Strategy in the UK
The Foundation is interested in funding organisations that support communities or groups which are considered vulnerable. This could be due to a physical characteristic e.g. disability or through experiencing social exclusion e.g. refugees and asylum seekers. The Foundation recognises that there are many people in society who are disadvantaged due to a lack of access to rights, resources and opportunities, usually as a consequence of systemic failings. This can result in exposure to a range of possible harms and inadequate support to address them.
The Foundation is open to providing both core and project funding. Staff work closely with our partners to ascertain their needs. Our typical grant size is between £30,000 and £40,000 (though will occasionally provide larger grants to trusted partners). The Foundation tends to award one or two-year grants to new partners but favours multi-year funding (typically 3 years) after that. The Foundation will also provide renewal funding to grantees when a strong partnership is developed, the organisation still meets the Foundation's granting criteria and the Foundation believes that the organisation is well run and impactful.
The Foundation is open to supporting a wide range of issues. Currently, most UK grants fall into the following categories:
Refugees, Asylum Seekers and other Migrants
The Foundation has a diverse portfolio in this sector, with a particular interest in improving access to justice and funding activities which bring about wider systemic change e.g. through policy work, strategic litigation or judicial reviews.
Promoting Access to Justice
This Foundation is exploring how it can improve access to justice for vulnerable groups by piloting alternative legal access models, with an emphasis on evaluation and shared learning.
Preventing Violence and Abuse
The Foundation is particularly interested in ensuring that members of vulnerable communities can access the support needed to prevent and overcome violence against them. This includes supporting organisations providing specialist services for minoritised communities e.g. those experiencing illegal cultural harms. We are also interested in increasing access to legal support for people experiencing abuse or violence so that they can defend their rights.
Other Social Issues
The Foundation also support organisations which are exploring innovative approaches to tackling other social challenges. Historically and at present, this includes supporting organisations working with people experiencing homelessness, initiatives encouraging social tolerance and work in the fields of palliative care, disability, young people at risk and criminal justice.
Organisation Size and Structure
SBSCF provides grants which have the potential to be transformative as we believe that this approach amplifies the potential impact of our grantees. The Foundation is particularly interested in:
Societal transformation: Rather than supporting pure service delivery, the Foundation is interested in approaches which have the potential to transform society, or which can have a significant impact on a vulnerable community. This may include the following:
1. Systemic change: Challenging the status quo, shifting public attitudes or creating systemic change that improves the lives of many e.g. through strategic litigation, improved processes or policy/practice change.
2. Pump priming/organisational development: The Foundation is interested in supporting small, new organisations, particularly those who address an unmet need or support an underserved demographic and/or that take a novel approach to solving a known social challenge. The Foundation is especially interested in organisations which have the potential to scale their activities and deepen their impact. It is advantageous if they have plans to contribute towards systemic change in the future. If they meet these criteria, our funding can help grantees to develop their organisation e.g. expand to a new location, diversify and increase their income, monitor and evaluate their work more effectively or increase their ability to influence the sector.
3. Piloting new ideas: The Foundation will also support medium-sized and even larger organisations if they are testing new approaches which have the potential to transform the lives of vulnerable people and create broader societal change. We’re especially interested in initiatives which could be scaled or replicated or have the potential for shared learning. We focus on supporting social innovations that address a well-defined and unmet need.
ORGANISATIONAL SIZE AND STRUCTURE
The Foundation ordinarily supports grantees with a budget of below £1 million per annum, often significantly less. We will also consider grants to larger organisations for a specific, very well-defined programme that would not be undertaken without our granting. Most of the Foundation's grantees are registered charities, but they don’t need to be. However, the Foundation would expect their work to achieve charitable objectives and for an organisation to be a not-for-profit, community interest group or social enterprise.
Confident in the leadership’s ability to deliver
Have a clear vision and strategy (although leeway on this for start-ups/newer organisations)
Proven successes (although leeway on this for start-ups/newer organisations)
The Foundation believes it is important for organisations to show an openness to sharing learning beyond their small networks. The Foundation encourages grantees to speak openly about both their successes and failures to encourage reflection, learning and collaboration. It is hoped that this will support the replication or adaptation of promising ideas and approaches or help others avoid approaches which have been shown to be less effective.
In addition to the essential criteria above, the Foundation looks favourably towards organisations which:
Have an adventurous approach. The Foundation is willing to take risks through testing transformative ideas/social innovations
Are open to meaningful partnerships
Are less likely to be funded by others or address a need that isn’t addressed by many others
The charity staff, leadership and board are reflective of, or can demonstrate a deep understanding of the community/communities they serve
Have a unique selling point
Are willing to continue an initiative beyond our funding and ideally, are willing to contribute towards a project’s costs at the onset (for large organisations only)
WE DO NOT FUND
Large organisations where the Foundation does not believe a grant will significantly transform the organisation, except for specific programmes which address a need or sectoral gap that the Foundation has identified
Organisations which only provide services (we sometimes make exceptions when ‘pump priming’)
Organisations with unjustifiably large reserves