Philanthropic organizations launch collaborative to improve global safeguarding practices

March 15, 2021 | Press Releases

Five grantmaking institutions have joined forces to create the Funder Safeguarding Collaborative, which supports global efforts to prevent abuse and exploitation.

March 15, 2021 – WASHINGTON, DC and LONDON – Three years ago, in the wake of international headlines on the failures of charitable organizations to prevent sexual abuse and exploitation, the UK government’s International Development Committee (IDC) announced an inquiry into abuse and exploitation within the aid sector. The IDC warned that a chronic lack of attention to and resources for safeguarding was one of the main obstacles to ensuring development activities do not cause any harm.

Many philanthropic and development organizations have since implemented new safeguarding measures, but significant challenges remain. The recent “sex for jobs” scandal involving international aid workers responding to the Ebola crisis in Democratic Republic of the Congo serves as a reminder that there is more work to be done. In January, the IDC published a progress report in which it urged the aid sector to continue strengthening safeguarding practices.

A new funders collaboration, the Funder Safeguarding Collaborative (FSC), made up of Comic Relief, Global Fund for Children, The National Lottery Community Fund, Oak Foundation, and Porticus, is being announced today. These five grantmaking organizations share a commitment to creating a safer world, and have come together to promote collaboration, listening, and learning among funders and local civil society organizations to support and strengthen safeguarding practices in their home countries as well as internationally.

“Together, we can help ensure the safety and wellbeing of the children, youth, and communities we work with around the world,” said Global Fund for Children President and CEO John Hecklinger.

“By recognizing and amplifying local knowledge and practices, and creating a platform for sharing what works, the FSC will foster the development of organizational cultures and systems that protect young people and others vulnerable to abuse from harm,” he added.

The FSC connects funders to a wealth of knowledge and expertise – including webinars, discussion forums, a resource library, and working groups – free of charge. The collaborative also offers tailored, fee-based support, including a training program, an advice line, and consulting on everything from policy development to incorporating safeguarding into grantmaking.

“We are proud to be part of this collaborative as we all share the core value of putting the protection of the people we serve at the center of what we do,” said Oak Foundation President Douglas Griffiths. “We encourage others to join forces with us to ensure that organizations everywhere are safe.”

The FSC provides members with opportunities to invest in evidence-based initiatives to improve global safeguarding practices, including small grants to local civil society organizations to advance approaches grounded in local cultures and realities. The FSC will support a pilot program in Uganda and subsequently scale grantmaking to other countries, taking a power-shifting approach that fosters more equitable relationships between funders and grantees.

“We know that an abundance of knowledge and expertise already exists within civil society organizations and the communities they serve,” said FSC Director Karen Walker-Simpson. “The FSC will act as a catalyst for change by creating shared spaces to listen and learn from others and opportunities for funders to invest in positive practices.”

FSC membership is open to charitable trusts and foundations, intermediary funders that dedicate at least 50% of their budgets to grantmaking and grantee support, and funder networks that wish to promote safeguarding as part of their work.

The FSC will also engage community-based civil society organizations, researchers, government agencies, and others with expertise in this area, including individuals with lived experience. These stakeholders will have the opportunity to contribute to the design of FSC strategies and services, and to engage in dialogue with FSC members through webinars and discussion forums. This engagement is part of a broader effort to shift power in philanthropy and foster trust-based funder-grantee relationships.

The FSC believes that all grantmaking organizations can make a valuable contribution to keeping people safe and to preventing intentional or unintentional harm to the communities they serve. The FSC is housed within Global Fund for Children, which provides administrative support and technical expertise to develop and grow the collaborative. For more information, please visit


Kyra Gurney
Communications Officer
Global Fund for Children
[email protected]
+1 (202) 222-0821



Comic Relief raises money to support people living incredibly tough lives. Through humor and stories of hope, we’ve shown that people can make a massive difference. We fund hundreds of amazing organizations who are working on the ground to support the most vulnerable people and communities in society including many of those hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis. This includes vulnerable children and young people, people who are homeless or who have been forced to flee their homes, women and families at risk of domestic abuse and those struggling with existing or new mental health problems.

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Global Fund for Children partners to build a world where all children and youth enjoy equal resources and opportunities in society and live free from violence, discrimination, and exploitation. To that end, GFC invests in innovative local organizations, helping them deepen their impact and build their capacity for social change. Together, GFC and its partners advance the rights of children and youth facing poverty and injustice and equip them with the tools and skills to reach their full potential. Since 1997, Global Fund for Children has invested $46 million in more than 725 organizations, reaching more than 11 million children and youth worldwide.

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We are the largest funder of community activity in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. National Lottery players raise £30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.

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Oak Foundation commits its resources to address issues of global, social and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged. With offices in Europe, India and North America, we make grants to organizations in approximately 40 countries worldwide.

Since it was established in 1983, Oak Foundation’s grant-making budget has grown to over USD 200 million a year. Oak Foundation has seven thematic programs: child abuse, environment, housing and homelessness, international human rights, issues affecting women, learning differences and special interest. There are also two country-based programs in Denmark and Zimbabwe, as well as work that combines the different thematic program areas in India and Brazil.

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At Porticus, we’re working towards a just and sustainable future where human dignity can flourish. Through our partnerships in education, society, faith and climate we enable changemakers to create societies and systems that work for everyone.

We strive to understand the complexities of the systems we seek to change, assessing where we can make the most impact and engaging the skills and knowledge of broad coalitions of local and global partners to tackle the root causes of problems.

Porticus professionals develop and manage grants and programs in more than 90 countries. Lasting solutions aren’t achieved quickly or lightly, but we believe that together we can make a fairer, more sustainable world a reality.

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Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.

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