Minister for the Civil Society, Rob Wilson, has pledged long term funding for thousands of small charities with around £110 million to help those most vulnerable.
The new charity funding scheme aimed at improving the lives of thousands across the country has a funding pot that is expected to grow to £120 million by March 2015. Funding will be invested and the money generated will be granted to thousands of small local charities. This particular form of funding enables contributions to local communities to continue for future generations.
The Minister attended a celebration event at the London Stock Exchange with supporters and businesses to recognise the milestone on Tuesday 2 December, marked “Giving Tuesday” (the day of global giving). He said:
“The Community First Endowment Match Challenge is a clever way of donating to charities. Thanks to this £110 million endowment, hundreds of local charities will benefit from this fund for many years to come.
“I’m also pleased to announce today an additional £2 million which is being made available to the Fund. This will encourage a further £4 million from individuals and businesses, enabling the Endowment Match Challenge to grow to £120 million by March next year.
“Britain has a long and proud tradition of generosity as a nation and it’s great to see over 700 organisations pledging their support for GivingTuesday. This day is about people giving back to a worthwhile cause, and I want to personally thank all the individual donors and businesses that have contributed towards making this Fund sustainable, helping to fund hundreds of life-changing projects in local communities.”
The fund, called the Community First Endowment Match Challenge, is a national programme where the central funding pot has been grown from individual and corporate donation. So far £70 million has been donated by members of the public and businesses, matched by £40 million from the government to make up the £110 million.
The money donated is invested ethically be specialist investment managers at CCLA. The returns on this investment are then granted to local charities across the UK that have been chosen by the original donor, which allows them to leave their investment in the endowment pot in perpetuity.
Started in 2010, the fund has granted £1.7 million to 762 charities across the country. With the new total, the fund is expected to increase the number of grants over the next financial year. The money raised each year will continue to grow over the programme’s lifetime will ensure a sustainable future source of funding for communities.
David Sheepshanks CBE DL, Chair of UK Community Foundations, said:
“We’re delighted with the success of the Community First programme and pleased that community foundations have been able to leverage and deploy this funding for maximum community benefit across the UK.
“The local causes that we have been able to support as a result are vital in the fabric of local community life and the people who are instrumental in effecting such significant local impact, are often unsung, unreported and, crucially, underfunded.
“The £100 million raised through Community First and held in endowment by community foundations will not only create income to support communities and their most pressing needs now but also provide ongoing funding well beyond the lifetime of any of us involved in the programme. The long term nature of these funds enables a socially responsible approach both toward the needs of today and those of our children, grandchildren and successive generations.”
Examples of projects funded include:
- A grant from the Miss Ruth Ascher Community First Fund was awarded to Readipop, an innovative music and arts charity, to work on programmes with older people including musical workshops, concerts and sing along sessions. Musical groups have performed at community festivals and events
- The Loveday Family Grassroots Fund awarded £3,000 to Crossroads Care West Kent this winter to not only organise a ‘Santa Special’ train ride for 18 young carers and their families, but also fund 3 Christmas parties – all of which included food, games and the chance to meet Santa and his elves.
John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, who is led the Giving Tuesday initiative in the UK, said:
“Giving Tuesday was all about shining a light on the fantastic work that charities do and the ways that people up and down the UK choose to give their time, money and support to causes close to their hearts. The Community First Fund shows just how much can be achieved when charities, businesses, government and individuals work together to give back to our communities.”
Words: Peter Cribley