Our newly recruited Philanthropy Manager, Jackie Wilkes, shares a day in the life of her new role and her experience of joining the SCF team.
As a recent recruit to the Philanthropy Team, I have arrived at an exciting moment in the Sussex Community Foundation calendar. We have three grant rounds a year, in January, May and September, and each is followed by a period of intense activity. With the May round recently closed, the Grants team starts the assessment process by completing due diligence on each group who made an application to make sure they meet our eligibility criteria.
After that, each application is assessed twice and, given that we received 255 applications in the latest funding round, that is no small task. The sort of thing we look for is evidence of need, clear aims, achievable outcomes and robust evaluation systems; consideration is also given to sustainability when the requested funding runs out.
One of the most exciting aspects of my (extremely new) job is matching the applications with the philanthropic interests of our fund holders. I have been bowled over by the range and professionalism of the voluntary sector groups who have made applications to us and this is despite having worked in the voluntary sector myself for over 20 years.
Having familiarised ourselves with the applications, Stephen Chamberlain, Head of Philanthropy, and I, meet the fund holder, either in our office in Lewes or in their own home, to talk through the shortlist of projects that we have selected for them. With the funding limit having been raised from £5,000 to £10,000 for our latest round, there are opportunities to either fund the whole project or make a meaningful contribution to the total cost.
One of the advantages of our Named Fund model means that we can offer fund holders all the benefits of having their own charitable trust without the admin that goes with it and one of the most enjoyable of these is a visit to one of the groups their money has funded to see first-hand, the impact that their funding has made.
Jackie Wilkes, Philanthropy Manager