The priority of the Community Foundation is to enable local giving for local needs in our county, and we are proud to award hundreds of grants each year to charities and community groups across the county. This week, our Director of Philanthropy Joe Crome reveals how we work with local donors who want to give something back to their communities.
I was delighted to take up my role at the Community Foundation for Surrey in December last year, having spent nearly 10 years working for local charities who have benefited from grants made by this very organisation. The Foundation has a strong reputation across the county, and last year we were very proud to award over £1.2million in grant funding, a sum which continues to grow each year, but where the money comes from is sometimes less understood.
‘Local Giving for Local Need’ really sums up the model of Community Foundations. The funding we award is made possible by the generosity of local people who want to support their community, and we work in partnership with them to ensure that their giving goes directly to causes they are passionate about. Donors who work with us are assured that our experience and local knowledge will connect them with projects and groups who are delivering incredible services on their doorstep.
So, what are the options for someone who is looking to become involved as a donor?
Our Bespoke Funds offer a personal service to individuals, families, businesses, and charitable trusts in Surrey who are looking to support local projects. Donors establish their own charitable fund under the umbrella of the Community Foundation for Surrey, and we work closely with them to understand their passions and values in order to match them with local causes. You can find some examples of these funds within our ‘Personal Funds’ page
Our team take care of the due diligence, financial and administrative burdens which can be associated with giving, ensuring that donors can simply enjoy the experience of giving back to their community. Many of our donors choose to work with us in this way as an alternative to establishing their own charitable trust, for example.
Typically, throughout the year we will liaise with our donors to present grant applications from local projects which are in keeping with their aims and criteria of their fund. Our donors decide where their money goes, and they can become as involved as they like, with the option of visiting projects, attending Community Foundation events throughout the year, and meeting with their designated fund manager.
To summarise, this is about helping donors make meaningful connections to local projects in a way which is easy and enjoyable for them! Many donors who work with us are delighted to discover and support inspiring local groups working on their doorstep, whom they perhaps may have not previously come across.
Collective giving is another great way to give with the Community Foundation for Surrey. Our collective funds, which include Area Funds for Boroughs, Districts and Villages, and Themed Funds, covering Sports, Arts, Mental Health, Environment and more, offer donors the chance to pool their giving into a combined fund to make it go even further. In the case of collective funds, a panel made up of donors, community members and Foundation staff will award grants on a regular basis to local causes which fit the criteria of the fund, and those who contribute to the fund will receive updates on projects supported on a regular basis. Please do have a look at our Themed Funds and Area Funds pages to find out more – donations to these funds are welcome on a rolling basis, and we currently are delighted to have match funding opportunities for our Mental Health Fund and Reigate & Banstead Community Fund.
Our Surrey Community Fund is another giving option for local donors. This fund allocates grants to vital local projects across the county which may fall through the gaps and not receive funding elsewhere, and donors can be assured that their giving is direct towards projects which most need it.
We are incredibly fortunate to work with an inspiring group of donors across the county, with our number of funds now standing at 81 and counting. The options above allow a range of different approaches to giving in Surrey, with the overall objective to direct long-term resources towards local needs in order to build stronger communities and change lives.
Joe will be writing more about our funds in future blog posts, including setting out our Collective Funds and the opportunities available. We would be delighted to hear from you if you are considering your local philanthropic giving in Surrey, Joe can be reached by calling 01483 478092 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
In the mean time, you may also like to read our Philanthropy brochure to see what our donors say about working with us.