Comic Relief US today announced the creation of the Innovation and Growth Fund, a $10m fund bridging purpose, brand, entertainment, and content to power the organization’s growth and fund new models of social impact. The project will establish a core funding pipeline to rapidly incubate and scale new ideas to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
Since its founding in 2015, Comic Relief US has raised more than $275m, changing lives of millions with innovative grantmaking and inspiring hope with its signature Red Nose Day campaign. Nearly $2 billion total funds have been raised between the US and UK in support of creating a just world free of poverty. Comic Relief US is determined to raise $1 billion in the next 10 years. This $10m investment will enable Comic Relief to build the capabilities, capacity, and infrastructure to run four major public campaigns a year, double annual fundraising, and support new models of social impact.
"This fund will fuel what we do best at Comic Relief US: create powerful content-driven campaigns that drive awareness, engagement and funds,” said Alison Moore, CEO of Comic Relief US. “It will create paths to quickly incubate new ideas and bring successful ones to scale, leveraging innovation and creativity across the organization to address the complex social needs our world is facing."
The three new tentpole campaigns – in addition to Red Nose Day – that will be spearheaded through this fund, include Sport Relief, Kids Relief and an additional activation to reignite the iconic Comic Relief. These will galvanize the public and raise funds for initiatives that support the homeless and young people seeking safety from perilous situations, youth empowerment programs, and programs that bridge the educational gap for children in underserved communities.
To be successful in launching these campaigns, Comic Relief US will invest in new digital and content-based fundraising. The Innovation and Growth Fund will support investments in new streaming and social platforms, digital-first content, and frictionless technology to power giving among the next generation of donors.
"The worlds of entertainment and digital are rapidly changing, exploding with growth, but non-profits can often be left behind, sorely lacking the resources to participate in scale,” said Moore. “To impact a challenge as big as intergenerational poverty, we must be relentless in our pursuit of new ideas and collaborations to bring purpose into corporate and non-profit sectors."
"To meet today's challenges, we must leverage the approach consumer markets have adopted for years and create new ways of connecting with donors that drive social change," added Lauren Spitzer, Senior Vice President, Fundraising and Philanthropy at Comic Relief US. "Using the innovation fund as an incubator for growth, we will broaden our lens, support new programs as well as deepen existing work."
The $10m fund will support programs like:
- New social impact funds, supporting programs with an intersectional approach that advance gender equity and racial equity, across the portfolio, including investment in BIPOC and locally led organizations.
- New participatory grantmaking models, including investments in nimble, early-stage, and innovative non-profits that are designing and testing new approaches that may hold the keys to eradicating intergenerational poverty.
- The Comic Relief US Youth Advisory Council, a new leadership development program launched in 2021 designed to ignite intergenerational social change by centering the voice and vision of marginalized youth globally. This year the Youth Advisory Council created the Juntanza Fund, a beta fund to support youth-led organizations with programs that address hunger, improve access to quality education, youth leadership and mental health.
- In 2022 Comic Relief US will launch a first-of-its-kind Brave Spaces Storytelling Platform, a new youth-led experience platform to convene activists, artists and other changemakers for global, intergenerational dialogue.
"Intergenerational poverty is a crisis that won’t wait, so neither can we," said Moore. "Comic Relief, in the US and the UK, has been at the forefront of powering change through entertainment for decades. We are taking this on with new energy in new times, inspiring a new generation to end the cycle of intergenerational poverty once and for all."
ABOUT COMIC RELIEF US
Comic Relief US harnesses the power of entertainment to drive positive change to create a just world free from poverty. The nonprofit has raised over $300 million by mobilizing donors of all ages to engage with causes through powerful content-driven campaigns and new digital platforms. Since 2015, Red Nose Day, Comic Relief US’ signature campaign to end child poverty has fundraised $275 million and positively impacted over 29 million children in the US and around the world. Donations are invested in grantee partners and social impact programs that ensure children are safe, healthy, educated and empowered and that address the root causes of poverty in communities most impacted. Comic Relief US, also known as Comic Relief, Inc., is a registered U.S. 501(c)(3) public charity. For more information about Comic Relief US and its impact, visit www.comicrelief.org. Follow @ComicReliefUS on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.