It was heartening this week to see five major foundations, and peers of Luminate, - Ford, Hewlett, MacArthur, Open Society and Packard - commit to better support the often overlooked ‘indirect costs’ of their partners’ work.
This commitment mirrors our own efforts to - wherever possible – provide unrestricted funding to our grantees and investees. During 2018, of the $55m we invested in supporting organisations, over 50% of funding was unrestricted. We have long believed it is important to back the leadership of these organisations with fully flexible support – to pay for rent, bills, and other necessary administrative costs – to enable them to grow and deliver against their goals. Even where unrestricted funding is not the right approach we are mindful to ensure that the funding we provide builds in an appropriate level of support for indirect costs.
In the last year we sought the advice and perspectives of our partners and grantees on this and other issues. The responses emphatically called for more unrestricted funding and for other initiatives to help organisations focus on their impact and objectives, rather than jumping through donors’ hoops. We remain committed to delivering on this and to providing our partners with the right support to help them succeed.
I hope that this greater commitment to unrestricted funding and covering overhead costs becomes the ‘new normal’ – it’s long overdue and allows grantees to focus on important work in uncertain times.