COLUMN: Why community foundations are so vital

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If I said to you "think of a charity" more than a few would probably pop into your head immediately, with most of them likely to be some of the biggest national or international charities out there. Would you think of South Yorkshire's Community Foundation? Probably not.

Community foundations exist across the country to raise funding to support charities and grassroots community groups with grant awards. We do this because without grant making charities like us, many of these smaller charitable organisations, would struggle to get the support they need to deliver their services to their community.

A recent statistic has found that 85 per cent of donations go to the biggest 5 per cent of charities. This figure reveals how often smaller charitable organisations, working just as hard go unnoticed and underfunded. They cannot compete. That is why we, South Yorkshire's Community Foundation and foundations across the UK are so needed. Each year Community Foundations distribute around £65 million in grant awards, usually of a few thousand pounds each. These awards go to any kind of need you can think of, from helping pay for transport for social clubs working to prevent social isolation in the elderly to outreach work with vulnerable children and young people to help them get back into education. Without the grant funding to support this work, it simply wouldn't happen.

Working alongside The Star, we have recently been showcasing some of the groups we support in features. Today's is on Silence Breakers Media and despite having only run for a few years now, what they are achieving already is incredible. The feedback we have had from them and from many other groups is that they wouldn't have been able to keep working without support from us. This both makes me proud and worried at the same time.

This year we are celebrating 30 years of supporting South Yorkshire. We have distributed over £26 million to over 8,200 groups in that time. In the last year alone our grants supported one in 10 people in South Yorkshire. These are big achievements, yet most people still don't know the name South Yorkshire's Community Foundation.

So when you finish reading this column (and reading our feature too) don't forget about us, find out more! Go to our website www.sycf.org.uk and watch ourvideos, read our case studies. We are here to support you, your family, your community. Help us to get started on our next 30 years, on the right track and find out about your Community Foundation, today.