Resolve, Return, Reimagine: how Laudes Foundation is responding to COVID-19


Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Laudes Foundation has been working to understand partner needs and deliver support as quickly and effectively as possible to partner organisations around the world.  


We also recognise that this is a crisis with far-reaching and long-term impacts and have developed a three-phase COVID-19 response – Resolve, Return, and Reimagine and Reform – that focuses not just on the immediate emergency, but on future action to address structural issues of inequality and injustice brought into sharp focus by this health and economic crisis.  


Our immediate response: Resolve 


Listening to our partners, at the end of March it became clear that this virus was going to have a devastating impact on both lives and livelihoods. The first phase, Resolve, was about the initial and urgent response to the pandemic, supporting both partners and their beneficiaries to confront the pandemic. 


Laudes Foundation signed the global Philanthropy Pledge and teams started working together to mobilise a response. In April, we extended our existing Emergency Fund, previously available to partners facing political insecurity, to partners in need of support during the pandemic.  


Within 10 days of launching, 88 percent of the Emergency Fund was allocated, with 70 percent going to grassroots organisations in places like India, Bangladesh, Brazil and Mexico. Many of these organisations work directly with people who’ve been left without jobs or income because of national lockdowns and restrictions on industry.  


With nearly all the funds dispersed, nearly 65 percent was used to provide direct support for communities in the form of essential food and medical supplies benefitting an estimated 500,000 people. The rest is helping partners cover general operating costs and workplace adaptation to keep them working through the crisis and beyond.  


How we’ve allocated our Emergency Fund: 

  • EUR 3.3 million spent 

  • 70% through grassroots orgs 

  • 56 partners supported 

  • 500K beneficiaries 

  • EUR 4.0m leveraged 


As well as our Emergency Fund, we converted EUR 1.5 million of support to Save the Children to create safe and healthy spaces for children in a number of European countries, in partnership with C&A. We also committed EUR 1 million to a COVID response fund for workers and families, created by an alliance of human rights foundations: FORGE.  


Laudes Foundation has also diverted an additional EUR 500,000 to support women’s right organisations seeking to promote gender protections and inclusion in the context of the COVID-19 response. Overall, Laudes Foundation has leveraged 8.6 percent of its annual budget to the immediate crisis response, while also catalysing support from other aligned organisations through our actions.  


Unlocking further funding through our actions:  

  • EUR 80,000 early contribution to GoodWeave’s Child and Worker Protection Fund helped unlock another EUR 165,000 

  • EUR 100,000 early contribution to Freedom Fund’s Emergency Response Fund to offer immediate small-scale funding to some 100 frontline partners helped catalyse EUR 2 million in additional funding  

  • EUR 245,000 support to ASA in India enabled their staff to help smallholder farmers access EUR 4.8 million in wage funding via the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA); unlocked EUR 165,000 from other donors; and catalysed EUR 1 million from financial institutions in working capital loans  


Transitioning to a new normal: Return 


As many countries begin to reopen and the crisis enters a new phase – from immediate emergency to ongoing management – Laudes Foundation is entering a second phase in its response: Return. 


Our focus is now pivoting to more medium-term actions that address some of the more structural issues associated with inequality and injustice. This includes providing core support to the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose to influence policy makers in their COVID-19 response and crafting longer-term approaches for the transition to a new economy.  


Partners are moving into a new phase of crisis management too and we continue to support them and their beneficiaries during this transition. ASA, a long time partner in India has been supporting farmers to build resilience against market shocks. This includes helping them procure materials at reasonable cost, access lower interest rates and peer-to-peer loans, and shield them from high risk exposure. ASA has also leveraged Laudes Foundation’s core support to link communities to the national employment scheme and help migrant and seasonal workers find alternative income sources as the textile industry takes time to recover.  


Looking ahead: Reimagine and Reform 


The third phase – Reimagine and Reform – is a long-term approach that explores how Laudes Foundation can fund initiatives that accelerate the transition to a progressive new economy. We believe that a global economic system that values all people and respects nature is both less exposed to future pandemics and viruses, and more resilient in the face of them.  


Our long terms efforts include advocacy work and forging partnerships with influential platforms to – among other things – raise awareness and promote dialogue on new economic models, support efforts to enforce mandatory human rights due diligence, and ensure workers are at the centre of just transition policies.