Foundations Across the UK helping Philanthropists
County Durham Community Foundation recently announced the creation of a new £1mllion fund which will be focused on tackling social deprivation and creating jobs in County Durham.
This amazing act of generosity from Philanthropist Jonathan Ruffer is a great indication of his trust in the Community Foundation model and shows the possibilities for such organisations in Northern Ireland.
Investment banker Jonathan and his wife Jane made the decision to give County Durham Community Foundation the money to distribute on their behalf to cement their commitment to the local area.
The couple recently saved the Zurbaran paintings from being bought up and leaving the area with a £15million donation, and are restoring Auckland Castle with plans to develop it into a Christian Heritage Centre and a major tourist attraction.
Both have a love of County Durham and are passionate about supporting regeneration in deprived areas.
Jonathan, who was born in Stokesley near Middlesbrough believes the North East needs to sparkle again. Jonathan said:“I am keen to support and build teams that will improve social deprivation and empower people.
"You might say that County Durham Community Foundation is one of those teams and by allowing them - as the local experts - to reach the parts that need help most, that leaves me time to channel my energies into developing my Auckland Castle project.”
Although the Ruffers won’t be involved in the day-to-day decisions, the community foundation has developed programmes that match Jonathan and Jane’s charitable aims of helping people back into employment, raising aspirations and fulfilling potential - very much in line with County Durham Community Foundation’s core purpose.
Chief Executive of County Durham Community Foundation, Barbara Gubbins commented: “This is a great opportunity for us to look at the bigger picture, using Jonathan & Jane’s funding to do more strategic grant-making, whilst continuing to mix and match our other funds to make grants to voluntary-led groups who also vitally need our support.
“The combination of our programmes now makes us the largest grant-maker in County Durham.”
The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland offers individuals and businesses a similar opportunity and as an expert grant maker and community development organisation, the foundation has a wide depth of knowledge of local issues as well as the networks and people to address needs in communities across Northern Ireland.
Managing a number of different funds across a wide range of areas of interest including the elderly, children and young people, disabilities and the arts the foundation is in a unique position to help donors and philanthropists of all sizes to get their money working on the ground in Northern Ireland.
Fund Development Manager at the Community Foundation, Helen McKeever said: “Here at the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland we have been working with, and for, communities for over 30 years. We have a real understanding of what communities across Northern Ireland want and need.
“From our work in peacebuilding and post conflict to our work in social justice and our newly founded Women’s Fund we are at the forefront of making sure money gets to where it will have the biggest impact.
“We are learning that philanthropists are not just millionaires, they come from all walks of life and any amount of money, no matter how small, can make a real difference if it is managed in the right way and put in the right place”.
For more information on the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland and it’s work in developing philanthropy in Northern Ireland, please contact Helen McKeever.