Leeds Community Foundation – marking a decade with a challenge

Over a hundred donors, supporters and community groups gathered at the Howard Assembly Room to celebrate Leeds Community Foundation (LCF)’s 10th anniversary of grant-making.

LCF CEO with former chairmen and first grantees
Sally-Anne Greenfield (L) and Louise Megson from SLATE (R) with board members

During the past decade, LCF has distributed over £23m in grants to 2,000+ separate community organisations and has helped transform the lives of thousands of local people.  This has been thanks to the generosity of donors, large and small, who have supported the Foundation since it was first established in late 2004.

Many groups across South Leeds have benefited from LCF grants including the very first recipient SLATE – the feel good furniture shop. Other local recipients include Beeston Festival, Friends of Middleton Park, Hunslet Nelson Cricket Club, Kidz ‘n’ Co and South Leeds Life amongst many others.

LCF’s Chief Executive, Sally-Anne Greenfield, captured the spirit of the Foundation and the work of the groups they support by telling the story of Ethel. Before attending an older people’s exercise group, Ethel was wheelchair bound. Six months later, she was able to walk into a room unaided because of the confidence she gained from attending the exercise group – which LCF funded with a grant of £2,500.  This is one example of a how a small amount of money can have a massive impact on a local person’s life.

The presentations ended with a moving song by local 14-year old school girl, Beth Henderson-Clark from the David Young Academy, singing “People Help the People”.  This resonated well with the message on the night in that the work of the Leeds Community Foundation is all about finding people who have the financial resources to give, and creating links between them and the local community projects who can use the money to best effect.   Unfortunately, the local need continues to grow – last year alone, LCF received nearly twice as many applications as it could actually fund. To meet that demand, the celebration event was used as a platform to announce the launch of the LCF birthday challenge to raise money through a wide range of methods that encourage as many people as possible to get involved.

“Whether you can afford £10 or £10,000, the support you provide can really help us increase our reach and continue to make a difference in Leeds,” says Greenfield.

Throughout the evening, guests were encouraged to pledge their support and over 20 pledges were made on the night.  They came from individuals, community groups and companies, and included offers to join the 100 Club, selecting LCF as Charity of the Year and two donations of £5,000!

For more details on how to donate and get involved visit www.leedscf.org.uk.