Community Foundation charities help philanthropists invest in their communities where most needed; in 2010, Cheshire was the only English county without one. A common perception of Cheshire is that it’s a county full of expensive cars, champagne and luxury homes. However there is a less glamorous side: poverty, deprivation, isolation and loneliness.

The Duke of Westminster initiated discussions and funded a steering group with the intention of forming a Community Foundation for the Cheshire area. They formed a vision and engaged a Board. Tarnside helped the Board develop a compelling story and a strategy to appeal to Cheshire’s entrepreneurial community.

There was a need for speed, to galvanise the community and gain traction: but a risk that “quick wins” could come at the expense of longer-term success. Tarnside supported the board with approaches, and guided them to work on long-term relationships as well as immediate successes.

The Cheshire Community Foundation was established in 2012 with a level of funding that would be the envy of any start-up: outstanding in a crowded and competitive charitable sector especially in tough economic times. Now the Community Foundation continues to build sustainable funds for Cheshire communities and bring about new ideas.

In the community foundation’s own words:

Our aim is to make the people of Cheshire and Warrington sit up and take notice of what is happening right on their doorstep. We connect the people who want to give back with the most effective grass-roots charities and not-for-profit organisations, directly helping those most in need, whilst enabling our donors to feel proud that they’ve made a real difference.

We recently commissioned a research report providing an assessment of need throughout Cheshire, analysing significant social and economic trends to reveal how our communities are faring in key quality-of-life areas.

The results of our research report show that inequality, discrimination, disability, illness, distress, abuse, neglect and mental health issues are eroding the life chances of people living in our most deprived communities.”

Cheshire Community Foundation demonstrates just how community foundations can galvanise local philanthropy, shine a light on local needs, and focus people’s attention and giving towards their home communities.