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Need funding? The Fore has got you covered

Words by Abi Scaife

Finding funding isn't easy, particularly for grassroots charities. At Smiley News we don't just love championing charities, we like to signpost places for them to get the help that they need and deserve!

The Fore is a not-for-profit venture philanthropy fund supporting exceptional small charities and social enterprises. Even better, they have just opened up applications for their round of summer funding - small charities, we're looking at you!

According to The Fore: up to three local organisations will each be offered a grant of £30,000, plus access to a pro bono network of over 2,000+ professionals, skills training, peer to peer networks and impact measurement support. The programme is open to Charities, Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs), Community Interest Companies (CICs), and Community Benefit Societies (CBSs) based in the North West of England and Cornwall.

You'll find how to apply at the bottom of the page - in the meantime, we caught up with Mary Rose Gunn, Founder and CEO of The Fore to find out why she loves supporting our charities so much.

Why are grassroots charities so important to the UK?

Grassroots charities know the communities they work in better than anyone and often have incredibly cost-effective solutions to some extremely complex problems.  Social entrepreneurs often have lived experience of the issues they are trying to solve, and therefore have a genuine understanding of what needs to be done to drive positive change. Top-down government, corporate or large charity interventions on their own won’t work.  To make positive social change in modern society, we must make sure change can also be driven from the bottom-up 

Why do you think these charities are struggling for funds at the moment?

The UK is now in a recession and the cost of living has made it extremely challenging for charities to access the resources they need to continue to operate at current levels.  This is exacerbating the already existing problem that small charities have faced declining public funding over the past 20 years, with funding heavily weighted to larger charities - the largest 8% of charities in the UK absorb 92% of philanthropic funding.  And this is despite 92% of the 168,000 charities in the UK being “small” – or turnover of under £500,000.

What inspired The Fore to help support grassroots charities like this?

Talking to small charities about what they really need… Small charities have amazing solutions to some of our most complex problems as a society but they face so many barriers when accessing support.  There is almost no seed funding out there for charities and social enterprises.  This gap means it is very difficult for new ideas to scale.   This is a huge missed opportunity because if the best of these solutions can be scaled the potential to create social change is huge.

At The Fore we are addressing this gap by turbo-charging exceptional small charities and social enterprises transforming lives and society.  We do this by providing a wraparound package of unrestricted, multi-year grant-funding (up to £30,000), training, skilled volunteers, peer-to-peer networks and impact measurement support. We source the funding and skills the charities need to thrive, from Corporates, Trusts & Foundations and individuals who want to back high-impact, high-potential small charities.

How can we help smaller charities to thrive?

By making sure small charities have access to more unrestricted funding and skills support.  We have over 12 years’ experience backing exceptional small charities with a highly effective wrap-around package of unrestricted funding and skills support and we can prove it works – our portfolio of over 500 charities are now doubling their incomes in three years. 

How to apply

Register interest in applying for the 2024 funding round on this page from 12pm on Thursday 28th March until 12pm on Thursday 4th April. Grant decisions to be announced in July. To take an eligibility test, visit Who we fund - The Fore

Charity check-in 

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.

Aquarius Charity. This is a Midlands-based charity helping people and communities overcome the harms caused by alcohol, drugs and gambling. Find out more.

Unlock. This is an independent charity for people with convictions who are dealing with the effects of having a criminal record. Learn more here.

Maggie’s. Offers free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and the people important to them. Find out more here.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnerships for the Goals.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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