Introducing The Soho House Foundation

Introducing The Soho House Foundation | Soho House

Our new independent charity has launched with an aim to fund and empower creatives worldwide – here’s how to get involved

Wednesday 8 February 2023   By Anastasiia Fedorova

Soho House was founded in 1995 as a hub for the creative community, honouring our core values: a free-flowing exchange of ideas, openness and mutual support. Almost three decades in, these values haven’t changed – we believe that creative expression is for everyone, regardless of their background and circumstances.

Soho House already has an ESG programme, House Foundations, which includes a number of social impact programmes, such as Soho Fellowship and Soho Mentorship, designed to support the next generation of creatives. This year, we are launching The Soho House Foundation, a charity issuing grants globally to fund and empower creatives from underrepresented and lower socioeconomic backgrounds. 

To launch The Soho House Foundation, we asked our global teams to nominate charities that are doing brilliant work in their local communities to help young people through creativity. Soho House has pledged to make an annual donation, contributed as a portion of Soho House membership revenue, so that our members around the world can help with the development of the next generation of creative talent. 

The board of trustees for the Foundation includes Nick Jones, Founder of Soho House; Louise McCabe, cofounder of the ASOS Foundation; Haseena Farid, cofounder of The Women of Colour Global Network, and Mike Penrose, former CEO of UNICEF and cofounder of The Sustainability Group – alongside three members of Soho House’s global membership team, Markus Anderson, Kimani Roquemore and Vanessa Xuereb. 

To mark the launch, Soho House donated £100,000, which has been distributed as grants to four organisations working in communities local to the Houses. We believe in a world where being a successful creative is a viable life choice, not just a privileged one. Below, you can read about our charity partners making this reality. 

The 2023 grant programme is aimed at increasing access to the arts and creative industries for people who face economic or other barriers to inclusion. We’d like to hear from charitable organisations who are making an impact in this area, in communities where we have members. To find out more about how to apply for a grant and who is eligible, see below. Members can share this link with any charities who might benefit from a grant from The Soho House Foundation. 

Grant applications
The Soho House Foundation will also be the charity partner of Soho House Festival 2023, alongside War Child UK. 

Here, we asked The Soho House Foundation charity partners about their work and what they’re hoping to achieve through the collaboration.  

Inner-City Arts, Los Angeles 
Nominated by Guiliana Dadouk at Soho Warehouse 

Located in the heart of Skid Row, Inner-City Arts focuses on empowering Los Angeles children, teens and the community through the power of the arts. Elementary, middle and high-school students come to Inner-City Arts to work with professional teaching artists in well-equipped studios, receiving hands-on instruction in a range of subject areas within the visual, performing and media arts.

‘Inner-City Arts and The Soho House Foundation share a passion for community and creativity. The vibrant community that Soho House fosters is a perfect match with our engaged group of artists, creatives, educators, entrepreneurs, executives, and arts supporters,’ says Alma Villegas of Inner-City Arts. ‘Through this partnership with The Soho House Foundation, our students will develop a range of projects: from high-school Work of Art students creating and selling their own T-shirts and art products, to multimedia and design projects by middle and high-school Institutes students in our Institutes.’

‘We aim to widen our reach of volunteers, supporters, fans and creatives interested in participating in philanthropy, and give back to our most vulnerable and impressionable youth through the arts.’

School Ground Sounds, London 
Nominated by Joe Eva at Little House Balham

Soho House first partnered with School Ground Sounds in 2022 to mark the opening of Little House Balham in south London. Back in August, Anthony Olanipekun, School Ground Sounds’ chief executive, talked to us about the importance of giving young people access to making music – especially in south London where it’s deeply woven into the fabric of the community.

‘Partnering with The Soho House Foundation is huge for our organisation, as it indicates a step in the right direction at the right time. We are currently transitioning into a new chapter from School Ground Sounds into Grounded Sounds, and reshaping some of our programmes and opportunities for young people in the community we serve. This partnership shows that the creative industry can provide support in meaningful ways,’ says Olanipekun. 

‘We are using the grant to further develop a programme we have called “Spotlight”, which provides aspiring artists with creative workshops, seminars and masterclasses to develop their artistic and music-making skills, in addition to giving them insights into the music industry as young professionals. This programme covers topics such as songwriting, performance techniques, releasing music, radio, A&R, publishing, and more. In turn, this leads to mentoring, internships and performance opportunities following the programme in partnership with music industry organisations such as Live Nation and 0207 Def Jam. We hope to continue working with The Soho House Foundation to create a legacy of artists who are given an opportunity to thrive and go on to support the next generation.’

Happy Feet Home, Mumbai 
Nominated by Kannan Aiyer at Soho House Mumbai

Established in 2014, Happy Feet Home aims to provide free emotional, psycho-social, educational and nutritional support to children and young adults with life-threatening and life-limiting illnesses – to make sure they lead happy and empowered lives. 

‘Our partnership with Soho House Mumbai has thrived for more than a year. The journey has just begun, and it’s encouraging now to be working with the foundation. The Soho House Foundation understands the nature of our work: not only helping us with our fundraisers and organising events for the children, but also offering internship and mentorship programmes. This restores faith, grows aspiration and reclaims a sense of normalcy within our children, as they focus on their careers and livelihood,’ says Zarna Jain of Happy Feet Home. 

‘We work towards helping them and their families live as normal a life as possible. This includes several programmes: educational, psychological, healthcare and hygiene. We understand the goals and dreams of our children and then find ways around it, supporting them in enrolling for relevant courses. Working with The Soho House Foundation will allow us to fund creative courses, like photography, cricket, dance training, makeup, capoeira, fashion design, and many more.’ 

Jeugdfond Sport & Cultuur, Amsterdam
Nominated by Rebecca Donnison at Soho House Amsterdam

Jeugdfonds Sport & Cultuur (or Youth Fund Sport & Culture) believes that that every child should get opportunities to do something they enjoy, regardless of financial obstacles – be it sports, performance, music or other creative activities. 

‘It is not self-evident for children from low-income families to participate in cultural activities, and we are there to encourage these families, introduce them to various activities and pay the contribution. In many cases it is a whole new world that opens for these children. Not only because they get the feeling that they can also participate, but because new social networks are gained outside of home and school. It does so much for the social development and education of the child beyond their education, family life and familiar neighbourhood,’ says Elvira d’Agrella, Cultural Coordinator. 

‘Partnering with The Soho House Foundation brings awareness within the wider group of young professionals who can identify with the purpose we are pursuing, and may also identify or reflect with the target group we serve. It’s important that we continue raising awareness about the challenges children from lower income families face.’ 

The Soho House Foundation has been registered as a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) since 1 June 2022, registered with charity number 1199179