SYCF statement on Covid-19 Funding support for BAME communities

Over the past 12 weeks it has become increasingly clear that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. The reasons for this are complex, but include long-standing inequalities and structural injustice.

The National Emergencies Trust (NET) and UK Community Foundations, as a grant distribution partner, have recently come under some scrutiny regarding how this issue is being handled through the NET Emergency Coronavirus Appeal. It has been highlighted that extra efforts must be made to ensure enough funding and resource is going to the BAME voluntary sector and communities, so those worst affected are getting all the help they need.

As a Community Foundation and a local funder, we recognise that we hold a position of responsibility within South Yorkshire to ensure that this happens. As a grant maker dedicated to funding community organisations engaged in improving local lives, we are committed to supporting all parts of our communities fairly and equally.

South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation wants to ensure that:

  • No part of our community or any organisation should ever believe that we have excluded them from the support they need or deserve, or think that we will not fund them because they are BAME or are a part of any similarly marginalized community (e.g. refugees, asylum seekers, homeless people, young people, people not in employment, education or training, LGBT+ people and people with disabilities).
  • Every community organisation that comes to SYCF for grant funding or support should feel welcomed, supported, respected and valued.
  • Over the years SYCF and our Social Inclusion Group has taken steps to ensure our processes are fair and equal, internally and externally, reflected in our Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy. But we can do more.
  • We have a responsibility to be a leader in creating positive change in our local charity sector and the charity sector as a whole. Therefore, we have committed to the following actions to support BAME and other similarly marginalised communities, who are affected by Covid-19 right now and to improve our processes and practices over the longer term:
  • BAME community organisations affected by the Covid-19 crisis may already apply for grants of up to £5,000
  • We will continue to step up our efforts to publicise the funding we have available, which will include specific webinars for BAME and similarly marginalised community organisations, explaining the application process and offering additional support.
  • An audit of our Covid-19 Response grants to date, using a tool developed by the Funders for Race Equality Alliance, has already been carried out. This identified that, so far, over 19% of our funding has supported BAME communities, of which about 12% has gone directly to BAME-community organisations. Further audits of our funding will be conducted at regular intervals.
  • We will continue to keep our recruitment policies for Trustees, staff and Grant Panels under regular review and work to ensure that the people who make decisions in South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation reflect the diverse South Yorkshire communities which we aim to serve.
  • We will seek to work with partners to resource and improve the infrastructure support for BAME and similarly marginalised community organisations across South Yorkshire.
  • As we move from the Response Phase into the Recovery and Resilience Phase, we will continue to prioritise BAME and similarly marginalised communities, alongside older people, people with underlying health conditions, and others, who have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meet Ruth

Ruth was appointed as Chief Executive in 2013 and is responsible for the day-to-day leadership, development and growth of the Foundation. She is an experienced leader and manager in both local government and the voluntary, community and enterprise sectors. Her working days are Monday to Friday.

Ruth E Willis

Chief Executive

Ruth E Willis's LinkedIn page
Ruth E Willis