PHILANTHROPIST and leading businessman Steve Morgan has extended his campaign to help cash-strapped charities through Covid-19 until the end of September.
The founder of housebuilder Redrow launched the Covid-19 Emergency Fund in March for an initial 12 weeks through his Steve Morgan Foundation, which is a big supporters of All Together NOW!
The campaign has already handed out in excess of almost 600 awards across Merseyside, North Wales and Cheshire totalling more than £5.5m. Another £1m has also been committed in match-funding to Cheshire Community Foundation’s Covid-19 Response Fund.
Steve said: “I’m proud of how the Covid-19 Emergency Fund has supported those charities that have stayed open during the pandemic to help the most vulnerable members of society but the job’s not done. A lot of front line charities are struggling financially and that’s why I’m extending the Emergency Fund until the end of September.
“At the same time the Steve Morgan Foundation will be restarting some of our other much-needed work, including opening up applications for our Enable Fund to provide support for disabled people who are in financial hardship. That need has not gone away.”
The former owner of Wolverhampton Wanderers said the last three months had been among the most challenging for everyone.
“I thought I’d seen most things in my lifetime but Covid-19 has been unprecedented,” he said. “It’s completely ripped up the rule book.
“We’ve helped more than one million people already but the needs changed as it evolved. For example we had 165 applications for money in week one and just 35 in week seven.
“We had hundreds of requests to cover the salaries of charities that closed their doors during the pandemic but we had to say no because it was specifically for charities that had carried on helping the vulnerable.”
Steve said there were no new restrictions on who could apply for the new round of funding but said they had to reflect what was needed.
“The emergency food banks have done an amazing job and that need is still there for a lot of people,” said the father-of-six. “But there’s also a growing problem of mental health because of the lockdown and tackling that has to be priority.
“We’ve already made second awards to some charities but organisations that haven’t previously applied to us can submit an application. I’m not putting a set amount on what we’ll give but the Foundation can’t help individuals or charities outside our catchment area of Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales.”
Steve, who set up the Steve Morgan Foundation nearly 20 years ago and has already donated a total of £300m in that time, said charities needed to be entrepreneurial in how they raise money as Covid-19 continues to restrict their ability to fundraise.
Highlighting the work of the type 1 diabetes charity JDRF he said: “We pledged to match £150,000 if JDRF Patron’s Club appeal raised £150,000 first. At the last count they’ve raised £242,000 so we increased that to £392,000. Not every charity will be able to the same but it shows what’s possible.”
His philanthropy has been widely praised but he preferred instead to highlight the work of Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford in helping supply three million meals to vulnerable people during the pandemic.
“I went public with the Emergency Fund in the first place to hopefully inspire other business people to do their bit,” he said. “Many have been very generous with donations whilst other people have done some extraordinary deeds to help those most in need. I think what Marcus Rashford has done is brilliant. He stood up to be counted. Ultimately this is all about helping vulnerable people.”