At Leeds Community Foundation and GiveBradford, we are a diverse, welcoming team, all hugely proud to specialise in local philanthropy; raising and channelling funding to support local communities in Leeds, Bradford, and sometimes a wider West Yorkshire geography or all of the North. Since we first started grant making 15 years ago, we have distributed well over £46 million in grants, and established a solid invested endowment.
Building on that track record means that we are able to invest £3 million to £5 million into communities each year. We have challenged ourselves to enhance the Foundation’s assets over the course of the next three years in our Plan 2024: Ambitious for All, which aims to establish the Foundation as a secure feature of the local funding landscape ready to cope with future challenges and opportunities that communities will face.
Our business model depends upon working closely with colleagues in the community sector – third sector organisations, social enterprises, individuals with ideas – to understand our local community ecology and how best to support those most vulnerable. Often we take a risk by supporting new groups and untested plans, and specialise in ensuring that the smallest groups have access to support. Our collective fundraising on behalf of those in the sector without access to marketing and fundraising expertise is an efficient and valued method for donors to give back to their community, knowing that their funds are handled by philanthropy professionals, reaching groups and individuals ‘under the radar’ of normal fundraising activities.
Plan 2024 established for our team a clear Theory of Change with a focus on impact. We are now two years into the plan, and at the start of 2020 were seeing substantial change for the better in the targeting, style, longevity and type of funding we could generate in response to community need.
The arrival of the pandemic, lockdown in March, and the implications of that seismic blow to our economy and infrastructure have been extensive and profound. We adapted at speed to get money out of the door to groups as quickly as we could – allowing many groups to avoid furlough and keep in close touch with their beneficiaries. By November we had invested over £4.6 million into a broad range of groups, more funding than in the whole of the previous year, which helped to keep the sector alive as well as buying community leaders a bit of thinking time to adapt to further changes. We celebrate the way the community sector in 2020 has responded with invention and fortitude, pulling out all the stops to maintain support and delivery to the individuals who depend upon them.
As Development Director, you will arrive at a critical time for the Foundation, as we progress into 2021 with all the uncertainty that entails regarding the state of the economy, ongoing measures relating to Covid-19, and with the expectation that all philanthropy will take a dip as the crisis continues. Our small, expert team is ready for a new challenge, and with complementary expertise in place to secure public and national programmes, we need your expertise and experience in donor development at the most senior level. Your professional knowhow will be exercised to the full by the challenge the community foundation model presents: matching discerning donors with community requirement in an achievable timeframe. Pipeline development, relationship building, and consistent delivery of the best donor service has meant we have nurtured and retained a strong core of valued donors.
Joining an experienced Senior Leadership team of three (Finance Director, Programmes Director and CEO), you will head up private philanthropy work, supported by an experienced team of four. That work will range across philanthropic funds, legacies, endowment growth, trust transfers and individual/corporate memberships, as well as across the very different geographies of Leeds and Bradford. You will have the backing of all colleagues and draw upon further assistance from our patrons, ambassadors, a committed Chair and a diverse group of connected and skilled Trustees.
We very much look forward to hearing from you and exploring how you can best contribute to our mission. Like us, we know you will be ambitious for all, and keen to apply your experience, talent and passion to providing a better future now for communities across Leeds and Bradford.
With best wishes
Kate Hainsworth and the team