A brief history of County Durham Community Foundation

1995: County Durham Foundation (as we were then known) is set up with match funding from the William Leech Charitable Trust and the Barbour Trust. David Grant CBE becomes the first President, and Sir Paul Nicholson the first Chairman.

1996: The first grant of £500 goes to the Crossroads Care Attendant Scheme in Peterlee. The Rt Hon Tony Blair (at the time MP for Sedgefield), Sir Harold Evans and Professor David Bellamy join the Foundation as Vice Presidents. 

Close to £30,000 is given out in grants in the first six months; the Foundation celebrates its Endowment Fund reaching £1million.

1997: CDF becomes joint recipient of a £597,000 grant from the Millennium Awards Scheme to train community leaders of the future with its neighbouring community foundation in Tyne & Wear. Two large charitable trusts - Hylton House Trust and Stanhope Castle School Trust – are transferred to CDF to administer.

1999: Pledged endowment is doubled to £3.5 million in just one year. CDF takes on the Ropner Convalescent Home Trust, the first fund worth in excess of £1 million.

2001: CDF launches its first emergency fund to help communities affected by the Foot and Mouth outbreak. Over £50,000 is raised for the Countryside Relief Fund in just six months. CDF is awarded the Local Network Fund which gives out over £1.3 million to projects working with children and young people across County Durham and Darlington.

2002: CDF celebrates giving out over £2 million in grants to the local community. Sir Paul Nicholson becomes President of the Foundation after the sad death of founding President, David Grant CBE. Former North East Businessman of the Year, Bernard Robinson OBE, takes over as chairman.

2003: CDF is chosen to manage the European Social Funding’s Global Grants Programme, a five year £700,000 fund to support back-to-work training for individuals.

2005: CDF marks its 10th anniversary with the announcement that it has given out over £10 million to good causes over the 10 years. ‘Darlington Champions’ is successfully launched to build a network of supporters for the borough of Darlington. UK community foundations become local agents for Sport Relief.

2006: CDF’s portfolio of funds exceeds 70. ‘Acorn Funds’ are launched – a way of gradually building up a named Endowment Fund, with Andrew and Shelagh Martell setting up the first one.

2007: CDF is awarded the Community Foundation Network Quality Accreditation mark, which is endorsed by the Charity Commission.

2008: Bernard Robinson retires as chairman and entrepreneur Mark I’Anson takes over. As part of a national contract for selected community foundations, CDF is allocated £1.4 million for a Grassroots Grants programme – including a £1 for £1 match opportunity for donors.

2009: The Banks Community Fund reaches £1 million in grants with the help of CDF. CDF awards £780k of grants in one day as part of the Real Support for Communities: Targeted Support Fund. CDF rebrands to County Durham Community Foundation (CDCF) and unveils a vibrant new ‘rubine red’ logo and strap line ‘Growing through Giving’.

2010: £3.1 million raised in the financial year 2009/10 and grants awarded of almost £1.9 million, bringing the total awarded to over £17 million since 1995. The Foundation moves offices to Victoria House, Meadowfield Industrial Estate with its own branded Reception area.

CDCF achieves quality standards once again in IIP, ISO and CFN QA2 – the industry standard for community foundations, recognised by the Charity Commission. John Hamilton, OBE, DL elected Vice President of CDCF at AGM.

2011: Grassroots Grants and Endowment Challenge achieved over a three year period, levering over £1.3 million into endowment and £880k in grant-making.

20 new funds were established during the financial year, bringing the total to 142 funds! Grant making total rises to £18 million to groups and individuals. Investment portfolio exceeds £6 million for the first time.

2012: Grant-making total rises to £20 million to groups and individuals. CDCF receives its largest single donation of £1 million. Chief Executive receives Business in the Community's Marks & Spencer Sieff Award.

2013: Grant making total rises to over £24 million to groups and individuals.

2014: The Banks Group reaches £1 million in value of endowment funds.

2015: CDCF celebrated its 20th anniversary celebrations with a special dedication service at Durham Cathedral and a gala dinner at Durham Castle.

2016: Grant making total rises to £30 million to groups and individuals.

2017: Highest grant-making year to date, with a total of £3.5m awarded in the financial year to groups and individuals in County Durham & Darlington.