Day 3. From grant recipient to donor… the benefits of working with your local Community Foundation

31st July 2019

As part of our £10 million campaign celebrating the funding milestone that has supported charities and community groups across the county, we’re really pleased to share this blog post from the Kaye Family Fund, who established their Fund with us in 2008 and which has to date awarded over £340,000 to support local young people. 

Thank you for writing such a fantastic blog for us…

Community Foundations have been active in the UK for over 30 years, with some of the first ones being created in Bristol and Newcastle.

Our family’s involvement started back in 1988. Our daughter Deb had got involved with a lunch club for older people where she lived in Bristol. It was based in the local church hall and was facing closure due to a lack of funds. A small group of local people rose to the challenge of funding a new future for the project and the local community foundation provided the first grant – paying for a new cooker and stainless steel kitchen tops that would enable the kitchen to meet hygiene standards.

That first grant meant so much to the group – giving Deb and the others the confidence that they were doing something worthwhile and worth funding. Over the next few years, that small capital grant was followed by funding for salaries from bigger funders, and then rolling funding from the local council and NHS in recognition of the valuable work it did in helping older people to keep living at home and part of their local community. Times and needs may have changed, but there is still a regular lunch club in that church hall.

Deb stayed involved with the Community Foundation long after her involvement with the day centre came to an end. First as a volunteer doing grant assessments on secondment from her day job as a chartered accountant, then as a regular donor and ultimately as a fund holder.

When the Community Foundation for Surrey started some years later in 2005, as a family we saw the opportunity to help make a difference to the lives of children and young people nearer to home and set up the Kaye Family Fund. Living on the borders of Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire, the Fund offers grants to groups within a 20 radius for “positive activities” such as sport, craft or even just the opportunity of a time out. Over the years, we have funded everything from bagpipes, to the new High Ropes course setup at Walton Firs Charity. Almost all of these grants have been for projects or activities that were brought to our notice through the Community Foundation for Surrey, and the open access grants programme which is at the heart of their work.

One of the projects which we have consistently supported is the summer activities programme organised by Surrey Young Carers, a charity providing support and respite to young carers under the age of 18 through age appropriate activity days and events. There is great value for these young people to meet their peers, share experiences and build friendships, which in turn increases their resilience and ability to deal with their caring responsibilities.

Working with the Community Foundation for Surrey has been an easy and fun thing for the family to do together. Giving through the Foundation enables gift aid to be recovered on all donations, regardless of whether the project itself has charitable status. The funds are managed as part of a large portfolio of investments helping to increase their value. Each quarter we are sent details of a number of prospective grants, including an assessment from Foundation’s grants panel. The income that the fund has earned is used to make the grants; a smaller amount of funding also goes to help keep the Foundation running and doing its invaluable work of matching wonderful local groups and projects to local sources of funding.

In short, our 30 year odyssey with Community Foundations has given us tremendous pleasure from being able to positively impact upon the work of many worthy organisations, and through them on countless individuals. We would encourage other prospective donors to think about setting up a similar scheme with their local Community Foundation – it’s an appealing solution to the question of how best to ‘give back’ where the satisfaction of making a difference definitely outweighs the negligible time taken to do the paperwork.

These grants really do reach the places that other funding often doesn’t – just like that stainless steel cooker over 30 years ago.

Another project supported by the Kaye Family Fund – Walton Firs Charity, for a High Ropes Course

To find out more about the £10 million we have awarded to support charities and community groups across the county, watch our video on YouTube HERE!