LEEDS Community Foundation has celebrated the generosity of the people of the city and thanked its supporters for helping to distribute millions of pounds over the last nine years to help vulnerable and disadvantaged people.
At a gathering in Leeds Civic Hall, more than 100 donors, supporters and volunteers from community groups, companies, families and individuals heard how since the Foundation was founded in 2005, £20m has been distributed in grants to other charitable and community groups across the city.
Jonathon Morgan of Morgan’s City Living (right) banging the gong for Leeds in welcoming new 100 club members (left to right) Lynne and David Jackson, Kenton Robbins of Rilwood Associates, and Tom Riordan, chief executive Leeds City Council.
The Foundation now has £15m in endowments funds and is able to make grants worth almost £3m a year ranging in size from £100 to over £50,000.
“This is an awful lot of money that has made a staggering difference to thousands of people in Leeds,” said Steve Rogers, one of the trustees of the Foundation. On their behalf I’d like to say an enormous thank you. The people of Leeds have a big heart.
“Looking back there is a huge amount to celebrate. Looking forward there is still huge amount to do,” he added.
Some of the tough issues faced by the city were highlighted by the other speakers Tom Riordan, chief executive of the City Council and Sally Anne Greenfield, chief executive of the Community Foundation.
Mr Riordan praised the Foundation and said: “Leeds Community Foundation fulfils a vital role in the city providing support to community projects, investing in the areas of Leeds which are the most disadvantaged and helping to create links with the local community. At a time when local needs are increasing and central budgets are getting tighter, the Foundation provides an excellent way for the private sector and individuals to get involved and support the city. It is a huge asset for Leeds.”
At the event a special presentation was made to the wife and family of the late Jimi Heselden, the Leeds business man and benefactor who gave millions to charities across the city through the Foundation.
Another key group of people who were thanked was the Foundation’s 100 club, founded by city businessman Jonathan Morgan, whose target is to get 100 people to give £1000 a year which is then used for the Foundation’s running costs.
Finally, the two local groups in Leeds to receive the very first grants made by the newly founded Foundation in 2005 were present – SLATE that run a number of projects employing people with disabilities, including a furniture store, community café and charity shop, and Heads Together, which works with schools in East Leeds encouraging young people through creativity.