History of Community Foundations
The first community foundation was established in 1914 in Cleveland in America. Philanthropy pioneer Fred Goff discovered that many of his predecessors had left benevolent wills and significant sums of money to benefit causes that had since become obsolete. He realised that a better way to ensure a community’s future was to create a fund that was held by its citizens in perpetuity, to be used at their discretion to address the needs of the day.
The Cleveland Foundation is a superb example of how well the community foundation model can work. It has raised close to $1bn in donations, has made grants of over $1.75bn, and now has over $2bn in endowment investments.
UK Community Foundations
The Dorset Community Foundation is part of a UK wide charitable network of 47 other community foundations across the country managed by the umbrella organisation UK Community Foundations. Their role is to quality accredit community foundations to standards endorsed by the Charity Commission.
They also provide advice and support to member community foundations and help UK-wide clients such as Big Lottery, Rolls Royce and Comic Relief channel funding, via community foundations, to where it’s needed most.
- The total endowment managed by community foundations in 2014 was £450 million, an increase of 18% on the previous year
- The network made £65 million worth of grants in 2013-14
- Community Foundations collectively manage 2,300 funds on the behalf of individuals, families, companies and statutory partners
The recent speech of Baroness Pasher (UKCF President) in the House of Lords best describes the movement:
What I like about community foundations is the thinking that underpins them. It is about local engagement, local giving and bringing together donors and doers to support local communities to meet local needs. It is about building local social capital, inclusiveness, investing in local communities, empowering local communities and valuing community-led solutions to local issues.