The Civil Society Open Enquiries were announced by TNLCF in October 2020, in this blog post, as an open space for civil society to sense, feel and iterate our way into the future together. The many long crises our society now faces — Covid-19, climate change, deep social inequity and biodiversity loss, to mention just a few — make for a continued state of heightened uncertainty and unpredictability likely well into the future.

In this context, the Open Enquiries explored five areas of uncertainty in relation to the future of the Fund’s work. Rather than seeing uncertainty as a problem…


On Wednesday evening, we hosted the first of our Dark Matter of Funding sessions, this one on impact — how we measure it, what it’s own impacts are, and even, in this complex, emergent and increasingly unpredictable world, what impact even means, and whether it’s a useful frame.

Joining the conversation with Indy (who provided thoughtful yet probing questions), were Deputy CEO of Social Investment Business and Associate Lecturer at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge, Gen (Genevieve) Maitland Hudson, and Kieron Boyle, CEO of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation and Co-Founder of Impact on Urban Health…


The cover of Correspondences by Tim Ingold.

A super short blog, mostly to organise my own thoughts, having read a few others’ this weekend from the brilliant Lingjing and Sam about ‘visibility.’

One of the things that has brought me most unhappiness in the last year or so has been the tension between wanting to do what feels important for the work, versus my preference to be at the edge of things and more under the radar. Anyone that’s known me since before I was a ‘funder’ will know that I never did public speaking, I was highly connected in a vast network, but more underground —…


Anything that looks to improve the practices of foundations is A Good Thing in my book, so I was really interested to read about this new piece of work which will rate the performance of UK grant-making foundations on their accountability, transparency and diversity, being led by Friends Provident Foundation. I also appreciate that they are looking for input, so I guess this blog post is mine. I will do the survey, but wanted to share openly too because … transparency!

These are the things I’d like to see, based on my personal experience of being a grant seeker and…


Thursday the 13th May I was driving my car along a country road in Suffolk and a motorcyclist came around a bend, lost control of his bike, veered across onto the other side of the road, into my windscreen, and then somersaulted about 20 feet down the road. Amazingly, he’s okay — on the afternoon itself, as he was taken off in the ambulance, we weren’t so sure he would be.

I was lucky that my airbag inflated (I didn’t even know I had one and everyone should check that they have), and that the motorbike burst my tyre on…


I’ve been thinking a lot about grantmaking as a practice, and in particular what kinds of practices we need to steward what Arundhati Roy talks of here — “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

Next week I’ll be publishing a set of resources that build on the blog post I wrote 18 months ago, and that are part of the materials I’m co-developing for a new creative grantmaking programme at Goldsmiths.

As a way of working out what different or new practices we might need in…


My Weeknote’s definitely came to a halt at the end of last year. Partly because of having so little time and space, partly because it’s felt much better to be quiet for a while. I’ve also hit a bit of a wall these last few weeks — have found it hard to do any work — have tried to rest, and then wondered if actually writing this might be helpful in giving me my compass for the next few months. It’s part looking back, and part looking forward.

I’m not sure what rhythm I’ll end up in going forward but…


Image from Unsplash.

On the 16th February we’ll be kicking off a series of Open Enquiries that link to our Civil Society Approach, looking to build a shared view of how communities and wider civil society can thrive.

These enquiries are for anyone working on, with, and in civil society or their local community. They’re designed for people who are willing to bring experience, knowledge, ideas and a sense of curiosity to the table.

We’ll be hosting the Open Enquiries twice a week, in Miro. Each session will broach, unpick and deepen our understanding of a particular theme — we’ll introduce you to…


Electromagnetic butterfly wings — Nigel Hutchings

I didn’t do an end of year blog for the first time in a long time. Partly because I felt a need for stillness and quiet , a time to go inward with my reflections on the year. And partly because I didn’t want to put anything out into the world at a time when there’s so many other things that need space for expression — loss, rage, pain, fear, mourning, and so much more.

I have felt more compelled to share where I am as I move forward into this new year, coming out of my mini hibernation, and…


Yesterday evening I sent out an email to our 52 Emerging Futures Fund grantees. I thought I’d share it here too, because it talks to some of the ways we’re thinking about growing the work this year.

You can read about all the Emerging Futures initiatives here. And this blog post gives a helpful overview of the programme and its intent.

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

Hello all

I hope that you are doing as well as possible in these times ❤️

This is a personal email from me, and sits alongside the other emails you may be getting from the wider team about sharing…

Cassie Robinson.

Deputy Director at National Lottery Community Fund, Co-founder of the Point People, Policy Fellow IIPP, Founder Stewarding Loss, International Futures Forum.

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