FinancialNewsOCFThree pictures showing grant recipients taking part in activities.

OCF has just published its audited accounts for the financial year 2022–23. Grant-making was over £2 million for the third year running, demonstrating the major emphasis on growing the funds that we are able to distribute to charities and groups across Oxfordshire.

Responsive grant-making

2022–23 saw our biggest grant-making year yet, with the COVID pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis shaping the focus. We are proud that we were able to react quickly to the changing picture across our county, thanks to our relationships with thousands of local charitable organisations, ensuring we understood the needs of the communities in Oxfordshire. Our donors and funders rose to the challenge, providing a strong base of support that was integral to our response.

Through partnering with Oxfordshire County Council, we delivered the Department of Health and Social Care’s Contain Outbreak Management Fund. OCF distributed £300,000 to support community groups to improve mental and physical health and build resilience as they rapidly regrouped after the devastating impact of the pandemic.

OCF then moved quickly to launch the Cost of Living Fund, distributing £286,000 in grants through OCF investment returns, together with funds from donors, businesses, statutory partners and local funders. The most vulnerable people in our communities were hit hardest, with little financial resilience to cope with this sudden escalation of costs, needing urgent, practical support to ensure their basic needs of food, warmth and shelter were met. Oxfordshire’s charitable sector stepped up and responded rapidly to offer this vital support at a time of crisis.

Loneliness and isolation were targeted as we launched the Community Capacity Fund, particularly with an ageing and rural population in Oxfordshire. Thanks to generous donations made through some named funds held by OCF, we were able to leverage extra funding, to the tune of £129,000. By pooling funds with our donors and Oxfordshire County Council, we have been able to make a bigger difference to many more people.

Partnerships spread their wings

2023 saw Oxfordshire Homeless Movement and Black Minds Matter UK establish themselves as independent charities. Having been incubated and hosted by OCF over the last few years, the time was right to support these partnerships to become independent of OCF and enable us to support a more comprehensive range of causes. This refocus had also enabled us to house Age Friendly Banbury, Getting Oxfordshire Online and Growing Minds until they became independent initiatives hosted by charities with sector expertise to help them flourish further.

Further highlights from the financial year

Other key achievements in 2022-23 were:

  • The Step Change Fund was supporting 12 organisations with vital funding that enabled them to make fundamental changes in their organisation to facilitate their growth. Projects funded included enabling one charitable organisation to extend its reach to cover all of Oxfordshire, whilst another charity was able to install a new IT system that created more efficient management and reporting.
  • The Didcot Powerhouse Fund, also hosted by OCF, supported 17 charitable organisations in the Didcot area, with local businesses stepping forward to support their surrounding communities. A wide variety of projects have been funded, from catch up support in local primary schools, to focusing on preventative well-being and mental health initiatives.
  • We launched our corporate giving opportunity, the Collective Business Fund, enabling businesses across the county to support the communities in which they work.
  • Unrestricted reserves at March 2023 were comfortably above OCF’s policy of holding a minimum of six months of unrestricted expenditure in its liquidity reserve, ensuring financial stability.
  • Dividend income from investments increased by 4%, on 2021-22, despite external factors making the financial year 2022-23 challenging for investments around the world, including those held by OCF.

Ian Busby, OCF’s Chair of Trustees said:

“Community Foundations across the globe occupy a unique position in acting as much needed independent intermediaries between givers who understand the value of supporting their communities, and those local groupings that need funds to support their work but also sadly lack the resources and reach to raise the money they need by themselves. I strongly believe that if OCF did not exist to play this critical role as a charitable intermediary, there would be a substantial vacuum in Oxfordshire in the charity sector that would seriously impair the collection and flow of funds between givers and the groups who support those who most need help. It is therefore critically important that the extraordinary value of OCF is fully recognised as a major driver of the philanthropic engine in Oxfordshire. And that we too, as with the groups we support, also receive the financial support we need to continue our essential work.”

More information about the effect of our grant-making on Oxfordshire’s communities can be read when we release our 2023 impact report in the spring of 2024.

Read our full, audited accounts.