Interview with Mary Rose, CEO of The Fore. We discuss Movemeon’s pandemic response, how Movemeon has partnered with the Fore during the crisis and what effect the pandemic has had on this CEO.
In reaction to the outbreak of COVID-19, Movemeon deployed a pandemic response initiative titled, Consultants Against COVID-19 (CAC). This initiative comprises of 400+ consultants and commercial professionals providing their services for free to support any charities, public sector and other not for profit organisations in need.
45+ professionals have currently been placed with a variety of public health organisations, charities and government at the national level. If you are in need of support email firstname.lastname@example.org
“It has been fantastic working with Movemeon. The consultants that Movemeon represents have many of the skills that small charities and social enterprises need, particularly now.
Organisations must assess and adapt their business models fast so they can, for example, keep food flowing through their foodbanks or kids at risk of going into gangs connected with their mentoring and tutoring support. Help with these types of challenges couldn’t be more important as social distancing measures and COVID restrictions seem set to remain in place.”
Mary Rose Gunn,
In your own words, please describe what The Fore does and how it’s grown.
The Fore was launched in 2017 to help great small charities and social enterprises unlock their potential. Small charities and social enterprises often have fresh solutions to issues like knife crime, environmental waste or homelessness but no matter how effective they are, they face serious barriers to development.
Many cannot plug into the right networks or connect with people with the right skills, and they frequently only have access to funding that is restricted to use on specific projects. These obstacles curtail their ability to invest in their capacities, grow their organisations and make the improvements our society needs. The Fore exists to remove these barriers. Through a simple, supported application process, we offer the highest-quality small charities and social enterprises unrestricted grants for organisations to use to unlock increases in scale, impact, efficiency or sustainability.
We also provide access to training workshops, a network of skilled volunteers, and support with impact measurement. Since 2017, The Fore has made more than 300 grants and has given away more than £4 million.
Why did you decide to collaborate with Movemeon and how does the partnership work?
We collaborated with Movemeon when the coronavirus hit the UK, a time when many small charities and social enterprises were being pushed into crisis. Many of these organisations faced great uncertainty and needed help navigating the pandemic, securing their income streams and planning for the future.
Movemeon’s connections with hundreds of consultants keen to offer their time proved to be invaluable. We have worked with Movemeon to identify organisations that could benefit from their help, and Movemeon has matched these organisations with consultants able to provide support.
How has Movemeon’s pandemic response helped you/other organisations so far during the crisis?
Movemeon’s pro bono consultants have offered a variety of support to our small charities and social enterprises, ranging from financial modelling to developing marketing strategies, to identifying potential sources of income.
How has The Fore adapted to the crisis, are you doing anything differently?
In response to the crisis, The Fore launched RAFT (Rapid Action by The Fore and Trusts). The RAFT Immediate Response Fund offered urgently-needed, £5000 grants to help more than 200 small charities and social enterprises survive the crisis and continue to meet the changing needs of their beneficiaries.
The Fore also launched The RAFT Directory, which helped more small charities and social enterprises than ever before find skilled volunteers to help them navigate new challenges posed by the crisis. Currently, we are running The Fore RAFT Transition Fund, which is offering unrestricted grants of £15,000 to help organisations adapt their business models and gain a stronger footing in a world learning to cope with coronavirus.
How has this worldwide pandemic affected you personally/your work life?
The Fore, like many organisations, had to switch to working remotely very quickly at the same time as delivering more ambitious programmes than we had ever attempted before. We have learned a great deal in the process but we are lucky to be able to work from home easily – so many of our grantees are on the frontline, facing dangers every day.
We hope we are managing to provide the sort of support our grantees and the sector desperately needs now.
What are you most looking forward to doing once social distancing rules have been relaxed?
We are all looking forward to getting back together – we have not been in the same room together now for over six months and it turns out we all miss each other!
We’ve also noticed that it is harder to put together strategy when you’re not physically together but we’ve had some great Zoom bonding sessions to try to get us used to interacting less formally online so we can brainstorm better.
Finally, please detail the best career advice you’ve ever received.
A former chair of our charity is an extremely experienced, intelligent, kind and effective man whose achievements include having been a chair of a FTSE100 company. I learnt the most important lesson of my career from him which was don’t be afraid to ask the obvious question. If you’ve listened carefully and you don’t understand something, nine times out of ten the other people around the table don’t either but they aren’t brave enough to ask!
Read more inspiring stories from Movemeons pandemic response, Consultants against COVID-19
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