Navigating succession challenges: How one community foundation has helped sustain a charity’s vital grant giving work

This story highlights how working with your local community foundation can be a viable option for succession planning.
Bob Morris, Russell Steed and Mike Padbury, former trustees of South Birmingham Friends Institute, with Tina Costello, Chief Executive of the Heart of England Community Foundation.

Navigating succession challenges: How one community foundation has helped sustain a charity’s vital grant giving work

This story highlights how working with your local community foundation can be a viable option for succession planning.
Contents

Overcoming succession challenges

In a significant move aimed at addressing succession challenges, the Heart of England Community Foundation has completed the takeover and £1.2 million asset transfer of the South Birmingham Friends Institute. This strategic initiative highlights the pivotal role that community foundations can play in supporting charities and trusts facing uncertain futures, particularly in the United Kingdom.

The transfer of assets, which included a substantial £1.2 million and five residential properties valued at £280,000 each, is now safeguarded within the Foundation’s endowment as a named fund. This financial and property infusion has been pivotal in overcoming succession challenges faced by the South Birmingham Friends Institute’s board. The charitable organisation, established in 1906 and specialising in providing grants that benefit communities across south Birmingham and the wider West Midlands, found itself in need of stable stewardship to preserve its vital work.

Robert Morris, the former Chair of Trustees of the South Birmingham Friends Institute, expressed his excitement for the future, following the takeover, stating, “Being part of the Heart of England Community Foundation brings stability and succession to our Trust. We have now secured a permanent legacy for South Birmingham Friends Institute, meaning that we can continue to support disadvantaged communities in the West Midlands.”

The charity’s trustees will remain involved as panel members for future grant making.

An important role for community foundations to play

The Heart of England Community Foundation’s takeover of the South Birmingham Friends Institute is an example of how community foundations can step in to offer essential support and ensure the sustained operation of struggling charities and trusts. Community foundations not only safeguard the legacy of these organisations but also provide a platform for continued community impact.

Tina Costello, Chief Executive of the Heart of England Community Foundation, underscores the significance of succession planning, stating, “Succession planning is vitally important for any charity – but it is crucial to know that winding up completely is not the only option should this succession not be in place.”

Bob Morris, Russell Steed and Mike Padbury, former trustees of South Birmingham Friends Institute, with Tina Costello, Chief Executive of the Heart of England Community Foundation.
Bob Morris, Russell Steed and Mike Padbury, former trustees of South Birmingham Friends Institute, with Tina Costello, Chief Executive of the Heart of England Community Foundation.

Aligned values and continued support for disadvantaged communities

Costello further adds, “South Birmingham Friends Institute is an active grant-giving charity with values that are aligned with those of the Foundation and that works within the same geographical location. We provided trustees with an opportunity to continue supporting disadvantaged communities across the West Midlands as well as having an active involvement in grant-making decisions, while we manage the fund itself. For the Foundation, this takeover supports the growth of investments to ensure long-term sustainability for the benefit of the communities it supports.”

This story serves as a powerful reminder to charity leaders in the UK that there are viable alternatives to closing down in the face of succession challenges. Through partnerships and takeovers with community foundations, charities can secure their future and continue to make a positive difference in their communities.

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