Written evidence submitted by Comic Relief |
1. COMIC RELIEF
1.1 The vision of Comic Relief is a "just
world free from poverty". Our mission is to "drive positive
change through the power of entertainment".
1.2 We do three main things:
millions of pounds through our two fundraising campaignRed
Nose Day and Sport Relief as well as from the UK government and
grants in the best possible way to tackle the root causes of poverty
and social injustice in the UK, Africa and beyond.
the power of our brand to raise awareness of issues we most care
1.3 Comic Relief is unique among private foundations
in the UK in that it is not an endowed foundation and has to raise
the vast majority of its income from fundraising from the UK public.
2.1 Since 1985 Comic Relief has made grants totalling
£360 million internationally. The vast majority of our grants
have been made to UK charities working in partnership with local
organisations to bring about long term, sustainable change to
the lives of some of the poorest communities in the world.
2.2 We run an "open" grants programme
(see our website www.comicrelief.com/apply_for_a_grant) to which
any UK registered charity can apply. We also do some "proactive"
grant making where we seek out leading organisations to fund.
2.3 We focus on the most disadvantaged and poorest
people in the world. Our focus is on Africa, which receives about
85% of our funds. We also support a limited amount of work in
Asia and Latin America.
2.4 Our current areas of focus include:
affected by conflict.
and families affected by HIV/AIDS.
living urban slums.
and working children and young people.
producers and workers as well as struggling entrepreneurs.
people for whom sport can offer opportunities for personal development.
without access to good quality health and education.
affected by climate change.
2.5 Recent achievements include:
tens of thousands of children who were not in school to receive
a good quality basic education.
the prevention and treatment of malaria for millions of people.
women's organisations in dozens of countries to reduce harmful
traditional practices such as FGM; ensure legislation is passed
to outlaw domestic violence; and provide thousands of women experiencing
violence to get the help and support they need.
the number of newly certified Fairtrade producers in Africa and
boosting sales from Africa by one third.
3.1 Comic Relief collaborates with DFID in a
number of ways. Some of these are through formal grants from DFID
to Comic Relief, such as the Commonwealth Education Fund, the
Common Ground Initiative (CGI), and Match Funding arrangements
|Commonwealth Education Fund||2002
||£8.8 million||To strengthen the capacity of civil society in developing Commonwealth countries to help governments ensure that the poorest and most marginalised children are able to enrol in and complete good quality primary education. The Fund was co-funded and managed by Comic Relief.
|Common Ground Initiative ||2009
||£20 million ||To strengthen the contribution of small and African Diaspora organisations in the UK to development goals in Africa. The Initiative is co-funded by DfID and Comic Relief and managed by Comic Relief.
|Match Funding||2009||£5 million from DfID/£5 million from Red Nose Day 2009
||A match funding pot of £10 million ring fenced for Comic Relief to make grants in support of "Education for All" (MDG2). The Match Funding is co-funded by DfID and Comic Relief and managed by Comic Relief.
|Match Funding ||2011||£16 million from DfID/£16 million from Red Nose Day 2011
||A match funding pot of £32 million ring fenced for Comic Relief to make grants that support health and education initiatives in Africa. The Match Funding is co-funded by DfID and Comic Relief and managed by Comic Relief.
3.2 Comic Relief also engages with DFID in a number of other
ways. We share good practice on grant making and our learning
from the issues we fund. We contribute to consultations on DFID's
civil society engagement and on technical reviews where we have
relevant technical knowledge. And we meet regularly with senior
DFID representatives to discuss how we continue to build public
support for international development.
3.3 Comic Relief is committed to collaboration with others.
Currently we have collaborations covering grant making, shared
learning and programme development with Sainsbury's, the Gates
Foundation, the Big Lottery Fund, the Children's Investment Fund
Foundation, The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, the Elton
John AIDS Foundation, the Tubney Foundation, the Hornby Foundation,
the Hunter Foundation, the Baring Foundation, the Premier League,
the Open Society Institute, Mama Cash, American Jewish World Service,
AIDS Fonds, and the Levi Strauss Foundation. We are developing
collaborations with the Doris Duke Foundation, the Oak Foundation,
Laureus Foundation, Jacobs Foundation and the Elma Foundation.
3.4 In addition we are actively supporting emerging African
philanthropy and foundations through our support for the African
Women's Development Fund, Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, Kenya
Community Development Fund, Akiba Uhaki, and the Foundation for
3.5 We are active members of the Association of Charitable
Foundations' International Funders Group, the European Foundation
Centre and the Africa Grant Makers Affinity Group.
3.6 Our unique partnership with Sainsbury's, under the Sainsbury's
Development Fund has allocated grants worth £1 million to
Fairtrade producers to improve their ability to access international
markets including Sainsbury's. An equally unique partnership with
the Children's Investment Fund Foundation, the Diana Princess
of Wales Memorial Fund, and the Elton John AIDS Foundation has
invested £10m in a ground-breaking programme of care and
support to vulnerable children in Malawi, creating a new model
of support that we hope will be replicated elsewhere in the country.
4. THE ROLE
4.1 Comic Relief is fortunate to have some high profile individuals
on its trustee board, including Richard Curtis and Lenny Henry,
as well as close relationships with other high profile individuals.
We have collaborated with alliances of other civil society organisations
to engage the public on issues of global social justice: most
notably Jubilee 2000 and Make Poverty History (MPH).
4.2 The Jubilee 2000 was a coalition of civil society organisations
with particularly strong roots in faith communities that sought
to bring pressure on world leaders to "Drop the Debt"
when they gathered for the G8 summit meeting in Cologne on 18-20
June 1999. Comic Relief's particular contribution was to create
Anthony Minghella's short three minute film "'We Don't Want
It', (Drop the Debt)" which was shown to the then Chancellor
Gordon Brown and Secretary of State for International Development
Clare Short when a Comic Relief delegation visited Downing Street.
Comic Relief also organised two high profile comedy events in
London which were made into three documentaries and broadcast
by the BBC to an audience of nearly 3 million prompting more than
150,000 phone calls in support of the campaign. The Jubilee 2000
campaign is credited to have contributed to the forgiveness of
$100 million of debt of some of the poorest countries in the world.
4.3 One of the biggest anti-poverty movements ever formed,
Make Poverty History, came together ahead of the G8 meeting held
in Scotland in July 2005and Comic Relief played a central
role in reaching out the public. A worldwide campaign of activity
culminated in LIVE8, which saw concerts take place in 10 venues,
with 150 bands and 1,250 musicians playing across the globe to
ask people not to give their money, but to give their support
to making poverty history and showing politicians that the public
care and want politicians to make promises to help the most disadvantaged
in the world. With an estimated global audience of 3 billion people,
Comic Relief played a key role in ensuring that the message was
communicated loud and clear. On the eve of the G8 meeting itself,
Comic Relief coordinated "Edinburgh 50,000The Final
Push", a concert held at Murrayfield Stadium with one clear
purposeto let the G8 know that the world was watching them.
Significant aid commitments were made by world leaders at the
G8 in Edinburgh and the campaign is believed to have contributed
to cross party support for reaching the UN target of 0.7% of GDP
to be allocated to international development.
5. THE ACCOUNTABILITY
5.1 Comic Relief is different to many other private foundations
in that our income is generated primarily through public fundraising
rather than endowments. This brings with it a unique type of accountability
as without the public's generosity during Red Nose Day and Sport
Relief campaigns, there would be no Comic Relief.
5.2 Today, there is 96% awareness of Red Nose Day amongst
the British public. Red Nose Day 2011 attracted donations of over
£115 million. Over 10 million people watched the TV show.
Thousands of schools took part in fundraising activities. We sold
millions of red noses.
5.3 With such amazing support, we are accountable to them
to ensure that their generosity is spent effectively and to ensure
that they keep supporting and believing in a just world free from
poverty in Africa and beyond and the UK.