Addressing racial inequity in community sports funding through participatory grantmaking


The context

Over the last 13 years, Sported has built a network of 2900+ grassroots groups, each using sport and physical activity to remove barriers affecting youth and ensure that every young person has an equal opportunity to thrive. 

Over that time, Sported has upskilled community sport leaders and helped groups grow and become more sustainable. They have also delivered specific programmes to support groups focusing on women and girls, disability, the LGBTQIA+ community and ethnic minorities.

The challenge

Sported wanted to better understand experiences of racism in the community sport sector. From research, they identified the following issues around sports funding:

  • Groups doing great work don’t always get the funding
  • Diversity focused funding streams are not designed by diverse groups of people
  • Funds for groups working with ‘Black, Asian and minority ethnic participants’ is too broad and there should be more pots of money specifically dedicated to supporting black groups 

In response to these findings, Sported decided to pilot a Participatory Grantmaking (PGM) process, that we came on board to help design and deliver. 

Participatory grantmaking is the practice of involving affected communities in the grantmaking process, by giving them the power to decide who and what to fund. In this case, we worked with black community leaders who designed a fund to distribute financial support to black-led groups serving black communities in London. 

Our approach

Using our expertise in grantmaking, facilitation, coaching and community engagement, we:

  • Facilitated and co-designed workshops with community leaders to shape the fund, getting their perspectives on the fund’s values, approach and priorities 
  • Supported the Sported team with facilitation training and 1:1 coaching support, as they delivered the PGM process
  • Facilitated a reflections session with participants from throughout the process, to get feedback and recommendations for future iterations 
  • Delivered a report for Sported, outlining the successes and lessons learnt from the process and our recommendations for future funding rounds 

Sported are now looking forward to trialling the PGM process for another funding round.

Are you a funder thinking about trying participatory grantmaking?

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