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What do you mean by core funding?

November 2017


We asked six funders to share what core funding means to them. Here’s what they told us: 



Gilly Green
Head of UK Grants, Comic Relief


‘Core funding is investing in organisations which align with our mission, and trusting them to know what they need at any given time – supporting anything from paying the heat and the light and volunteer expenses to freeing up time for strategic development or governance review. 

The key to core funding is addressing a need defined and shaped by the organisation rather than by the criteria of funders. We ask the question ‘what’s keeping you awake at night and how can core funding help you sleep better?’






Duncan Shrubsole
Director of Policy, Partnerships and Communications, Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales

‘Core funding is about enabling a charity to do its work in the way it knows best.

It means us helping the charity to meet the costs related to their day to day running, such as rent, utilities and the costs of essential central staff such as the CEO, administrators and volunteer managers. Crucially it enables the charity to be more than a selection of projects but have some central capacity to drive their own strategic direction. At Lloyds Bank Foundation supporting core costs is just the start, we also help charities to develop their organisational capabilities to be able to thrive not just survive. And we want to be as light touch as possible in how we monitor a grant in terms of how our money is used.’






Kristina Glenn
Director, Cripplegate Foundation


‘My question would be, why wouldn’t you provide core funding?


We invest in organisations that change lives. We want organisations to thrive and develop. Core funding, whether that is used to pay the bills, salaries or contributes to reserves strengthens organisations. The needs of organisations change. Core funding offers flexibility and lets organisations identify their needs and priorities.’






Gina Crane
Communications and Learning Manager, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation


‘We believe that how we fund is as important as what we fund.

We aim to offer unrestricted, core funding to organisations so that they, and not their funders, control how it is spent. In a time of contracting and competition, charities need flexible funding if they are to improve the way they work. Long-term, core funding enables organisations to plan, take risks, change tack, experiment, learn and change.’





Christopher Graves
Director, The Tudor Trust


‘We want to help organisations focus on the needs of beneficiaries, and that means giving them flexibility to adapt imaginatively to changing circumstances.

Our Trustees want to build open and straightforward relationships with the organisations we support. So when we core fund an organisation, it’s because we trust the judgement of the people involved and our aim is to free them to do what they do best.’





Pears Foundation

‘For us, core funding is about building relationships of trust and respect with our Partners. 

It empowers them to decide how best the funds should be spent, and enables us to have a deeper conversation with them about their organisation’s true challenges and priorities.’

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