DonorsImpactNewsOCFOCF CEO Zoe Sprigings addresses guests at Giving Tuesday

A group of OCF’s core supporters gathered on Tuesday 29th November to meet our new CEO Zoe Sprigings, hear about the community impact they have helped us achieve in the past year, and understand our current focus.

The event was attended by donors and fundholders of OCF, including representatives from Oxfordshire County Council, our funding partners on several recent rounds of grant funding.

We were hosted by The Story Museum, which was chosen due to the connection with OCF via the Maggie Evans Fund, a named fund held within OCF that has supported the museum’s Extreme Reading project.

During her address, OCF’s CEO Zoe Sprigings reflected on whether the stories we tell children really reflect the truth. Does real life have a happy ending or help its protagonists find a way through adversity?

Zoe said: “I think we need to hear these stories to know that kindness and justice do exist. If you can have those stories, you can have hope, and that’s what gives you the strength to try and make them happen. People like you giving up your time and your money is the concrete evidence of a belief in a better world.

“It feels like a really hard time to have hope – and that’s why I think it is more important than ever to show people that they live in a community where other people care. When I look at you all collectively together I can see it’s a force – it’s something you can really believe in.” A recording of her talk can be seen below.

We also heard from OCF fundholder Jimmy Gordon, whose late wife Jane Wates OBE was one of our longest-standing and most generous donors, and a trustee right from the start of OCF’s history. He spoke of why he left a corporate career in advertising to head up a charity, before meeting and marrying Jane and embarking on a philanthropic journey that had relationships with community foundations in both Oxfordshire and Berkshire at its heart.

Jimmy talked about three things community foundations do that are fundamental to supporting charities effectively: communicate, collaborate and campaign – communicating the needs of a place; forming collaborations between donors with shared interests and encouraging partnership work on delivery; and campaigning for more philanthropy, such as OCF’s cost-of-living appeal.

Head of Development Kate Parrinder shared a video documenting the impact donors had helped OCF achieve during the financial year 2021-22, during which we made a record £2,057,438 in grants, reaching over 56,000 beneficiaries. The video includes case studies from some of that funding, and can be found here.

At the end of the evening we shared some of our plans for 2023: a review of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and recession, and how this should be reflected in our work; a new edition of Oxfordshire Uncovered; and a focus on the environment, ensuring that our grant-making meets the long-term needs of communities that will increasingly be affected by climate change.

Donors were encouraged to continue to support and spread the word about OCF’s Cost of Living Fund, which has seen a huge demand from local charities as part of our recent grants round. We were pleased to announce that an influx of donations totalling £56k had been received in the past 24 hours, and hoped this would encourage others to give.

Some photos of the event can be found below!

Many thanks to the staff at The Story Museum for being such fabulous hosts.

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