A local charity that had to cease operations talks about why they partnered with Heart of Bucks this year to set up a fund to continue supporting their local community, in perpetuity.
Why did the trustees choose to set up an investment fund with Heart of Bucks?
We were a small board of trustees of a local charity that sadly had to cease operations. After selling a capital asset, we had a considerable sum to invest in accordance with our Charitable Objects for the benefit of the community. Through personal contact, one of our trustees had learned a great deal about HoB from one of their senior team members. Some other trustees also attended a talk by HoB’s CEO to a local business group.
Once those initial contacts had been made, on each following occasion we were made to feel very welcome and given every opportunity to get to know the organisation better, leading to us all being ever more positive. This positivity was hugely beneficial after the personal impact on us all of ceasing to oversee the charity.
What do you like most about having a fund with a community foundation?
The thing that probably surprised (and pleased) us the most was the flexibility offered by joining an organisation such as HoB. Considering the due diligence and weight of administration HoB undertake, we had expected there to be a ‘formula’ and a ‘set of rules’ into which we had to fit. Far from it. There were a number of different options presented to us and we had considerable scope to offer suggestions as to how things might work best for us.
We also fully expected that our jobs as trustees would be at an end. In a formal, legal sense they are – but in having as many active trustees as we wished become part of the future grants panel, we have a very strong say in how the money in the fund is distributed. From the possible key areas suggested by HoB, we have chosen those that we are most inclined to support. There are also flexibilities in how much we grant and, in a limited way in the early years, we can donate some of the capital and not just the revenue it generates. This has enabled us to get started straight away, and not lose the momentum of our initial enthusiasm.
How do you see your fund supporting the local community in the future?
As a charity based in South Bucks, that was where we wanted the centre of our future giving to be. As soon as we heard of the Crisis Appeal, we opted to contribute immediately rather than waiting for our fund to provide a return. We are looking forward to seeing the first batch of applications come forward from organisations similar to those several of us have seen on ‘Seeing is Believing’ visits.
What would you say to another organisation thinking about setting up an investment fund?
It is early days. Our fund has only recently been set-up and our first panel is in a few weeks, but our enthusiasm to work with HoB continues to grow. They communicate effectively – but not too much – and are very approachable – they don’t just say that – they are.
We have had a few ongoing matters to address with what remains of the charity and they have advised on some tricky issues. The team create initiatives to offer inclusivity and education in the wider work of HoB and already we have a great sense of belonging. We all look forward to a very long and positive partnership.