Step Change is a donor advised fund held within Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF). Donor advised funds provide a practical and valuable alternative to setting up your own charity or charitable trust whilst also benefitting from access to the community foundation’s resources and local relationship support.
The Step Change Fund was established in 2014, by a small group of philanthropists who wanted their donations to deliver specific objectives and to follow an agreed programme of evaluation and support.
Step Change grants have a particular focus on boosting internal infrastructure and/or market knowledge (e.g. systems upgrades, training, personnel restructuring). The result of such a change enables the funded organisation to achieve sustainable increases in service delivery to beneficiaries and to strengthen its financial viability.
Charitable grants are approved by an independent Step Change Grants Panel against a set of criteria that include clear evidence of a material change in the way the charity delivers services, strong leadership, a sustainable business model and an Oxfordshire focus.
OCF was an obvious home for the Fund and the quality of the relationship has resulted in the Fund becoming a flagship for the Foundation. To date, the Step Change Fund has raised £1.8m and granted £1.1m to over 30 local charities.
Grants are up to £75k. Importantly, the fund uses a volunteer team of 8 Project Managers to assess and monitor projects, resulting in a high rate of success. Nearly 90% of projects achieve or exceed their KPI’s.