The Blue Thread
A Family Foundation
The Blue Thread is the Grabiner family foundation. The foundation was established with resources gained over the last 30 years through work in the media and private equity industries. The family are keen to use their good fortune to help causes in areas of particular interest to them including community support, fair immigration and justice for women.
These are all matters that are close to our hearts and we regard it as a special privilege to be able to assist great people and organisations working for positive change in these areas. Hannah Hoare joined the Blue Thread in early 2020 as Executive Director to help build the family's vision into reality.
The Blue Thread was established in 2009 and is registered with the Charity Commission with number 1130704.
Why ‘The Blue Thread’
Our approach to philanthropy is based on the Jewish obligation to pursue justice by acting ethically in one's personal and professional life.
In the Hebrew Bible, the Children of Israel were instructed to wear tassels on the corners of their garments, and for each tassel to include a blue thread. The purpose of this blue thread was to catch the eye, such that the very sight of it acts as a reminder of all God's commandments, perhaps the most important being "love your neighbour as yourself".
We named our charitable organisation The Blue Thread to echo that eternal reminder to do good in the world. We continue to be inspired by our own Jewish tradition to support others who are doing good in the world too.
How we work
We are a small and friendly team and we know that many of the organisations we support have small teams too. We take a relational approach, getting to know those we work with and building over time. We hope to offer an open door, so that our partners feel able to let us know how they’re getting on, share any challenges they might be facing, and seek support if they need it.
We primarily work proactively to seek out organisations whose mission aligns with us. By taking this approach we hope to avoid wasting organisations’ time where we will not be able to fund them. However if you think your work aligns with us, you can submit an enquiry via our form here.
We aim to keep bureaucracy to a minimum and to respect the time that partners take to engage with us, keeping forms and formal reporting to a minimum. We regularly seek feedback to help improve our processes and approach. For example, we recently updated our contact form in response to suggestions from those who have completed it. We appreciate colleagues taking the time to suggest ways we can improve.
If you are a funder or donor who shares our aims we would love to talk to you about potential partnership working. Please see how to get in touch below.
Current Projects & Funding Opportunities
The Blue Thread makes small grants to organisations whose mission aligns with ours – please take note of the communities we support, below. Grants are generally unrestricted, as we believe this is the most trusting way of supporting our partners. We mostly reach out to organisations directly, to save organisations wasting time on failed applications. However if you think your work aligns with ours please get in touch via our form here. We aim to reply within 1 month.
Communities we support
We are mainly focused on supporting organisations in the UK that work with:
· Women experiencing disadvantage and abuse
· Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers
We also support organisations in the Jewish Community in the UK, and in Israel. From time to time we also support other partners and communities. We are also interested in organisations whose work and communities intersects those areas mentioned above.
What we look for
We favour organisations led ‘by and for’ their communities, recognising both the value of expertise by experience and the importance of supporting those not traditionally represented. We focus on supporting small and local organisations, and are happy to support 'business as usual' work as well as new ideas, and people/organisations who are just starting out.
We regularly ask our partners and grantees to recommend other organisations they think are great to widen our networks and share our grantmaking power.
The Blue Thread Big Ideas Fund
In autumn 2020 we launched The Big Ideas Fund, offering young people aged 16-25 up to £3,000 plus mentoring and network support for tikkun olam and social action projects. Please see the Big Ideas Fund website for more info on future rounds.
Responding to Covid-19
We recognised that the Covid-19 pandemic created significant need among the communities we support.
We provided rapid support to organisations meeting this need and supporting those most acutely affected. We are very grateful to our partners for their dedication and action during an incredibly challenging time.
We are signatory of London Funders’ Covid-19 statement. You can find more about this here.
Hannah’s blog on power for Relationships Project
It is really important to us that we develop a relational approach to working with our partners, building shared relationships based on equality of regard. Maintaining a positive and fair balance of power in our work is both crucial to achieving our shared goals and in line with our values and approach. Hannah explored our thinking and work in this space in a blog for Relationships Project in June 2020.
You can read the blog and learn more about Relationships Project here: http://relationshipsproject.org/on-power/
Hannah’s article in Philanthropy Impact on balance in grantmaking
Foundations can often be closed ivory towers, requiring partners to jump through many hoops of application in return for very restricted types of support. At The Blue Thread we try to work in ways which build better relationships with our grantees and support them as far as possible to focus on meeting their grantees’ needs rather than ours as funders. We explore some of the steps we’re taking towards this in this article, and invite others to join us on our journey.
You can read the article in the Autumn 2020 Issue (Part 1 of 4) of Philanthropy Impact Magazine here: https://www.philanthropy-impact.org/sites/default/files/pdf/philanthropy-impact-magazine-issue-24-p1.pdf
Hannah's article for IVAR on unrestricted funding
In early November 2021, IVAR will be publishing research into why and how foundations give unrestricted funding. To whet the appetite, they asked Hannah to share our approach.
Blogs & thought pieces continue to be added.
"If I am only for myself, who am I?"
Hannah has worked across the third sector. She started her career at the Department for Education, working on a range of policy areas including Free Schools, school funding, and with Ministerial and analytic teams.
Moving on to Social Finance, Hannah worked with local and national government, charities and social enterprises, and grantmaking trusts and foundations to develop effective responses to tricky social issues including health-related unemployment, looked after children and adoption. Much of her work was within the Impact Incubator, a partnership with grantmaking trusts and foundations, responding to challenges including tackling perpetrators of domestic abuse, enabling addiction recovery and supporting children leaving care.
She also has experience setting up a new charity and developing its fundraising and programming strategy.
Part of the Community
The Blue Thread is a proud member of
Institute for Voluntary Action Research
The Blue Thread have signed up to IVAR’s commitments for open and trusting grantmaking.
The Association of Charitable Foundations