May 28, 2020

Beyond crisis - preparing for long-term change

In the context of the current crisis, the deadline for applications to the ESCF has been extended to 11th September 2020, acknowledging the challenges and pressures that so many across Europe are currently experiencing.


European Social catalyst Fund GENIO

By Madeleine Clarke, Lead on the European Social Catalyst Fund and Executive Director, Genio

There is much emphasis on ensuring that we emerge from the current crises with a sustainable and digital European economy. Many see the opportunity to move both the green and the technology agenda forward at an accelerated pace. Similarly, we need to consider how the social economy emerges which, not only should be aligned with these priorities, but should also be based on evidence-based solutions to meeting the needs of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people. The COVID-19 crisis has already exposed devastating flaws in many traditional services provided to vulnerable populations; for example, care homes and other residential facilities. We need not to just recover what will be lost by way of responses to vulnerable populations but to emerge with better more fit-for-purpose models that enable those who need support to live as valued and participating members of their communities. In particular the provision of care and support to enable people to remain in their communities should be prioritised.

The European Social Catalyst Fund (ESCF) is a new initiative poised to help meet some of these challenges by finding the best evidence-based innovations to reach those in need. The ESCF has been established and co-funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, Genio (Ireland), the Robert Bosch Stiftung (Germany) and the King Baudouin Foundation (Belgium). There is currently a pan-European call open to identify evidence-based solutions to social challenges drawn from the SDGs and European Pillar of Social Rights. Finding solutions that are already tried and tested is vital to prepare for the post-COVID-19 scenario. Successful applicants will receive financial and capacity building support to develop plans to scale social service innovations that are underpinned by robust evidence of success. Applications are anticipated from collaborations of public, private (philanthropic and social impact investment) and non-profit actors who can together plan significant scaling of successful approaches.

In the context of the current crisis, the deadline for applications to the ESCF has been extended to 11th September 2020, acknowledging the challenges and pressures that so many across Europe are currently experiencing. This will also allow more time for recognising and reflecting on what are appropriate and creative responses to the emerging implications of the crisis.

Further details on the fund and the application process can be found at www.euscf.eu

Photo: Madeleine Clarke, ESCF lead and Executive Director of Genio speaking at the launch of the ESCF in Philanthropy House, Brussels January 2020.

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