Behind the scenes tour

This case study details the process of the Wright Funk Fund founders when they first came to speak to County Durham Community Foundation.

The couple, both lower rate taxpayers, had recently inherited money from their parents and decided, rather than keep it, they would use the money to benefit others in their local community. They wanted to set up some form of long-term charitable fund, but didn’t know what they could actually do, the steps they needed to take or how they could maximise their donations. They investigated by ringing local voluntary sector charities and asking for assistance, but they just couldn’t find the answers, information or expertise they needed to start their fund. After undertaking research into sourcing beneficiaries, they began to realise that it would be an enormous task to set up a charitable trust themselves. They were also wary of giving substantial amounts to charities that didn’t quite match their criteria or where they would have no feedback on how the money was spent.

None of the charities they spoke to could help them target funds locally to their chosen causes or offer them any involvement in deciding where their money would be spent. Finally, a local voluntary organisation suggested they contact County Durham Community Foundation and a meeting was arranged.

The Meeting;

We first needed to understand their reasons for setting up the fund and what they wanted to achieve with it. Often people are not clear about their aims, and this allows us to use our experience and knowledge of local issues, suggesting areas where their support can be of most benefit.

After discussion, the couple decided they wanted their fund criteria to remain as broad as possible, enabling them to support a wide variety of individuals in their chosen area. They were really interested in helping to improve the general quality of life for families, particularly those in crisis who needed help to enable them to stay together.

Funding their dream;

At the meeting, the couple decided they wanted to make a financial commitment of £50,000. After discussion, the couple realised the value to them of an endowment fund. We also discussed how they could make their contribution even more cost effective, how they could receive and benefit from tax relief - in this case avoiding Inheritance Tax.

During the discussion, the couple asked if they could name the fund in memory of their parents. They were informed that they had complete control over the fund’s name and could have as much (or as little) involvement in the fund’s operation as they wished. They could first set the selection criteria and then let County Durham Community Foundation make the final decision over who to support on their behalf; or be fully involved in making the final choice themselves.

Giving us the go-ahead;

The couple agreed to establish an endowment fund and call it ‘The Wright Funk Fund’ in memory of both of their mothers. As the couple wished to remain anonymous, we promised that their names and details would never be printed and their confidentiality was completely safe. The couple set up their fund with a donation of £50,000 via their solicitor who was dealing with the Will.

Setting the fund criteria;

Once the couple had decided on the type of fund they wished to hold, we explained how we would work with them finding local charitable good causes to achieve their goals, and the processes we would carry out to ensure their Fund was managed in accordance with the couple’s wishes, benefiting those they really wanted to help.

We helped the couple establish detailed criteria for their fund for grant-making and assessment including:

       the geographic area they wished to help

       the causes they wanted to support

       who would / would not qualify

       maximum level of grant

The couple were especially interested in helping people raised in care, education issues and families in crisis, and those who simply needed some form of welfare assistance to get them back on track.

The Wright Funk Fund was set up with broad criteria of making grants to help keep families together. We confirmed the arrangements with a written agreement, clearly laying out what they could expect from us and how their money would be used.