Credit: Olivia Crellin (above)

Social mobility organisation PressPad is looking to secure around £150k a year in donations through a new sister charity.

The PressPad Charitable Foundation was registered last week as a separate organisation and it will allow PressPad to apply for grants and new sources of funding that are only available to charities.

Its first donor was the Archewell Foundation, the non-profit created by Prince Harry and Megan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, after the pair's bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey sparked an industry-wide conversation about racism and bigotry in journalism.

This was one of a series of donations from Achewell to charities and news industry projects following the interview, focusing on mental health and racial equality. PressPad's mission is to diversify the media industry primarily through host mentorships, although the organisation had to focus on online masterclasses during the pandemic.

"There were so many times when we were looking at potential funding but you needed to be a charity to apply," says PressPad CEO Olivia Crellin.

"That's something that happens to social enterprises: you're caught in between."

Crellin confirmed that the donation was the first of many to come from a wide array of organisations but could not disclose the full amount received from Archewell, stating it was "a long way off" from its estimated £150k annual target.

That said, other donations pledged to PressPad in the past have sat on the shelf unclaimed because the organisation could not collect them unless it became a charity. PressPad can now reclaim those funds from the likes of Metro, which cannot donate to non-charitable bodies under its corporate social responsibility.

Despite the pandemic and social distancing which has made it impossible to put two people from different households under one roof, PressPad's core model will not change.

As a social enterprise, it will continue to offer host mentorships once it is safe for news organisations to recommence physical work experience. It will also try to pick up the sponsorships for its various initiatives which fell through at the start of the pandemic.

In the meantime, the charity has a specific remit of work. It will provide educational webinars, training and networking sessions, much like PressPad Remote video series. In the future, it will provide accommodation and travel bursaries to applicants and will be made available, though not exclusively, on PressPad's upcoming 'marketplace' website.

To do all of this though, PressPad also needs to build out its core team, not least because Crellin has recently taken up a new position as head of multimedia at Open Democracy, after leaving her reporting role at BBC News.

This is where grant funding will prove to be a significant boost. Ultimately, £150k a year in charitable donations would allow PressPad to grow at a sustainable rate.

"Growth is all about timing and you don't want to get ahead of yourself. We will have to scale according to the funding we have," Crellin says.

"But we're a small and agile startup with almost zero overheads. We're looking to do what we can, and in the short term, that means bringing back our PressPad Remote programme which is what we crowdfunded for. The money from Archewell will reinforce that and we'll make some new hires which we will announce shortly."

PressPad follows in the footsteps of other journalistic organisation like The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) that was among the first to have created a trust that finances part of its work through philanthropic donations.

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