Wow, what a year!
2020/21 will go down in history for most of us, for many different reasons. Here at Heart of Bucks it has been our biggest grant-making year ever – £1.5m in funding has been distributed across Buckinghamshire to a total of 694 charities, community groups and individuals. This is more than three times as much as we awarded in 2019/20 and an increase of over 400% on number of applications approved. This increase could not have been more needed. Our local communities, charities and voluntary organisations have seen dramatic reductions in income, while many have been at the forefront of the local emergency response and recovery efforts.
In addition to our usual grants programmes, a large proportion of funding was in direct response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Our COVID-19 emergency appeals raised over £250,000 from private donors and the general public at the height of the pandemic – we are so grateful to everyone who generously contributed to the local non-profit sector response to the crisis, in particular to the Mulberry Trust who generously provided the initial donation to launch our crisis appeal. It is also thanks to donations from the National Emergencies Trust, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Rothschild Foundation, National Lottery Community Fund, Buckinghamshire Council and a number of generous private donors and businesses that we were able to react quickly to the pandemic and make a critical impact on our local community at a time of great need.
In addition to the organisations mentioned above, we have also had the opportunity to work closely with the NHS, Buckinghamshire Business First, Leap and our network of UK Community Foundations to extend our local impact.
“It has been a remarkable year for our Community Foundation, as we have surpassed £1m and reached £1.5m in funding during 12 months for the first time in our 20 year history. I am extremely grateful to our staff team, volunteers, and trustees who have worked extremely hard to provide swift, critical grants to the local community. And of course we could not have achieved this without our many generous donors and supporters, who have made contributions of all sizes throughout the year and helped us reach these important milestones in our journey. Our support for the community has never been more needed, so if you care deeply about Buckinghamshire, please get in touch to find out more about our work.” – Henry Allmand, CEO
Other key achievements for the year include:
- With the support of Buckinghamshire Council, expanding our emergency funds to support individuals and families who were in a crisis as a result of COVID-19. In total, £205,000 was awarded to local people, with £91,000 being used to provide essential food for families in need.
- Awarding our largest ever single grant of £73,000 in partnership with the Rothschild Foundation and The Clare Foundation. The Capacity Wellbeing Fund was designed to encourage partnership working and went to a consortium led by the Oasis Partnership for their ‘Listen, Learn and Adapt’ project; a collaboration of five Buckinghamshire charities working with BAME communities.
- Awarding the first grant from our ‘Green Futures Bucks’ initiative, in partnership with Buckinghamshire Council.
- Adapting our grants panels to run virtually – our dedicated grants panel members were meeting weekly at one point to enable us to process applications as quickly as possible. Our fastest grant decision was less than 24 hours from application receipt to payment!
- Chairing the ‘Buckinghamshire Strategic Funding Group’. This small group of local funding organisations has taken a collaborative approach to non-profit funding.
- Launching a ‘Community Investor’ fund, aimed specifically at the local business community, and those businesses who want to give back to their local area. This was opened with our corporate partners Ashridge Group, B P Collins LLP, Buckinghamshire Building Society, Chandler Garvey, and Passageways.
Thank you to all of our partners, donors and supporters, our Board of Trustees and the members of our panels and committees. Without these dedicated people our work to support the Buckinghamshire community would not be possible.