Published on 28/09/2017
PHILANTHROPY AND THE HONOURABLE COMPANY
Livery companies have a distinguished record of philanthropy in support of their individual aims, and the Honourable Company is following in this tradition. The purpose of this note is to draw attention to the several ways in which this can be effected and to invite members to consider aligning their personal charitable giving more closely with the 'For Gloucestershire' aims of the Company. As we celebrate our tenth anniversary it seems appropriate that we should raise our sights, with a view to becoming a more significant philanthropic presence in the county through projects supported by the Interest Groups and by our charitable trust.
The charitable trust was set up to channel annual contributions by members to charitable purposes in the county, with donations eligible for gift aid treatment. A minimum contribution is expected from members at the time of subscription renewal - currently £75, but many donate more than this amount and I would invite members to give serious consideration to channelling more of their personal charity donations through the trust, over and above existing commitments to particular charities. The trustees have a general aim to distribute the annual donation 'harvest' from members, taking one year with another, making the charitable trust suitable for additional smaller donations.
The Honourable Company has also set up an endowment fund to receive larger lump sum gifts. This fund is managed by the Gloucestershire Community Foundation on our behalf, under an arrangement whereby its distributable income is allocated under advice from the trustees of our trust. The fund currently stands at approximately £65,000 and it would be good to see it grow by further additions to the capital fund, either through discretionary gifts or - perhaps more important for the long term - through legacy arrangements.
One of the principal achievements over recent years has been the establishment of the Interest Groups, each led by a member of Court, to focus on different aspects of what 'For Gloucestershire' can mean for the county. This entails identifying organisations in the county that fit well with our aims, working with them and mobilising financial support where appropriate. The Trust is then in a position to give its backing to them. I would especially ask members when they read about these initiatives in the Newsletter or on the web site to consider giving their personal support as well, or even becoming directly involved in the work or the governance of the project. On several occasions the Interest Groups have taken the initiative to set up new projects and to bring in other charities and donors in order to achieve greater impact. Examples have been the Schools Science Lectures, the David Vaisey Prize and the stonemasons apprentice scheme at Gloucester Cathedral.
The founding concept of the Honourable Company - combining good fellowship with a willingness to promote the values and interests of the county of Gloucestershire - was a good one, and philanthropy is an integral element. I feel we can be proud of what has been achieved already, but also inspired to do more.
Follow the link for information on those shortlisted for the 2018 David Vaisey Library Prize.
HCG organised a meeting on 28 June as part of its contribution to the ‘big conversation’ on the strategy for Gloucestershire, focusing on anchor institutions.