Authors: Sarah Macshane, Zahed Amanullah, Moustafa Ayad, Tim Hulse
Published: 4 June 2019
The Innovation Fund to Counter Hate and Extremism was launched in late 2017 to support civil society as they work to prevent the rise of hate and extremism online and in communities. Over the course of 2018, ISD managed this first-of-its-kind pilot programme, funded and supported by Google.org, and helped deliver innovative solutions to hate and extremism across the UK. This fund was designed to support new educational approaches, unique community projects, and cutting-edge technologies, enabling a more effective, innovative, and targeted set of civil society responses to the challenges of polarisation, hate and extremism. Rather than dictating project themes, grantees were invited to propose projects they felt would address the challenge of hate and extremism based on their community knowledge and lived local realities. This community-led response was designed to build on ISD’s understanding regarding how best to leverage both community insight and action. More than 230 UK-based organisations responded to our call for applications in late 2017 and early 2018, with projects valued at more than £15 million and with 22 original local and national initiatives funded across the country. Grants ranged from £8,000 to £100,000 for 6 month and 12 month project durations, all completed by 31 December 2018. From educational programmes using virtual reality, to boxing workshops engaging youth in historically marginalised neighbourhoods, as well as campaigns for bystander responses to hate crimes, successful grantees demonstrated the breadth of expertise and innovation that has always existed within civil society. Google.org and ISD hope that this funding approach and the delivery mechanisms marks the beginning of greater civil society efforts – supported by governments, foundations, and the private sector.