Sussex Community Foundation Unrestricted Funding Study
In 2016 Sussex Community Foundation commissioned IVAR to carry out a study exploring the value of unrestricted grants made to four organisations working with children and young people in Sussex. This was a new way of working for Sussex Community Foundation – bringing together unrestricted, larger grant-making and multi-year elements for the first time.
The initial impetus for this programme came from the Blagrave Trust, which has a strategic interest in unrestricted funding. Specifically, funders were interested in ‘looking to see how the grant would enable local organisations to make a significant step change in their ability to make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged children’.
The research highlights the range of ways organisations have used the funding to:
• Explore new ideas and plan for the future
• Working towards financial sustainability
• Strengthening organisational structure and systems
• Using research to improve services
The funding led to increased confidence, stronger networks and in some cases, an ability to influence the local environment. However, change was not without its challenges and organisations were faced with challenges around leadership, strategy and operations as they developed.