Essex Community Foundation

News archive

Modern-day philanthropy: Fiducia Guest Article

28th November 2016

ECF wrote a guest article for Fiducia and you can read a copy below:

Modern-day wealth distribution may seem a far cry from the philanthropy of the past, with the spotlight often put on extremely rich individuals able to give away millions to global causes, but in this contributed article, Essex Community Foundation (ECF) talks about philanthropy today in the region.

Philanthropy is alive and well and is making a major difference in local communities, thanks to the people who put the money they can afford to give to good work, through the network of Community Foundations right across the UK.

Essex Community Foundation (ECF) was established 20 years ago and is a shining example of how such an organisation can provide a sound base to make giving to causes locally a real pleasure.

ECF is an independent charitable trust dedicated to managing funds on behalf of families, individuals and companies who want to make a positive contribution in the places where they live and work and want the money they give to be visibly used in an effective and efficient way.

Grants are distributed by ECF to local charities and voluntary organisations in Essex, matching the interests and aims of the fund-holders who can see at first-hand how their money is making life better for people in need in their community.

A grand total of £32 million of endowed funds are now under ECF’s management, and in the last 20 years more than £28 million had been given in grants to a huge range of charities and organisations.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF said: “As one of the UK’s leading accredited community foundations we have unique expertise and local knowledge to help individuals, families, companies and public agencies to channel their giving to where it is needed most and support the local causes and charities they care about.”

“People who want to be philanthropic can have the joy of giving, during their lifetime or though leaving a legacy, without the burden of setting up a charity themselves, or having the daunting task of trying to evaluate where their money will be used effectively and responsibly, in a tax-efficient way. Setting up a fund through ECF is very straightforward and our administration fees are kept at a very reasonable level. Anyone who does not want to set up a fund themselves can make donations through our general Acorn Fund which distributes grants as needs arise in Essex.”

She adds: “The feedback we receive makes it clear that giving locally makes people feel more involved. We want to help more donors make their giving more effective and for charity and community groups to have the support that ECF can give.”

Someone who has experienced the very positive benefits of establishing a family fund with ECF is Jason Bartella, managing director of the Heritage Leisure Group, a highly successful company which runs prestigious hotels including Pontlands Park in Chelmsford.

Jason, who lives in Essex with his wife Lisa and their children, is a 21st century philanthropist with a passion for supporting causes close to his heart, particularly those giving help to children and disadvantaged families.

The family’s fund has awarded more than £230,000 in grants to voluntary and community groups throughout Essex and their endowed fund with ECF has grown over time, with a current overall value of £330,000.

Jason openly acknowledges that he and his family are in a privileged position, but is emphatic that being able to give locally through the fund that his family established with ECF in 2003, is one of the most rewarding areas of his life.

He said: “From the start, we said that we wanted the money from our fund to be spent in the Chelmsford area, where our main businesses are based. But working with ECF has given us a wider view and we are now happy to go further afield if ECF presents us with a project which feels right.

“It is good to know that the money we give goes directly to the charities we want to support, with only a minimal amount taken for administration. The money in our fund can, through ECF’s pooled investment approach, achieve a much better return and the good it does will go on in perpetuity. Through ECF we can have a close connection to the organisations we support and can see the positive outcome of the money we give.”

To find out more about how you can establish a named family fund, click here or call Jo Murphy on 01245 355947 or e-mail

Short-stay homeless shelter launches in Braintree

23rd November 2016

ECF volunteer Andrew attended the formal opening of Hope House Essex in Braintree. 

Hope House will provide temporary accommodation for homeless single adults and give them the opportunity of progress towards a more settled way of life.

The home anticipates accepting its first clients in three weeks and will provide rooms to four individuals at a time.  

ECF awarded £10,000 from the Diana Tinson Fund towards the cost of the property and look forward to seeing it thrive. You can find out more about them by visiting their website.

Other guests included the High Sheriff Lorna Rolfe and Cllr John Aldridge amongst a number of Hope House trustees and volunteers. 












To find out how you can give to local charitable causes, whatever your level of giving or area of interest, click here.

Read our article in Essex Life

16th November 2016

We're pleased to be featured in the December issue of Essex Life. The article focuses on our 20th anniversary and the fantastic work the Foundation has done and continues to do across the county.

Why not sit down with a nice cup of tea and have a read? Click here: Essex Life article

Breathing new life into old trusts

15th November 2016

Two Essex-based charitable trusts with links dating back hundreds of years are being given a new lease of life. 

The Kay Jenkins Trust and the George Courtauld Educational Charity have recently been transferred to Essex Community Foundation (ECF) which has a strong track record of breathing new life into old or dormant trusts.

The Kay Jenkins Trust supports voluntary groups and individuals who live in the Parishes of Great and Little Leighs and ECF will work with a panel of local residents to discuss and agree applications.

The Trust was established to commemorate two 19th century rectors of St Mary's Church in Great Leighs: the Reverend Clarke Jenkins who came to Great Leighs in 1823 and the Reverend William Kay who became rector in 1866. 

During his time at Great Leighs, Kay restored the chancel, installed the pulpit and rebuilt the rectory and in 1882 he built almshouses on Boreham Road.  The sale of these almshouses in 1974, combined with the legacies of other family members, formed the Kay Jenkins Trust.

Julia Abel Smith, DL, a former Trustee of the Trust, said, “Managing a trust is significant responsibility as you are required to ensure appropriate financial management as well as ensuring that grants are distributed in accordance with the original objectives.

“By transferring the Trust to ECF, the legal and financial responsibility is removed, but we can still enjoy being involved in the grantmaking.  

“As a High Sheriff I worked closely with ECF and I have immense respect for their community work throughout the county; they are most effective in identifying the donor with the need.”

The George Courtauld Educational Charity has also been transferred to ECF and will continue to support young people under the age of 21 who live, or whose parents live, in Braintree District. 

George Courtauld was born in Pebmarsh in 1830.  After being educated at University College, London, George became a partner in the firm of Samuel Courtauld & Co, a textile manufacturing company which had been established by his grandfather in 1798.

George was very much a member of the local community holding appointments such as Justice of the Peace and High Sheriff of Essex in 1896.  In December 1878 he was elected as the Liberal MP for Maldon which he held until 1885.  He was married three times and had 13 children.

George’s great grandson, who is also called George, lives in Colne Engaine.  He said, “I am delighted that the trustees have chosen to transfer my great grandfather’s trust into the safe hands of ECF so that his legacy can continue to benefit young people in Braintree.”

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive of ECF said, “We look forward to ensuring that local people continue to benefit from the legacies of these generous people.

We are always willing to talk to existing Trustees of Charitable Trusts to discuss if there are ways that ECF can help.” 

To find out more about how to transfer a trust to ECF click here or call Steve Mackenzie, ECF Development Officer, on 01245 355947.

Appeal to help budding sports stars follow their dreams

3rd November 2016

Two Essex sporting champions are backing an appeal to help young people achieve their dreams of becoming the Olympic stars of the future.

World Silver Medallist and Olympic Finalist, Brinn Bevan, 19, from Basildon and 12 year-old ice skating champion, Jasmine Cressey from Chelmsford are giving their support to the appeal urging local people to make donations to the Essex and Southend Sports Charitable Fund to help young Essex athletes reach the top.

Jasmine and Brinn have both received vital financial help from the Fund which is managed by local grantmaking charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF).  

To date the fund, which is a joint venture between Essex and Southend Sports Trust (EASST) and ECF, has awarded 50 grants totalling £135,000, helping young athletes train and reach their full potential and increasing sporting opportunities for local people.

Now, the call is going out for more people to donate to the fund to increase the amount of support that can be given.

Brinn, who trains for around 32 hours a week, said, “I am so grateful for the funding I have received as it has enabled me to train, travel and buy gymnastics equipment. I needed this help to develop my talent so I can compete at an international level.”

In November 2015 Brinn broke his leg, but his determination and dedication to get back to full strength led to him being chosen for the Olympic team in Rio. He is now working towards the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and the Olympics in 2020.

Jasmine, aged 12, has been ice skating since she was six and was the youngest person ever to become a member of the GB training squad.  She is currently ranked number one for her age group, which is up to 16, and is hoping for success at the British Championships which will take place in December.

“Ice skating is my life, I don’t know what I would do without it,” said Jasmine.  “I train for 20 hours a week at Riverside Ice and Leisure in Chelmsford and I compete at many different ice rinks.  My mum has to pay for every competition, lesson and test that I do.  The funding we have received has helped to pay for my training and for me to become a much, much better skater.  My dream is to compete at the Winter Olympics.”

The Essex and Southend Sports Charitable Fund was launched in 2013 by businessman and entrepreneur Peter Butler and his lifelong friend Joe Sims who are both trustees of EASST.  Peter said, “We are thrilled that grants from our fund have helped athletes from Essex, several of them disabled, to be selected to represent Great Britain at the Olympics and other world championships.

“We are encouraging others to make donations to the fund so that we can help even more Essex residents to develop their sporting talents so that they can compete and win medals for their country”.

As well as supporting individuals, the Essex and Southend Sports Charitable Fund will also consider grants to support clubs and facilities which are widening the opportunity for local people to get active and be involved in sports.

Donations to the  Essex and Southend Sports Charitable Fund to help local sporting talent and improve sports facilities in Essex can be sent to Essex Community Foundation, 121 New London Road, Chelmsford, CM2 0QT or call Jo Murphy on 01245 355947.

To view further photos, click here.

Help decide how wind farm charity cash is shared

2nd November 2016

Residents living in communities around Southminster and Burnham are being invited to join a panel of local people to make decisions on the distribution of charitable funding.

The Middlewick Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund has been established between Essex Community Foundation (ECF) and Cubico Sustainable Investments Limited (Cubico), a global leader in renewable energy and the owner of the onshore Middlewick wind farm development.

Voluntary and community organisations in and around the Southminster and Burnham areas could benefit from around £750,000 in grant funding over the next 20 years thanks to this charitable fund which will be open to grant funding before the end of the year.

David Swindin, Head of EMEA at Cubico said, “Cubico is committed to delivering clean energy to consumers through good quality, sustainable energy projects, and to sharing the benefits of these projects with communities. We look forward to working with ECF and residents to find the best opportunities for investment in local initiatives.”

Caroline Taylor, Chief Executive at ECF said, “We are very pleased to be working with Cubico to ensure that local voluntary and community organisations benefit from this charitable fund which will be available for many years to come.”  She added, “We also look forward to hearing from residents who would like to join the panel, drawing on their local knowledge, to help us ensure that funding is channelled to where it is needed most.”

Local residents who may be interested in joining the fund panel should call the ECF grant's team on 01245 356018.

The deadline date for applications is 30 November 2016.

Funding Phone-In Surgery

2nd November 2016

Are you a voluntary or community organisation working in Castle Point or Rochford and do you need funding?

If so, we will be holding a phone-in funding surgery to help you identify if there is support available for your work and talk you through the process of applying for grants. This phone-in event will be held on 15 November between 10am and 12 noon.

Please call the Grants Team on 01245 356018. Fran, Jill and Diana will be on hand to talk with you about your work and discuss your funding options. Conversations will initially be allocated a 10 minute appointment. If further information is required we will arrange a time to call you back.  If you cannot get through on the day, please leave a voicemail message with your name, the organisation you are calling from and a number that we can contact you on. We will return your call as soon as possible.