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Tuesday, 22 September 2020


What is a community foundation and how can I get involved?

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CHARITABLE giving is important to many individuals, businesses, and brands. However, deciding where to donate your time, money or resources can be less straightforward than the act of giving.

Community foundations have a commitment to making a difference to the people’s lives and places they serve. They bring communities together by connecting people and organisations who want to make a difference on the ground, as well as fund great ideas to ensure some of the biggest issues facing communities can be tackled.

Here, Rosemary Macdonald, CEO of UK Community Foundations – the national membership organisation for the UK’s 46 accredited community foundations – explains what exactly a community foundation is and how you can get involved.

What is a community foundation?

Local charities are essential to making a daily difference to millions of people across the UK. Yet, among a whole host of wonderful national charities, local, smaller ones can often go unnoticed, getting lost in the crowd.

Community foundations ensure the charitable giving of businesses, individuals and other partners go to the organisations making a big impact on tackling issues at a local level.

We work with a range of donors including businesses, individuals and other local stakeholders to build funds to distribute as grants to local charities working to benefit the community. Strong local knowledge which has been built up through years of needs analysis and convening key partners, means that community foundations are in the best possible position to ensure the funds are distributed in a way that will ensure the greatest local impact.

UK Community Foundations is the membership organisation for the 46 accredited community foundations across the UK, and collectively we have given out over £1 billion in grants to charities, community groups and individuals.

We work with local charities day in, day out supporting communities where they need it the most. For example, in response to the current pandemic, the National Emergencies Trust (NET) launched a Coronavirus Appeal to support grassroots charities and groups who work to support some of society’s most vulnerable, with our network of community foundations being the main distribution partner.

Shortlisted for Charity Partnership of the Year by a leading industry awards scheme, the impact of this appeal has been incredible. In just a few weeks of launching on the 18th of March, community foundations had distributed over £8 million to 2,514 local charities and groups at the forefront of the community-led response to the pandemic in the UK – and this number continues to climb. As of September 2020, our network had made nearly 10,000 grants and distributed £65 million through the NET Appeal.

How can I get involved?

Your local community foundation website should outline all the ways you can get involved – whether this is with a one-off donation, via corporate giving, or becoming a ‘friend’ by giving regularly. You will be able to work closely with the foundation to ensure you know where your money or time is going and see the first hand the impact your support has on the community.

There are so many reasons why you should give to your local community foundation – from being able to trust the money is going to the best possible place to being able to give where you live supporting small,  but vital organisations. While community foundations come in all shapes and sizes, something they share is the commitment to helping those who need it the most.

For more information and to find your local community foundation please visit: https://www.ukcommunityfoundations.org/our-network.

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