Coronavirus: New funding opportunities for JRCT grantees

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Coronavirus: New funding opportunities for JRCT grantees

14 May 2020

Coronavirus: New funding opportunities for JRCT grantees

Like other organisations, the trustees and staff of Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust have been working hard to adjust our ongoing operations in light of the Covid-19 crisis, as well as considering what else we can do to respond to the challenges of the current context.  


Actions up to now: March-April 2020

In the first phase of our response, we took some immediate steps:

  • We signed the London Funders’ statement, and made clear our aim of being a responsive, supportive, flexible funder.
  • In recognition of the huge impact of the crisis on our society, and of the vital importance of community-based responses, we made emergency grants of £100k each to the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland and the Two Ridings Foundation in York – two exceptional organisations working to support those at the coalface in the specific communities with whom the Trust is most connected.
  • We created a Covid-19 organisational support fund for existing grantees with smaller incomes, to assist with immediate costs of adapting to remote working. We have made more than 30 grants so far from this fund.
  • We adapted our current grant round to enable it to go ahead in the new context.
  • We spent a month listening to our grantees and other trusted sector partners, to better understand the difficulties being experienced and the types of support that might be helpful.

Our next phase of action: May – December 2020

In April, trustees held an extra board meeting to agree our grant-making strategy for the remaining months of 2020. In recognition of the magnitude of the crisis and its impacts, trustees agreed to draw down an additional sum of at least £5 million, to enable the expansion of our grant-making for the rest of this year.

We agreed that the money would be used to achieve the following purposes:

  • Stabilise: contribute to the ability of the organisations, communities and sectors we currently support to survive crises related to the challenges of Covid-19, so that you can continue to make a difference 
  • Sustain: contribute to the capacity of current grantees to adapt to the current context, by increasing their financial security, funding unforeseen costs related to adjusting existing programming or adding a new element to their work
  • Challenge: contribute to the costs of new initiatives which seek to challenge or influence responses to and narratives about the crisis through the lenses of rights, peace, climate justice or accountability
  • Envision: contribute to the costs of new initiatives which build support for systemic change in a post-Covid society, in line with our work themes and values.


New funding opportunities

In practice, this means that we have created the following range of new mechanisms through which we hope to be able to offer support:


Emergency grants: these can be offered to current grantees who are facing an immediate financial crisis precipitated by Covid-19, with the purpose of stabilizing organisations to withstand the crisis. Criteria for applying these awards is available on request. Please contact your Grants Officer if you would like to request an emergency grant.


12-month grant extensions: these will be offered to current grantees with ongoing projects, whose final grant payment from JRCT falls no earlier than April 2020 and no later than April 2021, with the purpose of sustaining organisations through additional financial security. Your Grants Officer will contact you in late May if you are eligible for a grant extension.


Grant increases for adaptation costs: these will be available to enable current grantees to meet costs associated with adapting activities to the new context, in order to sustain work.  The level of funding available will be determined in discussion with Trust staff. Please contact your Grants Officer if you would like to request an increase of this sort.


A Covid-19 initiatives fund, open to grantees and non-grantees, to support new initiatives rooted in the values of equity, rights, peace, climate justice and power and accountability that either a) challenge current responses to and narratives about the crisis, or b) build support for systemic change in a post-Covid society. We hope to launch this fund over the summer and will publish full details on our website.


Which opportunities can you access?

If you are a current grantee, please contact your Grants Officer to discuss how we can support you at this time. Please be aware that we are a small team, and like you, we are also grappling with all the challenges of working remotely. Each staff member has a large volume of grantees to liaise with. Let us know if your request is urgent; otherwise, please be patient if it takes us a little while to get back to you.


If you are not currently a grantee, please keep an eye on our website and Twitter account for information about the launch of our new funding opportunities.