Press release

£150 million Big Society 'endowment for the nation' launched

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The new Community First endowment, which aims to raise £150m to help local community projects in England, has been launched.

CAB 250-11

The new Community First endowment, which aims to raise £150 million to be invested to secure the future of local community projects in England, has been launched by Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society today.

The government will pay in up to £50m, giving 50p for every £1 raised from individual, corporate and philanthropic donors. With Gift Aid tax relief, this will create a pot worth in excess of £150 million. The money will be invested and the return, expected to be up to £12 million per year, will be used to provide grants to local community and social action projects from 2015 onwards.

From today, the Community Development Foundation (CDF), which manages Community First, will begin work with local Community Foundations in the Community Foundation Network (CFN) to raise money for the endowment.

Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, said:

It’s time we invested in our future rather than borrowing on it. The Community First endowment will be a lasting source of money to help local community groups achieve what they want, whether that’s turning wasteland into parks, holding social events for older people or starting sports clubs for the young. This is the money on the ground for the Big Society and the 5,000 Community Organisers we are training will encourage people to get together and use it.

Some of the oldest charities in the country are founded on endowments invested many hundreds of years ago which still pay out for good causes today. This is a chance for people and businesses to be part of something really special, an endowment for the nation.

Alison Seabrooke, Chief Executive of CDF, said:

CDF, working with CFN, is delighted to open the Community First Endowment Match Challenge. With over 40 years of experience in supporting communities, CDF knows that funds invested at a local level can have real impact in helping people take positive action on issues that matter to them. This model of financing community investment, using Government funds to encourage philanthropic, individual and corporate giving, is one we know works well. The endowment will provide a long term, sustainable source of funding for social action projects for years to come.

Stephen Hammersley, Chief Executive of Community Foundation Network, said:

Now more than ever local communities, causes and charities need support they can depend on for the longer term - the kind of support that endowed funds can provide. Community foundations also understand how supporting and sustaining long term change can be rewarding to philanthropists and companies who have an interest and stake in the development of local communities. The match challenge will help more people discover how rewarding this can be and we are pleased to be part of delivering Community First.

This year, the Community First fund will also pay out £30 million in small grants to community groups and local social action projects in the 600 communities in England which need the support most, through the Neighbourhood Match Fund. People in these communities are being asked to form local panels to distribute the funds themselves. ASDA has pledged its backing through in-store promotions, by allowing communities to use its stores as meeting places for community panels and through its existing community investment strategy.

Notes to Editors

  1. Community Development Foundation (CDF) is a charity and social enterprise that is passionate about helping communities. Leaders in community-led solutions, they have managed multi-faceted community programmes to the value of £250 million over the last three years. CDF delivered the £130 million Grassroots Grants programme. They are also working with six partners to set up a new organisation that will manage the Big Local Trust and deliver the Big Local programme on behalf of the Big Lottery Fund. The new trust will be endowed by the Big Lottery Fund with £200 million to work with up to 150 local areas over 10 years. Other national programmes CDF have led include Take Part, National Empowerment Programme (NEP), Tackling Race Inequality Fund, and Faiths in Action.
  2. Community Foundation Network (CFN) is a registered charity that leads a movement of community foundations committed to positive social change in the UK through the development of “community philanthropy”.
  3. CCLA invests money for more charities than any other fund manager in the UK. We are owned by our charity and public sector clients, and manage our business for their benefit. This puts us in a unique position to help charities and the public sector achieve their objectives. Our segregated management service and wide range of pooled funds enable us to meet the needs of organisations of all sizes. With over 50 years’ investment management experience, we currently manage assets of more than £4.2 billion. CCLA is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.