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New report: ‘real power and resources’ in the hands of local people key to Levelling Up.

Community philanthropy can multiply value of dormant assets and build resilience, says new report by UK Community Foundations.

A new report by UK Community Foundations explains how the expansion of the Dormant Assets Scheme could be the catalyst for growing community philanthropy in the UK. 

Read the report here

The report looks at the work of the UK’s 47 community foundations through the lens of the Levelling Up agenda. It explains how community philanthropy is already playing an important role in tackling regional inequality and looks at some of the ways that it can be grown to help build the resilience of communities.

The main conclusions of the report are:

  • Money from the Dormant Assets Scheme could be used to launch a government-backed match-funding programme that would aim to build community endowments to ensure a lasting impact. In doing this, the Government would multiply the value of dormant assets and help build a sustainable source of funding for the voluntary sector. It would also help encourage a new generation of local philanthropists.
  • Community philanthropy is already playing a role in creating social capital – one of the key drivers of the Levelling Up agenda. It brings people together from across different sectors and increases understanding of local issues and how to distribute funding to charities that address them. This helps build community cohesion and encourages more strategic charitable giving.
  • In many cases the pandemic proved to be pivotal for improving the relationship between local authorities and the voluntary sector. This should be built on. Moving forward there should be meaningful representation of the voluntary sector in initiatives that encourage collaboration between communities and local authorities. 

Michelle Cooper, chief executive at County Durham Community Foundation, said: “We have been fighting poverty and enriching lives for 27 years. We are trusted by our supporters, and the groups we fund, and together we know we have a hugely positive impact on our communities.

“We would very much hope that community foundations will be recognised as a key, established mechanism for turning dormant assets into positive change within our communities, where it is most needed.”

Rosemary Macdonald BEM, CEO, UK Community Foundations, said: “We are living in turbulent times. We need to look at how we can build the resilience and capacity of our communities. This means putting real power and resources in the hands of local people. The Dormant Assets Scheme presents us with a once in a generation opportunity to do that by growing community philanthropy.

“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Our members been working with local people for decades to create opportunities and support communities. We should be using the local knowledge, insights, and expertise that is already there.”

Read the report here