Through consultation we ensure our grant-making genuinely meets the needs of local communities. In advance of our community integration grants round next month, we conducted a survey and workshop to listen to frontline organisations working with disadvantaged people.
OCF has run regular grants rounds with the aim of improving community integration since 2017, thanks to the contributions of a small cohort of philanthropists interested in this issue. We have seen community integration as broadly bringing together people from different backgrounds, who would not normally mix, to work on something together for their mutual benefit.
Modern grant-making best practice is encouraging funders to take a more participatory approach – bringing in the voices of the communities that are affected by the issues and that would benefit from the funding to help shape decisions around where funding should go. As a step in a more inclusive direction, OCF conducted a brief survey and ran a consultative workshop in April 2022, with the aim of better defining good community integration, and understanding what the needs and opportunities are in Oxfordshire.
What is a community? How big is the area it covers? And what are the divisions or problems that show it is not integrated or cohesive (eg intolerance, lack of understanding)? How do we build bridges or break down barriers? These are the issues that were explored with a view to designing a grants programme that would make a real difference.
In total, 113 local charitable organisations took part. The outcomes of the survey and the consultative workshop can now be found in our summary report.
The report gives considerations for the OCF grants team to take into account when devising the Terms of Reference and application criteria for the community integration grants round, which is planned to open on Wednesday 11th May and close on Tuesday 7th June 2022. We will publish details of the criteria on our grants page in the coming weeks.
OCF would like to thank everyone who took part in our survey and workshop to help shape our approach to community integration grants. We know that the time and expertise of people working and volunteering in the local charitable sector is extremely valuable, and we hugely appreciate your participation.
OCF will continue to consult the sector on future grant priorities and needs.