Stories and Numbers
Our Impact is measured both through the groups that we fund – what difference do they make to the community and to the individuals that they help – and though our overall data – the number of groups we fund, and the funding we distribute.
We organise this information by the local authority area and the needs addressed. We are committed to making our grantmaking transparent, so we also provide information to organisations that help with this process – 360 Giving and the Funders Race Equality Alliance
However you would like to explore the data about our impact, you will find the links on this page
Funders for Race Equality Alliance (FREA) Data
The FREA racial justice audit, 2021-22, was BLCF’s second use of the audit and remains a key tool to help us deliver our commitment to address inequality as outlined in our new Strategic Plan Local Focus, Lasting Change Strategic Plan – Bedfordshire & Luton Community Foundation (blcf.org.uk)
2021-22 saw 15 organisations across the alliance complete the audit Audit Tool — Funders for Race Equality Alliance (frealliance.org.uk). The audit looks at and holds funders to account in their aims to address the levels of inequality experienced by global majority communities and those experiencing racial injustice across the funding sectors and helps them to see where barriers can be removed. These findings show the national average compared to the results of BLCF and will be used to help us shape our thinking going forward.
The 2021-22 report saw the toolkit applied, for the first time, to all our funding programmes across all of Bedfordshire. The resulting headlines showed how we continue to improve and deliver against our promise but also areas for improvement, development and change.
The headlines show that the percentage of grants awarded to groups whose mission and purpose is to work with a specific community experiencing racial inequality nationally was 42% and across BLCF 21%. The difference is a reflection on the range of charities we support and provides more in-depth analysis compared to our first year of data, which was based on a smaller sample of grants in one local authority area. We can do more to reach out and so through our Insight Network The Small Charities Forum – Beds & Luton Community Foundation (blcf.org.uk) we can bring groups together to share theirs and our data and knowledge around need.
As we dig further into this data, we see some promising results. As part of the FREA 21-22 audit, funders were asked to report on the leadership of the groups awarded funding to see where there is representative senior leadership and lived experience of issues facing the community. When we look at the percentage of grants awarded to groups where 75% of their Board and 50% of their senior staff are from groups experiencing racial inequality, we see a different picture. The national average is 28% and at BLCF this increases to 33%. The percentage of grants awarded to groups led by people who have experienced racial inequality shows a national average of 24% and at BLCF 33%. This is a very positive picture for BLCF and shows the results of the hard work we have done to develop processes to make our grantmaking more accessible, as well as enable fast-track applications from global majority groups, simplifying processes and our ongoing offer of 1-2-1 support to groups when developing their applications. Most exciting is the data we see which reports on percentage of grants awarded to groups led by people who have lived experience of the communities they support. Here the national average is 2% and BLCF 32%. This is a fantastic effort by the BLCF team and has been achieved through the close working with groups across projects to develop ongoing relationships, supporting dynamic community leadership and organisational growth and excellence.
The real challenge continues to be the short-term nature of funding. Our impact through grants on groups working to address root causes or symptoms of racial inequality show nationally 61% of grants support that work and only 25% in BLCF. This is almost certainly due to the fact we remain a short-term funder, and often fund interventions rather than long-term projects that would address this as a priority. We will continue to advocate for groups to create more opportunities for longer term funding, which in turn will strengthen the impact in this area in the future.
BLCF are pleased to see the results of our work over the last year and will use the findings to do more, not only within communities experiencing racial inequality, but start to look at communities experiencing other areas of inequality such as those from LGBTQ+ and disabled communities, to see what can learn from this and what improvements we can make.