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.

Monitoring and Evaluation;

Every successful individual is either sent their grant direct or we pay a third party for the items or activities. Each successful applicant is sent a progress and monitoring form with their grant cheque and asked to complete this once they have used their funding. It is then sent back to us with receipts for proof of items purchased, or photographs where activities have taken place. We also expect to receive feedback and results from the grant, and quite often receive really touching thank you letters and photographs from people who want you to know about the real difference receiving a grant has made to them.

Monitoring grants allows us to ensure grant money is used for the purpose it was given and recipients are not making fraudulent claims. Any feedback we receive is passed onto the donor, either on paper or on our website fund holder login.

How the fund has performed;

The Wright Funk Fund has been running successfully now since October 2002 when the first grants were made. The donors are very happy with the fund and the types of applications they have received. To date they have helped 126 families.

Commenting on their relationship with the Foundation, the fund holders said:

‘As supporters of County Durham Community Foundation, we have been the ones to reap the rewards. Setting up an endowment fund to help people in the area has been our way of remembering people who were close to us and keep their memory alive through the happiness of others. They have helped us achieve this aim with very little effort on our part. The Foundation looks after our fund, investing wisely and safely, so that it continues to yield a good return, even in these uncertain times. The staff suggest individuals and families in need of support and the decision is ours. The information they provide is so comprehensive and clearly worthwhile that we have been delighted to support every case so far!’