Social enterprises and COVID-19: Grants, loans and other funding
[LAST UPDATED: 15/05/20] Below is a list of funding we've heard of that may be able to help social enterprises and other social sector organisations throughout the Covid-19 pandemic – either those directly tackling its effects, or those working in unrelated fields but needing temporary support to continue delivering their services. Note: while we do our best to provide accurate information, we are not able to verify every entry or to update them as soon as information changes.
- Action Against Corona (Sweden) is offering startups or projects from around the world that are tackling the virus up to €1m. Read more here.
- Entrepreneur and investor Sam Altman is looking to fund startups or projects directly helping with COVID-19.
- Aspen Tech Policy Hub is accepting applications from technologists (US citizens/residents only) for projects that will help mitigate the effects of Covid-19, with winning teams allotted up to $15,000. Deadline 30 March.
- Bumble is offering small business owners "in a tough position due to COVID-19" up to $5,000 cash. Requests accepted until 5 April and awardees announced within 30 days from then.
- IBM's Call for Code challenge is seeking tech solutions to Covid-19. Deadline 31 July.
- The COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs, a coalition of 40 global names supporting a total of 15,000 social entrepreneurs and aiming to raise further funding, was announced on 4 May. Read more here.
- Facebook is offering $100m in cash grants and advertising credits for up to 30,000 small businesses (in 30+ countries) that are facing disruptions due to the virus.
- The Gadfly Project has in-kind web hosting grants for small businesses and nonprofits experiencing hardships and revenue losses due to Covid-19. Deadline: 1 June 2020.
- The GlobalGiving Coronavirus Relief Fund is aiming to raise $4m, and offering micro grants of $1,000 to nonprofits (existing users of the platform) that have been affected – apply here.
- HSBC is giving $25m total to relief and recovery efforts around the world, including a $2m donation to charities coordinating the international response.
- Internet Society Foundation (ISOC)'s Emergency Response Grant programme has grants of $250,000 to $500,000 for registered nonprofits working on projects that use the Internet to improve lives during, or in response to, an emergency situation. Deadline 17 May 2020.
- Met Life Foundation has pledged $25m to short- and long-term relief efforts, with a first round of grants supporting: emergency food, childcare, and healthcare needs, as well as direct financial assistance.
- MIT SOLVE is seeking solutions for prevention, accurate detection, and rapid response of outbreaks. Selected solutions get a $10,000 grant. Deadline 18 June.
- Netflix has set up a $100m fund to help the creative community, including “third parties and nonprofits offering emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast in countries where Netflix has a big production base.”
- Open Road Alliance, a US-based fund that specialises in making short-term bridge loans to social enterprises in difficulty, is offering four loan products to organisations tackling the virus: lost event revenue, accelerating incoming emergency funds, co-investment and 'deep impact loans'.
- Open Society Foundations will give more than $130m to combat the effects of COVID-19 worldwide, with a focus on immediate relief for vulnerable communities and pushing back against government encroachment on political freedoms. It includes $3.5m for southern Africa, through the Open Society Foundation for South Africa and the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa.
- Telcoms group Orange has set up a €8m crisis fund in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, to support healthcare and preventive initiatives, and to provide essential supplies. Includes a €200,000 fund to support crisis initiatives in Europe.
- Partech, one of the world’s largest seed investors, has announced a new $100m fund to invest in seed-stage startups working in ‘post-COVID trend areas’ of health, work, commerce, finance, mobility and computing, across Europe, Asia and the US.
- Peace First has a round of Rapid Response Grants for young people aged 13-25 worldwide, wanting to lead projects that address community impacts of COVID-19.
- Pears Foundation is increasing its expenditure this financial year by 50%, up to approximately £30m, and all its new funding for 2020 will be allocated to support core costs, apart from to fulfil existing capital or project commitments, or where linked directly to Covid-19 impact alleviation.
- Freelancing platform PeoplePerHour is offering small businesses £10m worth of credits to hire one of its 2.4 million freelancers.
- PFAN's Covid-19 Clinic is offering customised in-kind support for climate entrepreneurs.
- The Pollination Project has small grants for volunteer community projects that address needs for water, sanitation, and hygiene, community & emotional resilience, and virtualisation of existing grassroots projects. It does not fund projects with “well established funding sources”, or those that have paid staff.
- Skoll Foundation is quadrupling its grantmaking from $51.8m last year to $200m in 2020. Nearly all new grants will address the public health, economic, and social effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The $500m Transform Fund (from the Islamic Development Bank), has seed funding for innovations focused on supporting the bank's member countries to prepare and respond to Covid-19. Submissions until 1 June.
- Twilio.org has a $2m grant fund for organisations helping people in acute crisis through hotline and helpline services. Up to $150,000 can be requested. Deadline 5 June.
- Visa Foundation has committed $210m total to support small and micro businesses. The first $10m is for immediate emergency relief to support charitable organisations responding to Covid-19 in North America; Latin America and the Caribbean; Europe; Asia Pacific; and Central Europe, Middle East and Africa. This will be followed by $200m to support small and micro businesses around the world, with a focus on women.
- The WeFunder accelerator is looking for startups with bright ideas to tackle any area that's affected by coronavirus, with $50,000 in immediate funding and help to raise up to $1m. Deadline 3 April.
- A $5m grant from Google’s philanthropic arm is enabling Youth Business International to support 200,000 micro, small and medium-sized businesses in 32 countries with crisis helplines, training and mentoring, plus expertise from Google employees.
- The Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University has created CovidCap.com, a database of grants, loans and other cash available to entrepreneurs everywhere.
- This list of 250+ startups offering free resources right now.
- The Coronavirus Tech Handbook is a crowd-sourced library for technologists, civic organisations, public and private institutions, researchers, and specialists of all kinds working on responses to the pandemic. There's a section on funding.
- US-based social enterprises should check SOCAP's list of resources.
- Emerging market fund manager Alquity Investment Management has committed to donating 40% of its fund management fees from new investments to charity partners for the rest of the year, projected to help 40,000 people in the developing world. (It normally donates 10% of fee revenues to its Transforming Lives Foundation.)
- Enygma Ventures has launched Shift Fund, a US$1m fund to support African startups, entrepreneurs and innovators with “innovative solutions” for the post-pandemic world. There’s a focus on gender inclusion/equality.
- FINCA International has created the FINCA Emergency Response Fund to provide emergency relief to low-income communities and bridge support to early-stage social enterprises in its countries of operation.
- GSMA's Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion has equity-free grants of £100,000-£250,000. Sub-Saharan Africa or Asia only. Deadline 22 May.
- The King Baudouin Foundation United States is launching Emergency Response Funds for several African countries – pooling contributions and distributing them to local nonprofits working on the frontlines.
- The Lion's Share COVID-19 Response Resilience in Wildlife Community Small Grants has grants of $20,000-$50,000 for nonprofits in developing countries looking to catalyse community or local-level action to protect severely threatened ecosystems or wildlife. Deadline 15 May.
- Omidyar Network India has committed $1.4m towards initiatives focussed on the ‘next half billion’. NGOs, research organisations, and for-profit businesses, registered in India can apply for work in the fields of tech, community outreach, economic resilience, research, and more. Applications accepted on a rolling basis.
- Asset manager ResponsAbility is looking to raise $1bn for an emergency liquidity facility to support MSMEs in developing countries. Read the concept note here.
- Start Network has created the Start Fund, to anticipate and respond to critical virus-related humanitarian needs in low-income countries. IKEA Foundation has given the first $1.5m.
- Impact investor Vital Capital has created the Vital Impact Relief Facility for social impact businesses in sub-Saharan Africa. Starting with an initial $10m it will issue around 10 loans of approximately $1m each for up to four years. Read more here.
- The European Commision has unlocked €8bn to allow the European Investment Fund to issue special guarantees, to incentivise banks and other lenders to provide liquidity to at least 100,000 European SMEs and others hit by the economic impact of the pandemic.
- The #EUvsVirus Hackathon will take place on 24-26 April and address around 20 coronavirus challenges, to be quickly developed and deployed across the EU Single Market. It follows similar hackathons held in Estonia and Germany in March.
- Corona Funding has been set up to support social startups and SMEs in the UK, Denmark or Germany, that are otherwise healthy but in danger of running out of capital over the coming 3-6 months.
- The European Social Catalyst Fund, which aims to bring together public and private resources to improve social services, has extended its deadline due to Covid-19 to 11 September. Successful applicants get a planning grant of up to €100,000 along with capacity building support.
- The European Culture Foundation has launched a Culture of Solidarity Fund to provide funding for cultural activities which promote European solidarity during the crisis. Apply by 27 April.
- BELGIUM: The King Baudouin Foundation has allocated €3m to organisations fighting poverty and homelessness and €2m to frontline organisations, both offering lump-sum support of €10,000. The foundation is also rasing funds for hospitals and other residential care homes for short/medium-term needs.
- BLACK SEA REGION: The Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation seeks civic initiatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine aiming to limit the coronavirus crisis and its impact on society, good governance, democracy, rule of law, and access to free media. Budget $25,000; proposals accepted on an ongoing basis.
- CROATIA: The National Foundation for Civil Society Development, in partnership with other civil society organisations, has set up a Community Potential initiative. It's starting with an analysis of various areas including social entrepreneurship, and will then develop activities for the post-pandemic phase.
- FRANCE: The High Commission for the social and solidarity economy and for social innovation is compiling details of all the measures and support for social enterprises. Their latest update is here. More broadly, the French government has also announced a €4bn emergency plan for startups.
- GREECE: The Stavros Niarchos Foundation has set up the Global Relief Initiative. It has given $3m to The Rockefeller University and will fund long-term work in Greece and beyond.
- IRELAND: The government's COVID-19 Emergency Fund provides €2.5m to support community and voluntary groups involved in the delivery of COVID-19 community response efforts. It is being delivered via local authorities.
- IRELAND: ChangeX is identifying, funding and spreading grassroots projects aimed at strengthening Ireland’s response to Covid-19. The Web Summit has pledged €1m to support these projects.
- IRELAND: the COVID-19 C&V Stability Scheme has grants of €2,000-€100,000 available for frontline community and voluntary organisations, social enterprises or charities operating in Ireland who are facing loss of fundraising or traded income. Deadline 20 May.
- IRELAND: The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland is offering up to €40,000 to help retail companies grow their online capability. For businesses of 10 employees or more. Deadline 27 May.
- IRELAND: Social Innovation Fund Ireland's Innovate Together has €5m to support innovative responses to the Covid-19 crisis and recovery phase, with cash grants starting at €20,000 plus other support.
- ITALY: Acri – an association of Italian foundations of banking origin – has created a €5m guarantee fund to support third sector organisations. It has also allocated €35m to hospitals and healthcare companies.
- PORTUGAL: The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s Covid-19 Emergency Fund has €5m (initially) to strengthen the resilience of society to the virus in five areas (health, science, civil society, education and culture), as well as tackling shortages of protective material and medical equipment, medical research, support to the elderly and more.
- RUSSIA: The Vladimir Potanin Foundation has grants of up to 10 million rubles to help NGOs in social and cultural fields adapt their work, including switching to digital formats.
- SPAIN: An alliance of investors and foundations, Convocatoria, is offering funding of up to €500k to support startup-led initiatives that tackle the crisis.
The European Foundation Centre has this list of how its members, philanthropic organisations in 30 countries, are responding to the crisis so far.
|Help us keep this list up to date - let us know what we've missed by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with emergency funding that can help social ventures around the world.|
UK government funds (see further below for Wales/Scotland/NI government initiatives)
- The UK government has a general page on support and grants available for UK businesses. See also updates from NCVO, Social Enterprise UK and Good Finance.
- The Department of Health and Social Care has funding of up to £25,000 for tech innovators developing digital solutions to support elderly, vulnerable and self-isolating people during COVID-19.
- The Treasury is providing £750m to frontline charities - £360m direct from government departments, and £370m for smaller charities, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund. Social Enterprise UK has said the latter is expected to be open to social enterprises. On 7 May, part of the fund opened up to charities in England to bid for a share of £10m to support victims of domestic abuse; a further £6m will be given to homelessness charities.
- DFID has made £20m available for NGOs, including UK charities that are "using British expertise to deal with coronavirus". It's part of a £200m aid package that also includes funding for UN agencies and the Red Cross.
- DEFRA's Food Charities Grant Fund has grants of up to £100,000 to help frontline food aid charities in England continue to provide food to the vulnerable.
- DCMS has a £5m Loneliness Covid-19 Grant Fund for charities in England; grants available of between £500,000 and £1,000,000.
Others - UK-wide
- The Arts Council has announced £160m financial support to help individuals and organisations in the cultural sector through the crisis.
- The Association of Mental Health Providers has created a £5m Mental Health Response Fund. VCS mental health providers (in England only) responding to the anticipated increase in need as a direct result of the pandemic can request £20,000-£50,000. Applications will be assessed every two weeks, and the fund is open until funds last
- The Aviva Community Fund is open for applications until 5 May, with broader criteria to take account of Covid-19.
- Barclays has set up a £100m foundation to address the pandemic. £50m will be committed to supporting charities working with vulnerable people, the other half to match funds raised by employees to back initiatives supporting local communities through the crisis. Barclays also has a 100x100 UK COVID-19 Community Relief Programme which is making 100 donations of £100,000 each to UK charities supporting vulnerable communities affected by COVID-19 (deadline 22 May).
- Big Society Capital and partners have created the Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund, which enables social lenders to provide emergency loans (no interest, no fee for 12 months) to social enterprises and charities without requiring personal guarantees. It's part of a £100m emergency fund (expected to grow as further investment is raised) which also covers loans to small businesses in deprived areas. More details of how it works from Good Finance.
- Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has launched a rapid response fund to help smaller charitable organisations affected by Covid-19 – with grants of up to £10,000 available.
- The Clothworkers' Foundation is offering small capital grants of up to £5,000 to adapt or increase services in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Priority will be given to organisations supporting vulnerable and ‘at risk’ groups. CICs also eligible.
- Co-op is setting up a £30m members' fund, according to reports. The donations will be used initially to support food banks, a funeral bereavement fund, and other local causes addressing the effects of the coronavirus lockdown. It's not yet clear if organisations can apply for funding.
- Crisis has made grants of up to £50,000 available to support homelessness charities coping with the impact of the emergency.
- Crowdfunder, the crowdfunding platform, has removed fees for charity and community group users during the crisis.
- The Edward Gostling Foundation has grants of up to £10,000 for smaller UK charities providing frontline community services and with less than 6 months' of free reserves. This funding can be used to support their core operating costs.
- Esmee Fairbairn Foundation has announced £14m in fast-response grants to existing grantees/investees plus £2m contributed to emergency funding schemes in collaboration with others. More details expected soon.
- Fair4All Finance has created a Covid-19 Resilience Fund to provide up to £5m in grant funding to CDFIs and credit unions in England, plus an expanded Affordable Credit Scale-up Programme to help the sector deliver affordable credit to people in vulnerable circumstances in the future.
- The Fore is offering fast-track emergency grants of up to £5,000 to organisations in its portfolio – with the option to apply for more than one grant.
- Funding Enlightened Agriculture (FEA) has small, unsecured loans of £5,000-£20,000 for established community food businesses and agro-ecological growers (must be constituted as a CBS, CIC, CLG, Coop or CIO). It aims to pay out funds within 14 days of application.
- Hospitality Action: Individuals working in the hospitality industry experiencing financial difficulties can apply for a one-off grant payment of £250 per household.
- Heritage Emergency Fund (National Lottery) has grants of £3,000-£50,000 for heritage organisations including historic sites, industrial and maritime heritage, museums, libraries and archives, parks and gardens, landscapes and nature. Past grantees of the Lottery Heritage Fund can still apply and priority is given to organisations at risk of severe financial crisis due to COVID-19.
- Indigo Trust is giving £1m to the Trussell Trust to support food banks and £500,000 to the Oxfordshire Community Foundation to re-grant to organisations most in need in the local area (plus another £1m to the National Emergencies Trust Appeal). The trust is expected to make "significant, further, grants to meet the needs that arise".
- John Lewis Partnership has announced a £1m Community Support Fund to help communities across the UK to help those in need.
- The Leathersellers' Company has a fast track application process for one-off grants of up to £3,000 for registered charities. Current focus on homelessness, provision of food and essential supplies, victims of domestic violence and nursing care to vulnerable patients.
- The Mayor of London, City Bridge Trust and London Funders have announced a £2m fund for community and voluntary organisations in the capital. On 25 April the Mayor added a further £4m to the fund.
- Martin Lewis from MoneySaving Expert has offered £1m in grants of £5,000 to £20,000 for small registered charities, or local arms of bigger charities, across the UK.
- Mind has been given £5m from the government. VCS organisations based in England can get grants of £20,000 or £50,000 to continue to provide mental health services or provide additional support. For projects lasting up to 12 months.
- M&S, Lidl, Aldi, Danone and Coca-Cola European Partners have partnered with Neighbourly to create the Neighbourly Community Fund to channel microgrants directly to community organisations helping those most at risk. For existing members of Neighbourly in UK and Ireland only.
- National Emergencies Trust, established last year, launched its Coronavirus Appeal in partnership with the British Red Cross, with backing from the Duke of Cambridge. It will distribute money to charities and grassroots organisations.
- The National Lottery Community Fund has up to £300m of National Lottery funding available for grants towards activities specifically geared to supporting communities through the crisis, as well as helping organisations overcome liquidity issues caused by COVID-19.
- Power to Change has £7m in ‘rescue funding’ for community businesses in England, with grants of up to £25,000 to contribute towards trading income losses incurred between April and June 2020, plus a £5m follow-on grant fund. Open to the trust’s current and previous grantees, and to members of Co-operatives UK, Locality and the Plunkett Foundation.
- Prince's Countryside Fund has emergency funding for organisations around the UK providing emergency relief to vulnerable/isolated individuals or to farmers/farming communities affected. Social enterprises, CICs, companies limited by guarantee are all eligible.
- Thomas Pocklington Trust has grants of up to £10,000 for organisations providing critical services for blind and partially sighted people. Appears to be for registered charities only.
- NatWest and The Prince’s Trust are offering grants of up to £5,000 to 18 to 30-year-olds who are self-employed or running their own businesses.
- Sky has a £1m SME Support Scheme, to help 100 small businesses with free advertising campaigns. Businesses need to have 2-50 full-time equivalent employees, be new to TV advertising and have been trading at least 12 months.
- Sport England has created a £20 million Community Emergency Fund for sports clubs and community organisations to bid into – with grants between £300 and £10,000 available.
- Sylvia Adams Charitable Trust is providing unrestricted grants to charities working with 0-3 year-olds in England and Wales. Up to £5,000 available.
- UK Power Networks’ Power Partners fund (Round 3) has grants of £2,000-£20,000 to combat fuel poverty, improve energy efficiency and support people in vulnerable circumstances. Deadline 31 May.
- Tesco is giving £2m from its Bags of Help community donation scheme to charities that are helping the most vulnerable.
- Not specific to coronavirus, but Yapp Trust offers grants towards the running costs of small charities (maximum £3,000 per year, for up to three years).
- The Youth Endowment Fund has £6.5m to fund and evaluate work that supports vulnerable young people at risk of violence during Covid-19. 50% of the total funding is reserved for charities and social enterprises. Minimum grant £25,000. Deadline 3 June.
- Youth Music has set up an Emergency Fund - grants of up to £10,000 for 'music-making organisations affected by coronavirus'.
- Foundation Scotland has grants of £1,000 to £5,000 for constituted community groups and charities responding to the coronavirus in their local community.
- Social Investment Scotland has launched a £2m Credit Union Resilience Fund to support credit unions with their working capital and liquidity.
- Scotland has created a £20m Third Sector Resilience Fund, with both grants and interest free loans available. Phase two – max grant £75,000 – is currently open for applications here.
- Scotland also has £33m available within its Wellbeing Fund, for organisations across the third sector providing important services for people as a result of coronavirus. Round 2 has grants of £1,000-£100,000; applications from groups working with BAME communities particularly welcomed. Deadline is 22 May.
- Connecting Scotland, a £5m government initiative announced 7 May, aims to support to vulnerable people who are at home and digitally excluded – coordinated by SCVO, and delivered through local authorities and third sector bodies. Organisations working with target groups can fill out an expression of interest form here.
- Wales has announced an initial fund of £24m to support Wales’ voluntary sector. There's also £18m to support the creative industries, culture and sport sectors, including a £750k Emergency Relief Fund to support small and vulnerable independent organisations.
- Wales' Economic Resilience Fund has grants of £10,000 for micro-businesses employing up to nine people; up to £100,000 for small and medium sized firms, plus support for larger Welsh companies of 'critical social or economic importance' to Wales. Find details of all government support for Welsh businesses here.
- The Wales Coronavirus Resilience Fund will fund charities, community groups and nonprofits supporting vulnerable groups, as well as those adapting to respond to the rapidly changing needs.
- Social Investment Cymru at WCVA is offering emergency fast-track loans to voluntary sector organisations in Wales, with money landing in bank accounts within 7 days of submitting a completed application.
- WCVA has a Voluntary Services Emergency Fund to enable voluntary organisations providing vital support during the Coronavirus crisis to continue and expand their work.
- The Covid-19 Resilience Innovation Project Support will fund innovative projects in Wales that can have a direct impact fighting the virus. No maximum budget stipulated.
- The Welsh government and Sport Wales are together providing £400,000 for nonprofit sports clubs.
- The Welsh government has grants of £10,000 for small charities within the retail, leisure and hospitality sector.
- Northern Ireland's Department for Communities is matchfunding Community Foundation NI’s Coronavirus Community Fund with an additional £200,000. (Follow NICVA and SE NI for funding updates in Northern Ireland.)
- The Community Foundation Northern Ireland is offering grants of up to £2,500 to organisations in Northern Ireland supporting isolated older people. Northern Ireland's Department for Communities has said it will match fund CFNI's fund with an additional £200,000.
- Live here Love here Small Grants Scheme offers £500 to £5,000 for volunteer-run projects in Northern Ireland aimed at improving health and wellbeing and local environment, and development of civic pride within a community, as well as caring for those in need as a result of Covid-19. Deadline 18 May.
Local and regional UK funding
We're working hard to provide the most up-to-date news and resources to help social businesses and impact investors share their experiences and get through the Covid-19 crisis. But we need your support to continue. As a social enterprise ourselves, Pioneers Post relies on paid subscriptions and partnerships to sustain our purpose-led journalism – so if you think it's worth having an independent, mission-driven, specialist media platform for the impact movement, please click here to subscribe.