David Farnsworth, Chief Grants Officer, City Bridge Trust
Innovative organisations looking to prepare for social investment now have a chance to benefit from a £1m Stepping Stones Fund, from the City of London Corporation's charity, City Bridge Trust and financial services firm UBS.
The first round of the ‘Stepping Stones Fund’ saw 17 organisations awarded a total of £700,000. As part of the second round UBS are financing an extra £300,000 worth of funding as well as offering expertise, volunteers and venues throughout the programme to take the total to £1m.
The fund was created in recognition of the gap between grant financing available for organisations and the requirements of an organisation seeking social investment. The Stepping Stones Fund will offer support to bridge that gap by offering tailor-made grants or risk finance and offer the chance for organisations to test the viability of new models and prepare themselves for larger social investment.
The £1m funding will be allocated under the following three strands:
- Capacity building grants for charitable organisations to provide them with human, financial and strategic support as well as access to experts to improve their performance and long-term financial stability
- Grants to pilot better social outcomes by supporting organisations wishing to test their innovative pilot ideas for achieving improved social outcomes. The pilot should lead the organisation to using social investment for expansion or further development
- Risk finance which provides first loss capital to reduce risk for other investors and catalyses an investment package underway
David Farnsworth, Chief Grants Officer of City Bridge Trust, said: “We are delighted to continue working with UBS on the Stepping Stones Fund. Volunteers from the bank played a critical role in making the first round of the programme a success. As we launch the second round of Stepping Stones it is excellent news to know that applicants will benefit not only from UBS’ insight and expertise, but also from the bank’s co-funding. At a time of growing demand for the services that London’s voluntary and social enterprise sectors provide, this partnership between City Bridge Trust and UBS is an important way of supporting more organisations to deliver vital work.”
Detailed information about the Stepping Stones Fund, eligibility and the application process can be found on the City Bridge Trust website under Stepping Stones Fund.