27th Sep 2018

The Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland is calling for people to nominate their unsung heroes in the community, who donate their money and time to worthwhile causes, but rarely have their generosity recognised publicly.

The Unsung GeNErosity Hero competition is part of the Community Foundation and Newcastle University’s GeNErosity Festival, which is sponsored by Muckle LLP. It is a series of 50 events, taking place across the North East between Wednesday 7thNovember and Tuesday 27th November, celebrating the history and role of philanthropy and giving across the region, which has helped to shape the North East today.

Rob Williamson, Chief Executive of the Community Foundation, said: “Philanthropy is about giving money, time and resource to help others. Generosity – past, present and future – is what binds us together, making the North East a special place to live and work. We often take so much we see around us today for granted without ever wondering where it came from. Places like Grey’s Monument in Newcastle, Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, and the Hospital of God at Greatham wouldn’t exist today if it hadn’t been for philanthropists giving their money and time to build a better future for communities in our region.

“That said, we know a lot about the region’s major philanthropists such as Dame Margaret Barbour, Sir Peter Vardy and Jonathan Ruffer, but through our Unsung GeNErosity Hero competition, we want to highlight the everyday generosity of people from all walks of life. It’s these people whose giving quietly behind the scenes makes such a huge difference to our communities across the North East yet these acts of generosity usually go unnoticed.

“From the regular donor who’s had a standing order supporting their favourite cause throughout their life, to the young entrepreneur who quietly donates a percentage of profits to a charity each year without any fanfare, we want to hear these stories so we can share the message of the importance of philanthropy and giving in the North East far and wide, while celebrating those who give their money and time freely to community causes close to their heart.”

Entries are now open into the Unsung GeNErosity Hero competition and people can nominate their unsung heroes via the newly launched GeNErosity Festival website.  Nominations can be made across five different categories: 

Young GeNErosity Hero which celebrates children and young people up to the age of 25 who support one or more charities by giving what they can, no matter how small the amount; 

Lifetime GeNErosity Hero  which celebrates people who have been giving to charity all their lives. They may have supported just one charity for years, or they might be someone who has always given to a range of causes they care about; 

Past GeNErosity Hero which celebrates people from distant or more recent history whose giving has gone unrecognised. They might have been involved in giving to set up a charity, have been a valued supporter in years gone by, or they might have died but left a gift in their will to make a difference; 

Employers’ GeNErosity Hero which celebrates people nominated by their employers to recognise their giving. They will be someone within an organisation who makes a difference by giving to charities, and perhaps by encouraging others to do so;

Diverse GeNErosity Hero which celebrates people from communities affected by prejudice and discrimination whose giving tends to get less profile.

Nominations into the Unsung GeNErosity Hero competition will close at 5pm on Friday 19th October. All eligible entries will then be put forward before a panel for judging, made up of experts in philanthropy and giving at the Community Foundation, before the successful shortlist across the different categories is revealed on the GeNErosity Festival’s website, on Monday 5th November ahead of the festival’s official launch.

Members of the public will then be able to vote online for their winners across the different categories in the Unsung GeNErosity Hero competition during the course of the festival, with voting closing at 5pm on Wednesday 21st November.

The winners of each category will then be announced during the closing event of the GeNErosity Festival, at 9pm on Tuesday 27th November at The Calman Centre, Durham University, which coincides with the national awareness day of #GivingTuesday. Each winner from across the five different categories will be honoured at the event in a form of a grant to a charity that they have supported during their time as an unsung philanthropist in the North East.

Rob concluded: “Given the shrinking Welfare State, every day donors are essential to charities, and therefore the work these organisations do in our communities, more so than ever before. 

“It’s not about the big bucks. Philanthropy and generosity come in all different shapes and sizes. Unsung GeNErosity Heroes nominees will be people who give their pounds and pence to charities. They might also be giving their time, but they don’t have to be. Nominees’ giving might be through regular direct debits or standing orders, cash donations or a gift they left in their Will.

“The amount nominees have given is not important – in fact, we really want to celebrate the massive contribution to philanthropy from people who are not wealthy but give amounts which within their means which are still significant to them. It’s about rewarding, celebrating and saying a big thank you to the generous people who often fly under the radar while quietly contributing to the story of philanthropy across our region and the impact their giving has had now and in the years to come.”

Self-nominations into the Unsung GeNErosity Hero competition are not accepted. Eligible applications can only be made when nominating another person, whose giving has not already been recognised through other awards or honours. People are welcome to nominate more than person but are asked to choose only one category for each nominee.

For more information about the GeNErosity Festival, the Unsung GeNErosity Hero competition, or to nominate an Unsung GeNErosity Hero, visit: https://www.generosityfestival.co.uk/unsung-generosity-heroes

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