing funding, extending or abolishing deadlines and managing rapid turnarounds of simplified application processes to get the money where its needed, faster

We received almost 20 fantastic nominations. And we weren’t just looking at the big funders – there are so many smaller funders who are doing incredible work. Statutory funders were not forgotten either: Arts Council England, Arts Council Wales & National Lottery Heritage Fund – have all been recognised for speed, redirecting of funds, and also no deadlines. Of course, none of this means that if you’re not on the winner list you’re not a brilliant funder too! Our shortlist is focused on private trusts & foundations.

Drum roll for the NAFS five Fabulous Flexible Funder winners- in alphabetical order:

  • Esmee Fairbairn Foundation: for giving out £14m worth of grants to the 540 organisations they support – no questions asked, no applications.
  • John Ellerman Foundation: for “sticking to their guns” – knowing what they want to fund, and continuing their amazing practice, providing continuity and clarity in an uncertain time.
  • Paul Hamlyn Foundation: for the speed at which they responded, communicated and supported grant holders, and contributing £500k towards the National Emergencies Trust.
  • Scottish Third Sector Resilience Fund: delivered by three funders Firstport, Social Investment Scotland and Corra Foundation – for having the quickest turnaround we have ever heard of on an application; from conversation with applicant and money in the back account within 7 working days!
  • Wolfson Foundation: for their act of solidarity, their powerful statements about continuing to give grants, and signing of £7m worth of rapid response funding to grantees.

All the successful awardees will receive a glamourous award in recognition.

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