In our new impact report, we look at some of the stories of change behind our grant-making total, which has exceeded £2m for the second year running. Accompanying our 2021–22 audited accounts, the report gives an update from our CEO and Chair on changes in 2022 and plans for 2023.
As for so many people, 2022 was a year of post-pandemic reflection and refocusing for us at OCF. We had spent the last few years incubating and hosting partnerships focused on three of Oxfordshire’s most pressing problems, as well as continuing with our grant-making programmes. However, the experience of COVID-19, and then the cost-of-living crisis, highlighted how all the county’s grassroots charities are experiencing unprecedented challenges to their very existence. We understood that support was needed across a more comprehensive range of causes.
It was the right time to support those partnerships to become independent of OCF, housed in organisations with the sector expertise to help them flourish further. We have now doubled down on our core mission of building thriving communities through effective philanthropy. With fewer in-house staff, we are able to channel more funds out to the community.
The pandemic and spiralling cost of living have been immense challenges, but our donors have risen to meet it, making 2021–22 our biggest grant-making year yet, and 2022–23 looking like it will break that record again. Oxfordshire County Council, the Step Change Fund, Didcot Powerhouse and local businesses all pooled funds with other generous donors, reducing administration costs for donors and applicants alike. We are pleased to provide a grant-making service for them and for our wonderful fundholders.
Going forward into 2023, amid continued economic hardship, we know the future looks tough for the many grassroots charities struggling to meet even their core costs. We are determined to help them with this, and make our funds truly accessible to them.
The last few years have also underlined the importance of getting ahead of problems before they turn into full-blown crises. With this in mind, we are committed to helping the most disadvantaged communities to truly thrive by caring for Oxfordshire’s environment.
We are really pleased to have also been joined by two new trustees in January 2023 – Fabian French, former CEO of UK Community Foundations, and Tim Whitney, a family lawyer and mediator at Mills and Reeve. You can meet them and the rest of the trustee and staff team here.
To read the full story of 2022 and 2023, and see a selection of moving case studies reminding us of why we are here, please do have a look at our mini impact report.
OCF’s 2021–22 audited accounts have been submitted to the Charity Commission and can also be found here.