12th Oct 2020

A message from our Chair & CEO

This year has been an extraordinary time as the world faces the long-term impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic. We, along with our fellow community foundations, have had to rise to the challenge of ensuring philanthropy responds effectively to the unprecedented social and economic needs that have arisen. 

Our response to the pandemic, and support for the amazing local charities and community groups who’ve been at the frontline, is covered in our latest Yearbook (available here)Butwhile much of our focus has been on helping communities through the pandemic, we have still been able to make progress in other areas. We awarded over £6.6 million in 1,256 grants to organisations and individualsWe saw the exceptional sum of £4.9 million added to our endowment through private and business donors, and through the transfer of dormant funds and trusts. We began a critical conversation about diversity in philanthropy, and we published comprehensive research on the state of the sector in our area.

More than ever, thanks go to our brilliant team of staff and trustees who have kept our work going throughout the crisis despite our own reduced incomecapacity and adjustment to remote working. The Board has been further strengthened by the addition of Michael Brodie, Chief Executive of NHS Business Services Authority. Since stability is key right now, the Board took the decision to postpone its recruitment of a new chair, so Fiona will be remaining in post until late 2021.  

Although, like many organisations, we have had to put some things on hold, whave not lost sight of our long-term goals. The strategy we shaped in early 2020is more relevant than ever, with its focus on fairness, generosity and the need for a strong and vibrant civil society that’s able to meet change. 

As ever, our deep gratitude goes to our donors, grantees, partners and members who are with us on our journey.  

Fiona Cruickshank OBE, Chair 

Rob Williamson, CEO 

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