OCF wishes to thank Nick Case, Laura Chapman and Paul Donovan, three outstanding volunteers who have given their time and support so generously to us.
Nick Case joined the OCF Board in April 2015. He is a chartered accountant who qualified with KPMG and has since worked in a venture capital business. Nick became Chair of Trustees in March 2020, just days after COVID-19 was identified as a global pandemic. All efforts naturally switched to our coronavirus response. OCF was fortunate to receive a very significant donation of £500,000, which underpinned our Community Resilience Fund (CRF).
Nick was previously OCF Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee for several years and this background ensured a focus on our financial stability. OCF’s CRF strategy, developed by Nick with the rest of the Board, included the difficult but vital decision that we must be mindful of new challenges that are likely to arise over time from the pandemic. This response meant us holding back some of our resources, which proved fortunate, as we were able to continue to provide grant funding throughout 2021.
With the formal appointment of new Chair, Ian Busby, Nick stepped aside to concentrate on developing relationships with both financial and non financial supporters, wherever they may be located, both to underpin our financial sustainability and to strengthen ties with communities across the county.
Laura Chapman joined the Board in March 2016 and shortly after took on the role of Grants Panel Chair. Laura had been Chief Executive of the Freemasons’ Grand Charity, which had a grant-making programme with an annual expenditure of approximately £5m. In her earlier career, she headed up BT’s award-winning Community Affairs Programme and worked as a freelance consultant for Business in the Community and CSR activities.
We are grateful to Laura for her dedication to the Grants Panel, particularly over the last 18 months, with our Community Resilience Fund responsible for over £1 million in grants in its first year. Laura’s experience was essential to our ability to act quickly but still ensuring a robust decision making process was adhered to. Working incredibly hard throughout the pandemic, the Grants Panel oversaw the distribution of over £50,000 per week for an extended period during 2020. This pace of work continued throughout 2021, with over £1.64 million in grants distributed throughout the year.
Paul Donovan joined the Board at the end of 2018, having already worked with OCF as a donor and supporter. He represented the donor perspective and challenged OCF to make stronger donor propositions, supporting the development of partnership programmes, and, in particular, our Early Years project, Growing Minds. Paul is currently CEO of Arqiva Group, following a career in tech and comms.
Paul continues his early stage support for Getting Oxfordshire Online, which seeks to tackle digital exclusion across the whole of Oxfordshire. It addresses lack of access to devices and data, and supports people with the training they need. Through his Donor Advised Fund, Our Common Good, Paul is ensuring Getting Oxfordshire Online delivery partners set out a clear mandate and establish the management and governance to help it succeed sustainably and independently.
Paul will continue his relationship with OCF as a fundholder. He has previously commented: “When you want to give money away, it is incredibly time-consuming finding where projects are. This is where OCF comes in – as a convener of the sector in Oxfordshire it’s so brilliantly connected. Their data-based analysis really does pinpoint where the need is greatest, and where the leverage on your investment can have the greatest return.”
A huge thank you to Nick, Laura and Paul and to our present board and patrons, as without such volunteers, none of our work would be possible.