2015 has been a year of big numbers, big events, big characters and big ideas. From boosts in grant-making to well deserved awards, we’ve achieved a lot – and have even bigger ambitions for 2016!
Here are our top ten highlights from 2015:
1. The Oxford Union debate
In the top spot is our stellar event at the historic Oxford Union, where six high-profile speakers took on a motion that pitched looking good against doing good. Our audience was inspired, and made some generous donations after the debate – which was sponsored by the fabulous CCLA.
2. Awards aplenty
Not only did we receive a “Highly commended” certificate at the Thames Valley Business Magazine Awards, but one of our most generous donors was acknowledged with a Beacon Award for philanthropy, and our fund manager CCLA was recognised for its ethical investments. And we were delighted to see so many of the groups we have funded receiving OCVA Charity Awards in February.
3. A record year for income and grant-making
A combination of new donor-advised funds, match funding and more strategic grant-making means the 2014-15 financial year was our best yet, with a 254% growth in income and a 400% increase in grant-making.
4. The Future-Building Fund goes from strength to strength
The Future-Building Fund continued its ground-breaking approach to supporting the local charitable sector, providing large grants to help ambitious charities significantly scale up their operation. The fund awarded grants to Trax, Yellow Submarine, and many more.
5. The team is inspired at the UK Community Foundations Conference
Staff and trustees from all 48 of the UK’s community foundations gathered at the inspiring and thought-provoking event in Belfast. As well as the sharing of ideas and success stories via targeted workshops, we had the chance to hear talks from renowned speakers, including former England rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward.
6. New seminars for professional advisors launched with great success
Thanks to the generosity of several local firms, we hosted a series of briefings are aimed at financial advisors, solicitors and accountants. The sessions upskilled advisors working with private clients to plan their philanthropy.
7. Maggie’s Day celebrates the power of stories
A group of enthusiastic school children took part in an interactive workshop with author-illustrator Emily Gravett as part of the annual Maggie’s Day event at The Story Museum. The day was a chance for Maggie Evans’ family and friends to remember her and to celebrate her love of books and stories.
8. David Cameron opens a second Yellow Submarine cafe in Witney
OCF was delighted to attend the grand opening of Yellow Submarine’s social enterprise cafe in Witney, which was unveiled during a surprise visit from the Prime Minister. The opening was the latest chapter of a success story that has seen OCF support Yellow Submarine from the very start.
9. We welcome new faces onto our Board to help drive progress
In April our Board of Trustees was boosted with the arrival of Anne and Nick, who have since contributed significantly to our projects and financial management. Towards the end of the year we were very excited to announce the appointment of our new Chair John Taylor – an experienced leader who replaces our much-garlanded outgoing Chair Anna Moon.
10. New business initiative Reciprocate is created to help companies support charities more effectively
Our new responsible business group was launched in November in response to calls from the Business Barometer survey to support businesses with their community engagement. In the first month 35 new members have joined, ably supported by veteran local businessman and former High Sheriff Tony Stratton.
So how about 2016? It’s our 21st birthday! So watch this space…
If you haven’t done so already, please consider supporting our work this festive season by making a donation to our Health and Wellbeing Fund.