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briefing paper

Covid-19: The story told by 72 emergency funding applications

June 2020

Ben Cairns, Emily Dyson, Miranda Lewis


A Foundation gave us access to 72 funding applications made to their Covid-19 response fund in May 2020. This data provides rich insight into the challenges faced by the voluntary sector as organisations navigate their way through crisis and into recovery and renewal.


The applications were presented to the Foundation Board for approval; a prior sifting process had reduced the number from 445. A total of £2,272,121 was awarded to 71 organisations, with income ranging from £25,000 – £1 million. 14 of the grants related to project costs, with the significant majority being for core costs. The organisations work in a range of fields, including homelessness, criminal justice, mental health and migration. They are largely based in England, with two from Wales.

The application data offers a powerful snapshot of the reality faced by charities during the Covid-19 crisis. Six key themes in particular stand out:


  1. Charities are seeing a significant increase in demand for services
  2. Pressure on finances comes from lots of different directions
  3. The funding crisis is both long and short term
  4. Being organisationally robust has not protected these organisations
  5. The role of CEOs/Directors is critical but vulnerable
  6. This is a story of extraordinary resilience and adaptation

Read more about the challenges VCSE leaders face during Covid-19.


(The story told by 72 funding applications - IVAR briefing - June 2020 FINAL)

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