Backbone Fund – Strengthening the voluntary sector

Published: 28 September 2020 
Young woman in a burgundy headscarf smiles as she gives high fives to her classmates at a Campaign Bootcamp graduation event outdoors.
Campaign Bootcamp. Photo credit: Sophie Yates Lu

Today we announced grants totalling £1.4 million to support civil society. The Foundation has made a five-year commitment to seven organisations in the latest round of the Backbone Fund. 

The Fund is unrestricted and enables key organisations to resource their core services, helping to build resilience within the sectors that we support.

Part of a wider response to back civil society and its leaders, the Backbone Fund – now in its fourth year – enables key organisations to plan strategically for the long term. This commitment and investment is more important than ever to support the voluntary sector’s response to the impact of Covid-19.

The following seven organisations are vital advocates, connectors and collaborators that stand up for their communities and strengthen civil society through their efforts:

The Backbone Fund was conceived to underpin the key infrastructure that supports the wider civil society eco-system. We have seen previous recipients go from strength to strength and we understand the impact they have. This year, more than ever before, our five-year commitment will enable these seven selected organisations to support their communities of leaders, providing the training, advocacy and networks to enable them to step up and speak out as they face immense challenges.”

Moira Sinclair, Chief Executive, Paul Hamlyn Foundation 

ACEVO CEO Vicky Browning said: This funding will allow us to continue to support our sector’s leaders in delivering their organisations’ vital missions at this particularly challenging time. And because it’s multi-year, core funding, PHF is walking the talk of good funding practice. This type of funding provides stability, which is particularly welcome in such volatile circumstances. It lets organisations focus on what they’re good at, and also allows for flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances and opportunities.”

Emma Harrison, Chief Executive, IMIX said: This grant will enable us to build upon our work of drawing audiences into the human faces behind complex and divisive issues, highlighting positive contributions and local welcome. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic people from refugee and migrant backgrounds have been at the heart of the community response in both a voluntary and professional capacity; IMIX believes there is huge potential to draw on this hopeful narrative to further alter the public’s perceptions of those who migrate, and this grant will play an important role in helping IMIX to place these stories front and centre of a tough digital and news agenda.”

Nathalie McDermott, Founder and Chief Executive of On Road Media commented: It is long term narrative change that creates better conditions for good policy decisions, and kinder, more understanding treatment of each other in our daily lives, and we can only achieve this if we work together. We are delighted to be awarded this Backbone grant from Paul Hamlyn Foundation, so that we can continue to support campaigners with lived experience and sector organisations to move away from case studies, and towards supporting people with direct experience to lead on paid, supported and strategic media work that influences popular culture.”

The Fund is by invitation only.

Find out more about the Backbone Fund and view a list of all previous Backbone Fund recipients in our grants database.