16th Oct 2017

The Community Foundation is helping people with shared passions to pool giving – of their money, time and talent – so they can collectively make a bigger difference.

Northern Learning Trust is a charity which raises aspirations and develops people’s skills. Its Chief Executive, Avril Gibson, was invited to speak at the Community Foundation’s annual Women in Philanthropy lunch. It was a chance to raise much-needed funds, as well as awareness among the audience of professional women assembled. “Family learning is important to support children in their transition to adulthood,” Avril explains. “Parents with a low level of numeracy or literacy are often unable to support their child’s learning. So, by the time the child reaches formal education, they are at a disadvantage to their peers and may never catch up. Family learning breaks this cycle at its source, giving parents the support and skills they need so their children get the best possible start in life.” Avril’s inspiring presentation secured £4,800 for the Trust, with a further £14,000 from the event going to the Foundation’s Women’s Fund to support other projects.

A bigger audience still is getting the chance to boost Newcastle’s Chinese New Year celebrations during 2018’s Year of the Dog. The city’s Chinese Festivity Group is part of Crowdfund Newcastle Culture, an online programme available through a partnership between Newcastle City Council, the Community Foundation and Crowdfunder. Sow Fong, a community volunteer with CFG says: “We are looking to revitalise the Chinese New Year celebrations with additional funding and a special New Year Parade and also to help develop two new women’s dragon dance and drumming groups.” The crowdfunding approach is different to traditional fundraising in that it can benefits both the giver and the project. Donors make pledges and, if a project meets its target, payment is taken. To attract givers, organisations can offer ‘rewards’ like art, events, merchandise or tickets

Doing good together isn’t only about money. The Foundation’s Community Ventures project sees a group of volunteer ‘partners’ provide pro bono consultancy to local groups. St Paul’s in North Tyneside is one that is benefitting, working with Community Ventures partner, Anthony Woods-Waters CEO of Building Futures North East. As a result, they have secured £10,000 from the Foundation to develop a community garden into an amenity offering opportunities for local residents, schools and youth groups. It is also enabling St Paul’s to deliver horticulture sessions for the community, grow and sell fruit and vegetables, and host activities and environmental events. Anthony says “I’m an alumnus of Community Ventures myself, having been mentored by another partner, Pamela Denham. In St Pauls I saw an opportunity to ‘pay it forward’ by sharing some of what I learned with a local charity that wants to make a difference. The Community Foundation plays a vital role in brokering these relationships and enabling the volunteer partners to have an impact by working together with the groups we help.”

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