12th Oct 2020
The Community Foundation may be best known for enabling new philanthropy. But its role unlocking and maintaining assets held in dormant charities and accounts, and in continuing the work of grant-making bodies whose trustees wish to retire, is just as important. This year the Foundation has added over £3 million to its endowment through such transfers, meaning in some cases grant-making is re-starting for the first time in many years.
The most ground-breaking transfer builds on a long-term relationship between the Community Foundation and Newcastle Building Society, with the first ever release of dormant account money from a building society to a UK charity. Newcastle Building Society has transferred £1 million to its fund at the Community Foundation – bringing its total value to over £2 million.
Andrew Haigh, CEO of Newcastle Building Society explains: “We have a strong relationship with the Community Foundation, and with whom we have a built a significant community fund through Society donations and colleague fundraising. The arrangements for managing dormant assets through the Reclaim Fund have enabled us to make a substantial addition to the Fund, which will further strengthen our ability to make a positive difference for the communities we serve.”
One of the first groups to receive a grant from the fund since the transfer was Silverline Memories which provides “places to go and things to do” for people living with Dementia in Newcastle & Gateshead “The support we have enjoyed has been second to none” says Chief Executive Sandra Hastings “but the flexibility during Covid-19 has been transformational. Instead of our usual days trips, the fund supported our Digital Inclusion project during lockdown which has been essential to ensure people with dementia and their carers continue to feel supported, encouraged and engaged”
‘Revitalising Trusts’ is a partnership between the Charity Commission and the Community Foundation’s national membership body, UKCF. It has seen several existing, but dormant, charitable funds transferring to the Community Foundation and once-again making grants. The Community Foundation’s Women’s Fund was an exact fit to receive the assets of the Royal Jubilee Education Charity for Girls. With the revitalised monies, the Foundation has supported West End Women and Girls in Newcastle and Women’s Health in South Tyneside. To accommodate the transfer of the Berwick-upon-Tweed Nursing Amenities Trust, the Community Foundation extended the purposes of its Northern Angel Fund. Soon afterwards, Tyneside and Northumberland Mind received a grant to employ a wellbeing coach to support people living with poor mental health in the town.
While these national schemes are helping the Community Foundation unlock dormant assets, it was existing, local relationships that led to the biggest asset transfer of the year. Knowing they wanted to stand back from their duties, the trustees of the Northumberland Village Homes Trust chose to transfer their charity’s assets, totalling over £2million, to establish a fund at the Community Foundation. As part of the wider Foundation, the new fund will increase support for charities and community groups making a difference to the lives of young people in the North East, while building on the Trust’s legacy of impactful grant-making.
‘It is hugely rewarding to see valuable assets back into circulation and supporting vital causes across our communities,’ says Lisa Cappleman, the Community Foundation’s Head of Giving and Philanthropy. ‘We also find it releases those overseeing dormant assets and older charitable trusts of the burden of trying to make them work. It’s a win-win situation for the outgoing trustees, us and our communities.’