Last week I was delighted to attend a seminar hosted by Chichester Law Society at Goodwood Motor Circuit about tax effective giving. We heard informative presentations from Laura Colville and Naomi Neville of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors about how people can take advantages of tax incentives for charitable giving relating to income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax. There was also a warm welcome from John Bunker, the President of Chichester Law Society who highlighted the value of giving to small local charities, which can make a huge difference with small amounts of money.
I was asked to talk about how Sussex Community Foundation can help solicitors and accountants to provide a service to their clients who want to give to charity.
In our regular newsletter I have often praised the way that local charities responded to the Covid pandemic. From the first days of lockdown in March 2020, small local charities organised in a strategic way, changing everything they did, and working together to make sure that local people had the support they needed to survive the pandemic. If there was ever any doubt about the value of small local charities, they proved their value then. I think most of us were helped by a local charity or community group in some way, perhaps contacting a group on WhatsApp to ensure an elderly relative could get food or medicines delivered or taking part in online seminars.
There are 163,150 registered charities in the UK. 80% have an annual turnover less than £100,000. There are around 6,000 registered charities in Sussex and probably just as many community groups which are not registered. Most of these charities are not household names, yet it was these small charities that provided the bedrock of support that helped us get through the pandemic.
When there is a crisis, we often see a very welcome increase in immediate charitable giving. I think most people want to help those who are less fortunate than themselves when they can. We were certainly enormously grateful for the hugely generous response to the Sussex Crisis Fund. This enabled us to fund that amazing crisis response of local charities.
Yet longer term, planned giving is equally, if not more important. Without ongoing funding these local charities would cease to exist and would not have been there to respond to that crisis.
We believe that these small local charities are not only the solution to an immediate crisis, but will also provide the solutions to the long term issues we face as a society, especially poverty, inequality and climate change.
Sussex Community Foundation is the ideal vehicle for people who want to invest in these inspiring local charities, today or for the long term. It is in part due to our endowment funds, set up by people like Arthur Green, that we were able to respond so quickly to the pandemic, giving grants within ten days of the first lockdown.
At this seminar I was able to explain how Sussex Community Foundation can help solicitors, accountants and wealth managers to help their clients give to charity. A donor can set up a fund in their own name to support the causes and the places they care about. A named fund is a great vehicle for a legacy, for people who have sold a company or received a significant capital gain, or for people who just want to make a lasting positive impact on the community.
Like many others, I was inspired by the words of Prince William at the Queen’s Jubilee party. He said “Tonight has been full of such optimism and joy – and there is hope. Together, if we harness the very best of humankind, and restore our planet, we will protect it for our children, for our grandchildren and for future generations to come.”
He was talking specifically about people who are trying to address climate change, but I think his comment applies equally to those thousands of charities in our local communities who are there when we need them in a crisis, but also provide the hope for the future. Supporting that bedrock is what we are all about at Sussex Community Foundation.
Kevin Richmond, CEO