After piloting the Ambition programme, which was intended to explore more substantial support to leading charities, OCF has developed the idea based on feedback. We are now committed to operating a small number of strategic programmes to research priority causes, engage key stakeholders and fund solutions.
In 2017, OCF launched a pilot grants programme called Ambition, alongside which we held a series of clinics throughout the summer months, bringing together around 30 different charities to understand their proposals for spending larger amounts of funding and working collaboratively.
Feedback was that these clinics provided a great opportunity for charities working on similar themes to share ideas and come up with more holistic, collaborative solutions to the problems individuals face. Charity leaders appreciated OCF taking on a role as a respected convenor, mediating conversations.
However, what became apparent was that there was a real opportunity for OCF to adopt a much more proactive position on the causes, based on research evidence about which issues should be priorities for Oxfordshire. This is why we have now moved information about the Ambition programme out of the grants section of our website. We hope that this will enable us to work more closely with individual organisations, helping them think beyond simply accessing funds to exploring opportunities that could bring about real systemic and sustainable change.
Going forward, OCF will seek to convene not just charitable organisations but also the public sector, and over time the private sector, to articulate a community-wide response to a small number of priority issues in selected locations throughout Oxfordshire. This could take the form of small meetings, focused workshop sessions, public meetings, and targeted communications and fundraising campaigns with clear objectives.
Crucially, OCF does not see itself as having all the answers to the priority issues. The first steps of the convening process will be to build consensus and share best practice, proposing proven, sustainable solutions to social problems, and using the advice of those in the know, whether they represent the charitable, public or private sector. We will also research and consider replication of any approaches or experience that might be relevant and already adopted in other areas beyond Oxfordshire.
Over the next few months, we will be clearly defining our ambitions; and specifying which types of initiative we believe should benefit from collective investment by OCF’s donors, other trusts and foundations, and public and private institutions with the means and will to help.
We will commit to sharing our understanding and knowledge as it develops, as well as ensuring everyone has an opportunity to engage with us in identifying the preventative, long-term solutions that will deliver genuine impact.
In the meantime, our other grants programmes offer funding of up to £50,000, with three different application routes depending on the size and complexity of your project/work. The next closing dates are:
- Small and Vital (up to £1,500): 25th April 2018
- #iwill youth social action (£1,000 to £5,000): 11th April 2018
- Step Change Fund (£10,000 to £50,000): 6th April 2018