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Bank problems may hit charitable giving

Bank problems may hit charitable giving

The demise of Anglo Irish Bank in Ireland and its take over by the Irish state may have a direct impact on charitable giving some charities fear.

Anglo Irish was known to be very generous to charity, giving a percentage of its profits each year. As the Anglo’s profits grew so too did its donations which sometimes reached €500,000 to individual charities in the social welfare field.

It is unlikely that Anglo will maintain its level of giving. Moreover, as other banks continue to need large tax payer support to survive it may have an impact on their ability to give to charity at the same level in the years ahead.

However, the example of Northern Rock may give some cause for optimism. Northern Rock Foundation, the single biggest charitable group offering grants in the North-east of England, had initially feared its projects would be ended by the collapse of the mortgage bank in 2007. But Alastair Balls, the charity’s chairman, was able to increase his grants budget for 2008 from £7m to £11m, following pledges made during the nationalisation process.

Until the end of 2007, Northern Rock set aside 5 per cent of its profits each year to fund the foundation. The collapse of the bank prompted Mr Balls to cut the charity’s grants budget for 2008 to just £7m, but provisions in the legislation paving the way for the nationalisation of Northern Rock commit it to funding the foundation to the tune of at least £15m a year until 2010.


Paul Artherton has a BA (Hons) Degree from Queen’s University and a MA Degree in Journalism from Pennsylvania State University. He has worked in PR and fundraising for over 27 years. Previously assistant director for fundraising and public relations at the Simon Community Northern Ireland for seven years, for the last 17 years he has run his own fundraising consultancy business specialising in fundraising, sponsorship, public relations and recruitment. His clients have included charities, private sector and public bodies. Examples include the Ulster Cancer Foundation, Simon Communities of Ireland, NI Hospice, North and West Belfast Health and Social Services Trust, Aiken Promotions, the Industrial Development Board and the Ulster Museum. He has lectured on voluntary sector management at Queens University Belfast Institute for Continuing Education. Since 2010 Paul has been a lay member of the NI Charity Tribunal.

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