Do you want to change something or improve the lives of people in your community?
Now with a new programme, Community First, funded by the Office for Civil Society and managed by the Community Development Foundation in partnership with community foundations, there’s practical and financial support available to help you make that difference, and make the money you raise or donate work even harder.
We’re here to help people and groups across England set up their own Community First Funds, to support your areas – both now and in the years to come.
What are Community First Funds?
Community First Funds are set up by people and organisations who want to make change possible, and who want to support their community and causes they care about.
With Community First Funds individuals, groups and companies can make their charitable donations go much, much further because your support will attract match funding from the Government through the Community First Endowed Match Challenge.
What is the Community First Endowment Match Challenge?
Basically, the Government will contribute £1 for every £2 donated. There’s a total of £50 million available for match funding until 2015.
What is it trying to achieve?
The aim of the Community First programme is to help neighbourhoods become more self-reliant and grow their capacity to make the changes they want to see in their area.
A big ambition: by 2015 to have hundreds of Community First Funds together supporting communities and causes throughout England.
How does it work?
Community First Funds are based on a sound and simple principle. The money you donate goes to the causes you care about now, and grows over time to benefit the people and organisations you want to help in the years to come. The Community First Funds are invested on your behalf through community foundations by CCLA Investment Management, chosen by the Government for its solid investment track record in the charity sector.
Your contribution + Government match funding + Gift Aid and tax relief + investment income = a bigger fund to provide more help to those who need it, now and in the future.
The money you raise and the money that’s matched all adds up.
You can give as much or as little as you want through a Community First Fund and the money starts working straight away.
How does Gift Aid work?
Gift Aid increases the value of your donations by allowing the beneficiary to reclaim basic rate tax on your gift. If you pay higher rate tax you can claim extra relief on your donations as well.
Who can set up Community First funds?
Community First Funds can be set up by
individuals who want to create a legacy for the future;
companies who want to tackle the big issues affecting society and enhance their corporate and social responsibility commitments;
groups of individuals or organisations who want to come together to make a difference locally.
How can you help the causes your care about?
Whether you're an individual wanting to become a philanthropist and make a lasting impact by supporting issues that matter to you or a group already actively fundraising, you can help decide where you want the donations to go. Your Community First Fund can have your name on it. Your community foundation takes care of all the administration and can help you identify a cause that you care about.
Start a Community First Fund today
To find out more, contact your nearest community foundation.
If you wish to set up a Community First Fund in several areas of England then please contact Lesley Talbot at Community Foundation Network or phone 020 7713 9326.
- If you are want to find out how setting up and endowment fund could benefit your company, please read our 'Guide for corporate donors' from the Download section at the bottom of the page.
Community foundations – the support we'll provide
We manage all the administration, due diligence, reporting and compliance with the Charity Commission. Our expert teams can help you find the right organisations and causes to work with, helping you support the causes you care about in the most effective way. We'll keep you up-to-date with exactly how your money is being spent and the difference it is making.
What they say
“As a long-standing supporter of community foundations, Birketts LLP was delighted to be able to support the Community First match funding initiative from the Cabinet Office. As a regional law firm, we work closely with the community foundations of Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Essex so this represents a very special opportunity to boost our local giving by 50% and make an even greater impact in the counties in which many of our staff and clients work and live.” - Alistair Lang, Chief Executive Officer, Birketts LLP
Other ways to get involved
Community First includes a £30 million small grants programme. The Neighbourhood Matched Fund (NMF). Targeted at some of the most deprived areas in England, the NMF encourages social action to improve the quality of local life. Local priorities are agreed by Community First panels in eligible areas, made up of representatives of the local community. Community groups can then approach these panels with suggestions for projects to fund that meet these priorities. Local projects have to match funds with investment of time and local resources.
You can support local projects to match funds by offering volunteer time or other resources or support the panel by offering advice. You can find out which areas are eligible for NMF here.
Part of the Cabinet Office, OCS runs a number of programmes including Community First. Community First is a programme that will encourage social action through neighbourhood groups. Community First Funds are part of this - helping to encourage social action with extra funding and support.
Community Development Foundation (CDF) is a charity and social enterprise that is passionate about helping communities. CDF is responsible for running the entire Community First programme that will help communities come together through new and existing community groups, to identify their strengths and local priorities, plan for their future and become more resilient. Community First comprises a Neighbourhood Matched Fund (NMF) - a £30m small grants programme for some of the most deprived areas in the country, and Endowment Match Challenge (EMC) - a national challenge offering £50m in government money to match endowment funds donated by the public to set up Community First Funds.
CCLA Investment Management (an ethical and responsible investment business owned entirely by charity, faith and local authority organisations) will manage the Community First Funds. Founded in 1958, CCLA has an established track record in the charity sector and manages the widest range of Charity Commission regulated common investment funds.