SYCF was founded in 1986 to support voluntary and community organisations dedicated to improving their local communities. In that time over £25m has been awarded in grants to these groups, totaling in over 7,000 awards.
The Community Foundation movement originated in America over 100 years ago and its success and ‘local help for local people’ values has seen it become a worldwide movement. On a national level there are 48 Community Foundations in the UK which in 2014 alone, distributed over £65m in grant funding.
We are based in Sheffield but work throughout the region in Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley by encouraging local giving for local causes, by helping philanthropists invest in the local communities in which they live.
Our volunteers are a core part of our work and Julie MacDonald, a volunteer trustee as well as a fund holder has stepped up to help make our 30th year one to remember.
Julie said: “I first began volunteering when I was 17, with the Girl Guides so dedicating some of my time each week to others has really always been a part of my life. I have been a trustee with SYCF for around three years now and before that my husband and I set up our own endowment fund so we could give back to the local causes whose work we care about.
“There is a great sense in me that you have to give something back. You don’t get something for nothing and because we have the ability, we feel that is our duty as members of the community to help. I like being involved and helping local groups because I think you can see the people and meet the people who are going to benefit from your charity.
“The bigger organisations, the national ones you often see what they are doing on the TV or in the paper but being involved on a community level, I can actually go and meet the people that are going to benefit from the grants we give them.
“The most recent group I visited was Artistic Spectrum in Thorne. It is amazing what they are doing. Not just what they are doing for the people that attend the group but also how they are doing it right in the middle of Thorne. One thing that impressed me was that they work with the café next door, so the people going in see this group and what they are achieving and as a result better understand what Autism and Asbergers Syndrome is.”
Beginning the year by launching the 30th Anniversary Community Fund was Julie’s brainwave, as a fitting start to our celebrations. The fund will be dedicated to tackling the biggest issues we face in our region and is now open to donations.
After 30 years of giving to South Yorkshire, we are now offering a chance for everyone to join in with donations big or small and aims to raise £30,000.
Julie continued: “What is great about the 30 year fund is that once groups start benefiting, the people who donate to the fund will be able to say, ‘I did that.’ and it is the feel good factor and that sense of community that I think sometimes we lose. We all know that we have need in our community, the same as everywhere else and this is a really simple way to help your own.
“Whether someone gives £3 or £3,000 they can be assured it will be helping someone is their community. It could be your next door neighbour, your grandson, your children; it will be helping someone in your life.”
The South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation staff team hopes that our celebrations this year will help raise our profile and encourage more groups to apply for funding that could help them achieve their ambitions and support more people in our community.
The 30th Anniversary Community Fund is now open to donations and will soon open to applications. The fund is dedicated to helping children and young people facing disadvantage, creating healthy, active and safer communities and supporting people in crisis.
Julie added:“None of us know what is around the corner so supporting people in crisis is an important part of the fund as are its other aims which will allow us to support a huge range of groups doing good work.”