ACT funds organisations built around a big idea; an idea that has the potential to make real changes to the lives of disadvantaged or vulnerable people.
Andrews Charitable Trust is a Christian charity set up to alleviate poverty – most of our funding is from Andrews Property Group whose purpose is to bring people and property together.
It therefore makes sense for us to address our charitable objective, to tackle the cycle of deprivation and multiple disadvantage, through a property lens – exploring approaches which address the links between housing and poverty.
Paying for housing, whether rent or mortgage payments, is the single biggest cost for many households. In the UK, the proportion of people in the poorest fifth of the working-age population who spend more than a third of their income on housing costs has risen from 39% to 47% in the decade from 2006 – 2016. This has been driven in part by the rise in the number of people renting in the private sector, where costs are highest.
Access to safe, decent housing should bring other benefits as well, such as energy or water saving, privacy, income generation, social inclusion, community and individual empowerment, health benefits, capacity building or education. It can be the foundation to achieving improvements in a number of human rights.
We focus on tackling housing-related poverty and aspire to a world where everyone has a home that they can afford, which is safe, secure and part of a thriving, inclusive and sustainable community.
To do this, ACT funds organisations built around a big idea; an idea that has the potential to make real changes to the lives of disadvantaged or vulnerable people.
We support inspirational social entrepreneurs to establish their own organisations, focusing on support for innovative and early-stage ventures. Our new strategy allows us to consinder impactful innovations at various stages of development, anywhere where we find strong, experienced, capable and passionate leadership. We will consider funding at any of the following stages of growth:
1) Proof of concept, including needs research, scoping and testing
2) Organisational design and establishment
3) Development funding & investment
If you work in this field and know of innovation in this area. Please contact us to make a recommendation.
We are looking for ideas and new approaches that tackle one or more of the following areas:
We do however welcome recommendations from people who work in this sector and can tell us more about where innovation is required.
We know that the best innovations are simple; a model that is complicated is difficult to scale.
The best organisations show a commitment to measuring impact as an integral part of what they do right from the beginning.
Business models need to demonstrate that they have a clear understanding of how the solution will be sustainable in the long term. A viable mix of sustainable income streams will need to be developed and will need to be an integral part of the implementation plan. For most organisations that aim to achieve a substantial social impact over time, this will probably mean a mix of fundraising from both philanthropic and investment sources.
We believe that sustainable organisations will have:
The organisation needs to be built on a clear understanding of how they fit in the wider world. This should include healthy partnerships and a collaborative approach. The model must be able to be implemented at scale whilst also allowing appropriate local interpretation.
Following the passion of our founder, Cecil Jackson Cole, we operate a venture philanthropy approach, supporting young organisations as the vehicles for social change. We take risks but then roll our sleeves up to work alongside those we fund.
When we select an organisations to consider, we take the following approach:
When we approach an organisation, we will initially ask for a simple summary of the idea and how it meets our objectives. This will be shared with all our trustees and so it needs to clearly communicate the need, the idea and its potential.
If this is of interest to us then we will arrange a time to meet. An assessment team consisting of the ACT Director and at least one of the Trustees, will visit your offices. At this point, the due diligence documents that we require will mostly be things that organisations should already have on hand, including:
If the assessment team remain impressed after the due diligence process, you will be invited to meet the whole board, to present your idea to them. A decision on funding and partnership with us will be made after that meeting.
In most cases we will provide unrestricted funding, but will develop a number of milestones and key performance indicators, to ensure that you are making progress in achieving the impact that you outlined during our assessment process. See the section on milestones below.
Each funding relationship is bespoke, but we would hope to be with you through the next organisations transition – to get you to the next stage of growth and until interest from new funders is becoming apparent. Historically, this has been somewhere between 2 – 7 years.
Our funding contracts are always negotiated to include clear milestones which set out the expectations on both sides. Milestones will vary according to the stage and set up of each organisation. That said, they are usually a combination of scale and quality of delivery and programmes, elements of building a strong organisation and financial prudence.
Milestones are progress markers for the contract period and are working towards achievement of key performance targets for the whole contract period. ACT will meet organisations quarterly and expects simple progress reports against these milestones for our board quarterly.
We will also have annual reviews at which point the organisation will meet with trustees and the Director for a more in-depth examination of progress which also provides a formal opportunity to make changes to milestones for the coming year.
We do not consider unsolicited applications but for organisations invited to apply, assessment is likely to take place over 3-6 months. This will include an initial period working with the Director to build up a picture of what you are intending to do and where ACT may support you.
If there is a strong fit, you will be asked to draft up an initial introduction (probably only a couple of pages) to the board of trustees. If the Trustees are interested, then a formal assessment meeting will be set up. Due diligence at this stage will be conducted by the Director and a couple of the Trustees themselves. At this point, the due diligence documents that we require will mostly be things that organisations should already have on hand, including:
If the assessment team remain impressed after the due diligence process, you will be invited to meet the whole board, to present your idea to them. A final decision is likely to be made after this meeting, except where there remain some specific queries to be carried through.