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The Sunday Assembly gets some funding

Exciting news! The Sunday Assembly has received two honking great chunks of cash: one a pledge of up to £10 000 from Dr. Jonathan Tobert, the other a grant from the RSA Catalyst Fund. Mr. Tobert is a very clever scientist (he invented statins! (he hates it when I say that and says “Sanderson has a tendency to hyperbole” but, srsly, he was the lead scientist on the first research team to uncover one of the biggest life saving drugs of the late 20th century)) who loves what we do, and realizes that, if we want to be able to get other people to Sunday Assembly, then it will take some clams.

Jonathan says he sees it not just as giving, but as ‘venture philanthropy’, and: “Venture philanthropy to support social entrepreneurs, as in the case of SA, is exciting because it offers the opportunity to make a really big difference, possibly even the difference between success and failure. In the long term, SA will need to be self-sustaining, as churches are. (For example, the Anglican Church takes in about £1bn annually, mostly from collections at its 13,000 parishes.) In the short term, however, SA needs seed money and also seed skills. I’m fortunate to be able to help and excited to do so, and I hope many others will join me. Most congregants at the London SA chip in to the coffee can at the end of the service, and other supporters have already stepped forward to offer their services, funds or connections. But there can never be too much support, so if you like the SA idea and have something to offer, don’t hesitate to step forward!”

Dr. Tobert’s money will allow us to deal with boring start up costs that are REALLY useful, but very hard for a cash strapped micro-enterprise to sort out (for instance he is paying for us to gain 503(c) status in the US). On top of that there will still be cash left over to fund the The Sunday Assembly KickStarter Tour. Thus his seed capital will allow us to pay for the tour, that will help us raise money for the The Sunday Assembly Everywhere Toolkit and after that we’ll be fully sustainable (we say confidently).

MORE EXCITING CASH MONEY NEWS: The RSA have chosen to award us £1800 from their Catalyst Fund. This money will go to producing high quality videos that will form a key part of the Sunday Assembly Everywhere Pilot programme. (To be clear: RSA money allows us to do the pilot programme, JT will fund the KickStarter tour that will enable us to build the final Sunday Assembly Everywhere Toolkit (I feel this could be clearer but I have to go and get my eyes tested)).

Just as important is that the RSA will allow us to work with their Fellowship, across Britain. The Fellowship is an incredible network of social entrepreneurs, innovators and all round clever clogs. We hope to tap them up for speakers, organizers and anything else we can think of.

Here’s some text about RSA Catalyst.

This venture was supported by RSA Catalyst, which provides money and expertise to ideas led by RSA Fellows that aim to have a positive social impact. The RSA is a 250 year old charity committed to finding practical solutions to today’s social challenges. We inspire public discourse through 150 free public talks, screenings and debates each year; design and deliver new models to tackle social challenges focusing on education, enterprise and mobilising communities and; support individuals wanting to be part of the solution by fostering a connected community of 27,000 Fellows. Find out more at

Thank you so much to both the RSA and Jonathan Tobert. It is great that the RSA can see the value in The Sunday Assembly getting all up in the community vibe. With that in mind, over five times as much thanks to JT. Because you are not a funding body. You are not an organisation that received an application for us. You just heard about The Sunday Assembly, sent us an email and did something from the goodness of your heart. And that is super.