31st Jan 2020

Inaugural Giving Network event

Anyone can be a philanthropist. That’s a key belief at the Community Foundation. So, in 2018, it launched an initiative to bring together and inspire a new generation of generous people. One year later, members of the new Giving Network are supporting four local charities tackling some of the most pressing issues in communities.

The Giving Network brings together young professionals who donate at least £30 a month into a collective fund. In the first year, donations are matched pound for pound by the Community Foundation and increased by Gift Aid, with match continuing on a taper in years two and three.

‘The Giving Network is a great idea for my generation and for professional people like me with young families who want to help local charities,’ says Gary Fawcett, Divisional Director at Brewin Dolphin Investment Management & Financial Planning who was one of the first people to sign up to the Giving Network. ‘For me, it was the local element that was important, as well as the fact that collectively we can make a real difference. If you want to give to charity this is a great way to start – and you get to meet those you are helping and see where your money is going.’

The Giving Network at the Community Foundation

Apna Ghar Ethnic Women's Centre in South Tyneside

Giving Network members get to vote on their favourite charities from a longlist of trusted organisations presented by the Foundation. In year one, these organisations were working to tackle priority issues around poverty, mental well-being and diversity. The four finalists were Apna Ghar, a charity in South Tyneside working with women from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, Cedarwood Trust, a community hub on the Meadowell Estate in North Tyneside, Gateshead Older People’s Assembly, a community hub for older people, and Washington Mind which supports people with mental ill-health.

At the inaugural giving event in 2019, Giving Network members met the organisations who pitched for the funds raised during the year. To really make the most of the opportunity to get their story across, the short-listed charities received free communication and presenting training courtesy of the Community Foundation. And, between them, the four took away over £16,000.

‘It was a fantastic experience where we saw brilliant charities from across Tyne & Wear,’ reflects Simon Elliott, a member of the Giving Network. ‘It’s really moving to see what these people are doing, and the fact that we can do our bit with a small amount of money is just fantastic.’

Many people find it hard or bewildering when considering making charitable donations, but by joining the Giving Network, the Community Foundation does all the leg work. Donors are safe in the knowledge that they’re giving to the worthiest causes. They also get to meet charities on their doorstep and see the difference they are making.

Rob Williamson, the Community Foundation’s CEO sums it up. ‘Philanthropy is about giving money, time and resource to help others,’ he says. ‘We know a lot about the region’s major philanthropists – both past and present – and how they’ve made the North East a special place to live and work. The Giving Network is about inspiring the next generation and demonstrating how easy it is to join with others and make a real difference to communities in our region.’

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