Christian charity Stewardship has raised almost £5m in 100 days for UK churches and charities.
The money was raised and distributed to 88 UK churches and charities within 100 days of Covid-19 lockdown, aiding grass-root response to individuals and communities in need.
A webinar with senior charity leaders on 27 March saw Chief Executive Stewart McCulloch highlight the grass-root need to reach isolated and disadvantaged people affected by Covid-19 and heard that donors wanted to help charities and churches who could make a real difference immediately. In response, Stewardship then approached its major donors with around 50 Christians also contributing to the final total of £4.85 million. This comprised £3.18m in direct giving, with matched funding, gifts in kind and gifts directly prompted by the campaign accounting for the rest.
Stewardship then made grants of between £10,000 and £250,000 to charities able to demonstrate they would deliver an immediate impact. They included grantees providing vital support to badly affected BAME communities, domestic violence victims, the bereaved, those suffering with mental health issues, as well as charities working with ex-offenders, vulnerable young people, addiction, and food poverty.
Stewardship’s Philanthropy Services Team was responsible for raising the funds, assessing the grant applications, and distributing the money, while its in-house research and grant-making team also assessed each application, and in many cases, provided free additional expert coaching to help organisations seek additional funding.
Mr McCulloch said:
“Stewardship was uniquely placed to launch and manage this fund really fast. This is due to our highly-established network of givers, charities and churches.”
“Churches and charities were having to adapt rapidly to a fast-changing scene, often furloughing staff, asking staff to work from home, creating new ways of communicating with supporters and users. They needed help urgently to meet rapidly growing needs and so to provide practical help in an unprecedented situation.”
Nicola Johnson, Chief Philanthropy Officer, added:
“The Fund was unique in the pace that we were able to help Christian charities provide urgent help on the ground and, enable Christian charities to make their ministries available to a wider audience. The Fund assisted major organisations like Alpha, Evangelical Alliance and Christians against Poverty, as well as many smaller high-impact charities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“Many Christian events were cancelled and churches closed; yet people desperately wanted access to gospel hope. The fund stepped up – a grant to Spring Harvest enabled them to make their Easter 2020 festival available online, providing 1.4 million views of 200,000 hours of Christian teaching and content.”
The fund is now closed and Stewardship is exploring what a follow-up Rapid Response Fund might look like.
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