Charity begins at home

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Ready to give it away: (from l) Steve Adams, SCF Director of Operations, Paul Jay, Training Co-ordinator of Support Staffordshire (Stafford and District), Ray Sutherland, Stafford Borough Mayor, Elizabeth Stevenson, SCF Donor Relations Manager and Norman Jones, Stafford Borough Council

All contributions will be gratefully received – this was the message at the 30th September launch of Staffordshire Community Foundation’s Stafford Borough Community Fund.  With a start-up capital of £60,000, the fund hopes to start making its first awards from late 2015.

   The Staffordshire Community Foundation is an independent charity dedicated to strengthening local communities through grants that make a genuine difference to local people’s lives. “If you donate money to a Community Fund, we will ensure it will be spent within three miles of you,” said Steve Adams, SBC’s Director of Operations.

Operating county-wide throughout the UK, Community Foundations place their capital into professionally managed permanent endowment funds which only invest in ethical shares.  The capital is never touched and grants are made from a proportion of the interest – the rest being invested to ensure fund growth.

Started in 2009 as a Staffordshire-wide scheme to bring funding even closer to local communities, SCF is setting up separate funds in each of Staffordshire’s nine boroughs and districts.

“We can make a small amount of capital go a long way,” explained Elizabeth Stevenson, SCF Donor Relations Manager.  “For example, the Lichfield Community Fund which launched in 2010 with only £25,000 has now grown to £250,000 and has already made grants of £25,000.”

An added boost is that for each £1 donated, SCF obtains 25p Gift Aid. Add to that 50p matched funding, deduct 1p for administration, so for every £1 donated, £1.74 goes to local charities.

While individual donations are welcomed, SCF is particularly seeking contributions from local corporate donors. “Donating via SCF keeps funds in the local economy, which is good for business,” Elizabeth pointed out.  “Giving locally enhances a business’s reputation and could increase its employees’ motivation and performance.”

“Donations need not necessarily be financial, but in the form of donated goods or employee volunteering time,” she continued. “But for donations above £10,000, providing the purpose comes within our mission, the donor can stipulate what their money should be used for.”

Staffordshire Community Foundation are based on Staffordshire University’s Campus at BL 157, Blackheath Lane, Stafford ST18 0AD. To contact them either about donating or applying for a future grant, phone 01785 353789, email office@staffsfoundation.org.uk or visit their website at www.staffsfoundation.org.uk