17 May 2019
When we think of a philanthropist, often the image that comes to mind is of a top-hatted Victorian gentleman, Andrew Carnegie or John Cadbury perhaps. If modern philanthropists are in our thoughts Bill Gates or Warren Buffet may ring a bell.
All very wealthy individuals (and all men), their vast wealth can make them seem as though they inhabit a very different world from you and I. Yet at the most fundamental level their motives for giving are the same as ours; to make a real difference to those in society less well-off and to leave the world a better place.
At the Community Foundation we advise, support and inspire local philanthropy and people who want to make a difference, by connecting them to the causes that matter. Trusted by philanthropists, we help them to choose how, when and where to give and we support them to reach need, tackle social issues, leave a legacy in their community and ultimately change lives for the better. Every person will have different interests, values, motivations,intentions and causes they wish to give to and at the Foundation we match them to appropriate need.
The philanthropists we work in partnership with are making an impact. Individuals that are benefiting tell us they feel less socially isolated, their health and well-being is improved and they have better life skills helping them into employment and with education.
Over the last year one in every eight people in NI benefited from local philanthropy through the Foundation and over £2M in grants was awarded but whilst statistics can be impressive, the real impact can be seen when individuals’ lives are changed.
In Cloughmills the Community Action Team received a grant to make their site more accessible for people with disabilities by upgrading their paths. Before this, anyone with a buggy, needing wheelchair access or assistance with walking couldn’t access the site, but today they can all use the community garden. The group, which is led by volunteers is also running a gardening and food growing project for women, where they meet regularly to harvest and then cook their own food. The life changing aspect of this project, according to volunteer Patrick Frew, is the growth in confidence among the women who take part and the opportunity they get to socialise, have fun and learn together. Organised at a time when children are at school so that women with caring responsibilities can take part, the course is always oversubscribed.
Photos from ‘Women in Gardening Course’ in Cloughmills, captured by Anne McDonnell
The Keadue Fund in Derry is supporting young people in the City from Brandywell, Creggan and Bogside to advance their physical and mental wellbeing. Funding the costs of a co-ordinator to engage young people in educational and sporting activities is making a difference to lives in an area with the highest suicide rate in the UK.
A grant through the Community Foundation of £6,000 to the Ulster Orchestra to work with an intergenerational group at the Shankill Women’s Centre is helping women in the area to build their confidence through creative writing skills and also giving them the opportunity to build a strong social network, something that is very important for the elderly and those feeling socially isolated.
Philanthropists working through the foundation have made a huge impact in the last year and not all are people with vast wealth. Indeed many people contribute to causes, funds and giving circles through annual and regular monthly donations, sometimes pooling resources for greater impact. For example a monthly donation of £25 and a small circle of family and friends also contributing could see you giving away nearly £20,000 over the next 5 years and changing countless lives through the Community Foundation. The proof is however in the pudding and you can read more about the work of the Foundation in our 2018-2019 impact report.
If you would like to know more about philanthrophropy, how you could make a real difference in your community contact the Community Foundation and begin your philanthropic journey today 028 90245927 firstname.lastname@example.org