Backbone Fund – £2 million to backbone’ organisations in civil society

Published: 29 February 2024 
Three people talk to one another at a Systemic Justice workshop held in collaboration with Le Next Level.
Systemic Justice. Photo credit: Le Next Level

We are delighted to announce 9 new grants totalling £2 million, made through the latest round of the Backbone Fund.

This is the seventh year of the invitation-only fund, which looks to support organisations who are advocates, connectors and networks working to shape a more equitable future.

Each grant runs for five years and gives core funding. The following nine organisations have received grants in this latest round of the Backbone Fund.

The Fund focuses on supporting organisations whose work strengthens civil society as a whole. Many carry out key infrastructure functions – like capacity building, policy and advocacy, influencing, networking and research. Some of those funded are making for a more transparent voluntary sector, while others are imagining new ways for us to tackle racial and economic injustice. By providing shared services and networks, they bring organisations and communities together and strengthen their collective voice and impact. This blog outlines the changes we’ve made to the Backbone Fund.

Each of these nine organisations has compelling ideas about how they can contribute to a shared vision of a socially just future. We hope the Backbone Fund’s renewed focus on building a wider ecology of infrastructure organisations will help to drive greater equity across civil society and more widely.”

Moira Sinclair, Chief Executive, Paul Hamlyn Foundation 

Tania Cohen, Chief Executive, 360Giving, said: 360Giving is delighted to have been awarded this grant. Long-term flexible funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation supports us to be able to be dynamic to respond to needs and maximise our outcomes. Our support from Paul Hamlyn Foundation in recent years has already allowed us to adapt our plans to meet the needs of the sector and increase our impact. This new grant will support us to build on these achievements. With continued challenging times ahead for charities, data to support informed decision-making will be crucial for grant-making to be as effective and strategic as possible.”

Pippa Goodfellow, Chief Executive of the Alliance for Youth Justice said: The AYJ is extremely grateful to Paul Hamlyn Foundation for choosing to support our work through the Backbone Fund. In recent years, with the support from the Youth Fund, through a truly collaborative effort we have we have undertaken a transformative programme of work to create a more sustainable and effective organisation – with a strategic review and rebrand, improving operations and governance, diversifying and strengthening our networks and partnerships, and working alongside children and young people. We will now build on and develop this work through our bold strategic ambition to reimagine justice’ for children and young people by amplifying their voices, strengthening our membership, and developing evidence-based solutions to drive positive change in future systems, services and support.”

Timi Okuwa, CEO of Black Equity Organisation said: With gratitude, the Black Equity Organisation extends a warm welcome to Paul Hamlyn Foundation for their generous support. Their commitment to fostering equity resonates deeply with our mission, and their funding will enable us to tackle the systemic racism that continues in this country. Together, we will work towards a more just and inclusive future, ensuring that Black communities across the UK have better lived experiences every day. We appreciate Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s 5 year commitment to standing with us on this journey towards true equality and empowerment.”

Maurice Frankel, Director of the Campaign for Freedom of Information: This grant is a great boost to the Campaign for Freedom of Information’s work and provides much needed stability. It will allow us to strengthen the operation of the Freedom of Information Act and help more people to use it to challenge unjustified secrecy, reveal whether public authorities are doing enough about problems and hold government to account.”

Stephanie Brobbey, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Good Ancestor Movement, said: I am absolutely delighted that the Good Ancestor Movement has been selected as a recipient of Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Backbone Fund. The award comes at a time of significant transition for the Good Ancestor Movement, having spent over two years movement building, narrative shaping, developing strategic interventions relating to private capital, and testing a variety of modalities that serve the practice of regenerative wealth stewardship. In particular, the Backbone Fund award will enable us to realise our aspirations of becoming an organisation that truly embodies the regenerative economy through our organisational design and development, as we seek to accelerate the just transition to a regenerative economy through our practice.”

Gillian Katungi, Executive Director, Kinfolk Network, said: We are so grateful to receive this core long term contribution, thank you to PHF for supporting the vision! This funding is a huge deal for us and will contribute to making our work sustainable. Since 2018 KIN have successfully enabled Black activists to strengthen their relationships with one another, collaborate, strategise and find spaces of joy, solidarity and, of course, kinship. By facilitating and nurturing relationships of critical connection, we believe we can strengthen movements for collective liberation, influence political action and policy in a way that actualises liberation for all – through systems and cultural change. Whilst we know that KIN and our communities can do the most with the least, we also know that this impacts wellbeing and relationships. This Backbone funding will crucially enable us to continue working towards our goals of engaging and resourcing Black activists who are further marginalised by their various intersecting identities, developing a sustainable organisation (rooted in collectivism, solidarity and care) and contribute to the wider archive of Black activism. Gratitude!”

Paul Delaney, Co-Executive Director, Positive Money, said: We’re delighted to have received a Backbone Fund grant from Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Positive Money has been supported by PHF for several years and we’re really pleased to be deepening our relationship with the Foundation. Our work aligns very closely with the Foundation’s vision of a more just and equitable society, and we look forward to working together over the next five years.”

Cat Tully, Managing Director, School of International Futures, said: Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Backbone Fund enables SOIF to deepen our engagement in shaping participatory futures. This grant strengthens our commitment to amplifying youth voices and ensuring intergenerational input plays a central role in the societal transformation we are working towards.”

Together, this funding allows us to continue building movements that empower every generation to contribute to positive change. We are grateful to visionary funders like Paul Hamlyn Foundation for their crucial role in enabling organisations like ours to innovate and support others. Their recognition and support are invaluable.”

We work with communities to use the courts on their own terms in their fight for liberation, reparation, and justice. Deep, systemic change takes time. The Backbone Fund’s support acknowledges that and supports us in making the long-term commitment our partners need.”

Nani Jansen Reventlow, Founder, Systemic Justice