Alex Stewart shares a day in the life of a Philanthropy Manager at Sussex Community Foundation.
I’m mindful of the fact that when I describe my job to friends and family, it doesn’t sound as if I’m ‘working’. As one of the Philanthropy Managers at Sussex Community Foundation, I work to support and enable people who want to make a positive contribution to West Sussex, through effective philanthropy. My role is largely focussed on championing local groups and charities by sharing stories of the inspirational people working together to address the issues they see in their communities.
Aside from the admin which comes with every job, my days are enhanced immensely by the people I meet. From business leaders who want to give back to their local communities, to ex-service men creating a farm school for children not in mainstream education. Every day is different, and every interaction is exciting.
I find that the term ‘Philanthropy’ can be misconstrued nowadays. It’s more often associated with images of Victorian men building temporary orphanages and permanent statues of themselves and because of this image, many people won’t consider themselves ‘Philanthropists’. This is a great shame and no longer true. For if you support your local community in a strategic way, you’re already a philanthropist. Philanthropy is about critically thinking how you can make a difference and putting this plan into action. Sussex Community Foundation helps guide people on that journey, helping them make a tangible positive change for local communities across Sussex.
Sharing local impact
I’ve been working at the Foundation for close to a year now. Since then, the need for local philanthropy and community action has been clearer than ever as we have gone from crisis to crisis. In this time, charities have transitioned from focussing on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic to the Cost of Living Crisis and I do my best to show the impact of this challenge to the people across West Sussex I speak to.
Today, I organised several charity visits for one of our Fundholders with a particular interest in causes which support young people in rural areas, and children and adults with learning difficulties. Organisations such as Reaching Families, supporting parents of children with learning difficulties, or Crimsham Farm which provides hands on learning experiences for children who have fallen out of mainstream education.
The voluntary sector in Sussex is effective and vibrant. It’s heartening seeing how our local communities rise to each challenge that’s put in front of them when necessary.
If you want to know more I would be delighted to speak to you at any point. Find out more about how to give here or ask me directly with my email below.
Alex Stewart, Philanthropy Manager