On April 1st 2020, The Fore launched its response to the coronavirus crisis: RAFT (Rapid Action by The Fore and Trusts). Offering a combination of urgently-needed funding and pro bono support, RAFT provided a lifeline to hundreds of small charities and social enterprises thrown into crisis by COVID-19. RAFT has consisted of three elements: from April-July 2020 the RAFT Immediate Response Fund, from July to December the RAFT Transition Fund and the RAFT Directory connecting small charities with skilled volunteer support. You can find out more about the impact of RAFT below.
From January 2021, The Fore has returned to it’s core model of support offering grants of up to £30,000 through its standard tri-annual funding rounds. See Charities/Applying for Funding for more details.
RAFT is dedicated to the memory of Richard Q (Tigger) Hoare who died on 24th March 2020. Richard was the inspirational founder of The Fore’s parent charity, The Bulldog Trust and a venture philanthropist before his time.
RAFT Immediate Response Fund
Average grant size
Days between the start of lockdown and the first grants being awarded
RAFT Immediate Response Fund
The RAFT Immediate Response Fund (now closed) was the first funding phase and offered short-term, unrestricted grants of £5,000 to help organisations weather the crisis and continue to meet the changing needs of their beneficiaries. The first emergency funding was allocated to The Fore’s existing grantees on April 9th, and the fund opened for applications from other small charitable organisations on April 22nd, receiving 500 applications in a matter of days. The first grants were awarded within 15 days.
Grantees of the RAFT Immediate Response Fund primarily used their funding in four ways:
- To adapt their services to meet changing beneficiary needs (for example, setting up a new programme for people experiencing increased stress or isolation)
- To build capacity for increased needs after the acute phase of the crisis has passed (for example, growing or upskilling the staff team in expectation of increased demand)
- To provide immediate services to vulnerable groups (for example, switching the organisation’s work to providing food to the hungry or urgent psychological support for those in distress)
- To switch existing programmes to remote delivery (for example, by purchasing equipment or software for working virtually).
“A Lifeline to the Sector” The Impact of RAFT Immediate Response Fund – please find the full impact report for the RAFT Immediate Response Fund here.
To view all grants made by the RAFT Immediate Response Fund (published using the 360 Giving Standard), click here.
RAFT Transition Fund
The RAFT Transition Fund was the second funding phase of RAFT. As lock-down restrictions were eased in the summer of 2020, the transition fund offered unrestricted grants of up to £15,000 to help high-impact small charities and social enterprises recover from the crisis, move toward becoming sustainable, and adjust to a world living with coronavirus. Two rounds of funding were run – more details on the fund and successful grantees are available here.
The RAFT Directory offered an online resource where small charities and social enterprises could request pro bono support from skilled volunteers from some of the UK’s most prestigious firms. These volunteers provided vital help with strategy, financial forecasting, law, HR, communications and IT, which enabled organisations to successfully navigate the new challenges posed by the pandemic.
More than 230 charitable organisations have made use of the RAFT Directory, of which 81 have been successfully introduced to over 100 skilled volunteers so far. The Directory has now been rolled into The Fore’s broader skilled volunteering network – please find more opportunities to share skills here.
The Fore’s RAFT Funds are collaborative funds made possible by the generous partnership of over 20 different funders, some of whom wish to remain anonymous. We are extremely grateful for the continued support of all our partners.
The Lovington Foundation
Garfield Weston Foundation
Four Acre Trust
Golden Bottle Trust
Henry Oldfield Trust
LGT Vestra and its clients and employees
Michael and Sarah Spencer Foundation
The Bulldog Trust
Tribe Impact Capital
The Fore would also like to thank its regular funders – BlackRock, Moody’s, Rothschild & Co., Postcode Local Trust and Power to Change – for agreeing to redirect their previously committed funding to support the RAFT Fund.