Rotary Club of Belfast

Community Foundation NI

SpeakerSoifraHealyGuest Speaker Soifra Healy, Director of Philanthropy, gave an outline of the work of the Community Foundation NI to the Club meeting Monday 11 December. In her address, which was very well received, she highlighted that it is an independent Trust making grants supporting more than 2,000 community groups, voluntary organisations and charities in NI. It was started by David Cook in 1979 as the NI Voluntary Trust with £500,000 from the Department of Health as he recognised that there was a need for funding for the voluntary sector, as there was nothing similar in NI to the UK’s philanthropic grant making Carnegie and Rowntree Trusts. Since then they have awarded over £100m to groups and organisations making contributions to education, health, housing, the arts, social justice, employment, peace and reconciliation. They work to promote a prosperous, peaceful and shared society by connecting people who care with causes that matter.

  • Soifia noted that:
    there are more than 15,000 charities in NI with an annual income of £1b; 7,500 are registered the rest are waiting to register or just doing good work and not wanting to register
  • they source their funds as shown in the table though she noted that much of the European funding goes through the Government and is included in that £442m
  • they encourage generosity to achieve impact and they support, through financial advisors, long term investment donation plans
  • the Trust’s own endowment is £18m half restricted to specific causes the rest they can use where they identify need
  • in the last 4 years they have made 2,052 awards (from £500 to individuals to a £1m capital grant) through 78 funds totalling £22m and
  • there have been 778 new applicants

Soifia concluded her presentation advising that they are starting on anther strategic cycle focusing on building sustainable communities supporting particularly people on the edges (travellers, asylum seekers, those who have been trafficked) and those with mental health issues and answered several questions.

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