OCF statement in response to #CharitySoWhite’s calls for funders to ensure equitable distribution during Covid-19

Oxfordshire Community Foundation recognises that the coronavirus pandemic is having a disproportionate effect on communities that were already disadvantaged – in particular the BAME community. We care deeply about structural inequalities and tackling them is why we exist. The grants we have made will help disadvantaged people throughout Oxfordshire, including many from BAME communities.

In our emergency response to the crisis, we very rapidly focused our activities on preventing charities from failing, targeting small, grassroots organisations and reaching out beyond our existing networks. We have relaxed our grant application criteria in order to make it easier for a diverse range of organisations to receive funding quickly. Our sole focus at this time is to hear from communities on the ground to understand what they are facing and how we can help them.

We therefore commit to urgently seeking out new relationships with partners that can help us make more proportionate and equitable funding decisions, both in relation to the coronavirus response and beyond.

We will also build on existing relationships such as those established through our Community Friendship grants. This initiative aimed to forge greater social capital for Oxfordshire’s BAME communities by funding projects where two or more organisations with different beneficiary groups work together towards a shared goal – building genuine relationships that would stand the test of time. Some of these projects are now developing into coronavirus responses that we are also supporting – for example, the East Oxford Covid-19 Fund, led by our long-time collaborator Imam Monawar Hussain.

For clarity, Oxfordshire Community Foundation’s remit is for the whole county of Oxfordshire. The BAME population of the county is 9%. (Source: Office of National Statistics, Census 2011).