Our second resolution is to expect as much from ourselves as we demand from those we fund. As a funder we ask for collaboration, and that grantees put people at the heart of what they do. Feedback from the sector consistently shows that funders are being asked to do the same.
We have funded organisations such as Sustainable Food Cities who work across sectors and use food to solve ill-health, food poverty, waste, climate change and biodiversity loss; and Wevolution who build self-reliant communities founded on trust, self-governance and collective endeavour. We have collaborated with collective groups such as the Green Alliance and the Social Enterprise UK, who are developing alternative inclusive, and progressive solutions for the environment, society and the economy. We want to make accessing funding easier, and so have supported 360Giving in their work with foundations to build a searchable online platform for all UK grants. We know that small and medium-sized charities face many difficulties, and have funded support organisations such as Small Charities Coalition, Reach Volunteering, and Locality’s Lifeboat Fund for anchor organisations in financial trouble. Our new funding stream focused on care leavers is a collaborative effort, with care leavers themselves at its core as decision makers for the choices and services that affect their lives.
As a funder we ask for collaboration, and that grantees put people at the heart of what they do.
Our third objective is to align all our organisational resources so as to increase the impact of the work we support through our funding. This includes our office space, our role as a shareholder, how we leverage our name and networks, where we spend our budget and our willingness to accept trial and error. It means developing new skills, and being more pro-active and visible through our new Meet Esmée events around the country. Our Grants Plus spending has increased substantially from £197,933 in 2015 to £324,116 in 2016, including helping organisations to use film as a communication mechanism.
But we know that we will achieve much more by working with others to do so, and our focus for 2017 will be on building partnerships for driving change. We look forward to working alongside you on that journey.