Please click on the links below to garner insight into some of the actions we are taking on our EDI journey:
- Accessible Grant-Making
- Relational funding – We often refer to this as ‘grant-making by walking about’. Your grants journey with us can often start by speaking with a member of the team at a Lyon’s Den, funder fair or after submitting a proposal. Our team is accessible at every stage of the application process, charities can get in touch with a Grants Manager if they have concerns about their grant or ability to deliver it, and we will visit every grantee, to ensure we understand the context you are working in.
- Open and Trusted Grant-making Initiative – We are committed to IVAR’s Open and Trusting Grant-Making principles: Don’t waste time, ask relevant questions, accept risk, act with urgency, be open, enable flexibility, communicate with purpose and be proportionate.
Example: We regularly review application and reporting questions to ensure they are necessary, proportionate and easy to understand
- Core and Long-Term Funding – John Lyon’s Charity has always been committed to providing core and long-term funding, because we appreciate that it is necessary to enable grantees to keep the lights on and their doors open. In trusting them with core funding, it also enables them to remain flexible and responsive to both their service users’ and staff teams’ needs.
- Living Wage Funder – We recognize that salaries need to be fair, and proportionate so that people are able to live; particularly with soaring living costs. We are a London Living Wage (LLW) Funder, which means we will only fund salaries paid at least the LLW amount, which is reviewed every November.
- Responsive Funding – We are committed to respond to the all too frequent crises that have affected children, young people and the Charity sector. In recent years, this has included leading the CYP strand of the London Community Response Fund and Cost of Living Uplift (link) grants for all grantees with an income of under £1million.
- Accessibility – For support with our application process, you can speak with our team and/or reach out to your local, borough-based Young People’s Foundation. Our new website has been designed with accessibility in mind, however we are limited in how we can format our Grants Portal and application forms.
- Feedback – In addition to liaising with grantees daily, we explicitly request feedback on our applications, reporting forms and via our newsletter, and review all feedback to ensure they remain fit for purpose.
- Support for the Sector
We recognise that a strong sector does not build itself, and only by supporting the charities within it to share best practice, network and capacity build can we support it to remain so.
- Young People’s Foundations – Borough focused membership organisations for anyone wanting to support the local CYP sector. They capacity build the voluntary sector, advocate, provide meeting spaces, support consortia fundraising opportunities and, within our Beneficial Area, are core funded by the Charity so they never provide competition to their membership. Visit the YPF Trust to find out more.
- National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education (NRCSE) – A national membership body and a core partner of John Lyon’s Charity, the NRCSE was created to provide quality assurance, support and Ofsted-like accreditation for supplementary schools and education providers. Visit the NRCSE website here.
- Capacity Building – In addition to the above, John Lyon’s Charity offers capacity building grants and initiatives. Charity communications has been a particular focus, as this can so easily fall by the wayside in times of economic or service pressures, but can significantly influence organisation messaging, volunteer/staff/user recruitment and effective messaging to funders and other stakeholders. Small grants for non-statutory CPD are also available to capacity build grantees and can be used to access training, such as Mental Health First Aid. Find out about our current Capacity Building grants here.
- Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) – Young people with special educational needs and disabilities have always been a key focus of the Charity, and in 2021/22 represented £1million in funding. Ongoing initiatives such as Change of Perspectives and Stand up for SEND have worked to share best practice between arts organisations, music hubs and special schools; while encouraging other funders to accept the necessary higher investment in these young people’s lives. In 2023/24, there is a big focus to further highlight these best practices.
- Comms: A platform for our grantees – We see our Annual Report, newsletter and social media platforms as opportunities to showcase the work done by our grantees, highlight the challenges they and their service users are facing, and raise awareness. Links to our social media platforms are on our Contact Us page.
- Data and Transparency
We are working to improve our data collection and transparency, both as a grant-maker but also to encourage best practice in other trusts and foundations:
- 360Giving – Each year we publish our grantmaking data on 360Giving, which is available on the 360 GrantNav.
- Race Equality Audit – A member of the Funders for Race Equality Alliance, John Lyon’s Charity was one of the first members to complete the Race Equality Audit in September 2020. Our sample found that 62% of our grants predominantly support work with BAME communities by serendipity or design, accounting for 63% of our grant total; which is reflective of the make-up of our Beneficial Area. Find out more about the Race Equality Audit here.
The Charity has a long history of working with small, BAME-led grassroots organisations across the Beneficial Area, not least through the NRCSE (see Support for the Sector) and seven borough-specific supplementary school forums which work with hundreds of supplementary schools each year.
- Foundation Practice Rating – John Lyon’s Charity has become a funder in the second year of the Foundation Practice Rating. This is a rating, not a ranking, of 100 Foundations each year on their Diversity, Accountability and Transparency. This is based on a 90-minute audit – the time a typical applicant might spend looking at a funder’s website – of information that is publicly available. Crucially, because it is based on information in the public domain, there is no opting in or out for funders; it is about holding ourselves and our peers to account, similarly to how corporates often do. As a funding partner, we are rated every year.
- Foundation-Focused EDI
John Lyon’s Charity recognises that EDI is not solely about our externally facing work. Internally, in addition to funding the Foundation Practice Rating, we do the following:
- Responsible Investments – As a charitable trust and foundation, we recognise that our grant-making is only part of our influence and responsibility. Therefore, we have introduced an Ethical Investment Policy to ensure our investments match our own ethos. Find out more about our approach to responsible investments here.
- Events and Spaces – We are committed to ensuring that any event we hold is in a wheelchair-accessible space, and a central location for ease of transportation and access. Accessibility was key to our office move to 105 Strand.
- Staff Training – In addition to the informal learning of speaking with grantees and funders, and grantmaking by walking about; the Charity has started undertaking formal EDI training. Examples include Mental Health First Aid and Introduction to EDI training.
- A Five-Year Strategy – For the first time, EDI has explicitly featured in our five-year strategy for the Charity. This is represents the formalisation and more strategic approach to EDI that the Charity has taken over the past few years.
If you would like to discuss EDI at John Lyon’s Charity, or if you have any questions please get in touch with Debbie, EDI Lead and Grants Manager, at [email protected].