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Conference highlights the role of Community Foundations

30 September 2015

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More than 300 charity executives from around the world gathered in Belfast for the biennial UK Community Foundations (UKCF) Conference to discuss the future of local charities and the need for innovative leadership. The conference took place from September 23-35 at the Assembly Buildings Conference Centre in Belfast and was generously hosted by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland (CFNI).

It featured inspirational speakers including England rugby legend Sir Clive Woodward, US communities guru Paul Schmitz and Big Lottery boss Dawn Austwick.

Commenting on the event and the fantastic example set by its hosts, UKCF chair David Sheepshanks said, “Northern Ireland is already increasingly seen as an inspirational model in the field of community integration, inclusion and connectivity, brought about through social investment. During this excellent conference we have already been given a first-hand insight into examples of the unstinting leadership and perseverance of some very committed individuals and groups who have made this happen, both here in the province and elsewhere.”

However, while he praised the excellent ongoing work of the UK's community foundation model, he admitted there is more local chiefs can do to lead by example and help safeguard communities.

“Community foundations are doing well and are collectively already the 10th largest donors in the UK,” he said.

“However, we know we are really only scratching the surface. We have a shared membership ambition to grow our combined endowment to £1 billion by 2020 and to grow our community grant making exponentially.

David added, “We are committed to promoting the culture of local community action and giving to meet the ever growing needs of our communities.

“To do this we need more local leaders to encourage growing numbers of people that can put something back into their own locality, to get involved and enjoy the satisfaction of seeing what can be achieved.”

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