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Professional footballers to be helped to set up local charitable funds

Professional footballers to be helped to set up local charitable funds

UK Community Foundations (UKCF), the network of local community foundations, has partnered with the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) to launch a pilot scheme to help players who want to donate effectively to local causes.

“Your Cause, Your Way” will help players create their own named charitable funds, which will be supported and administered by experts at their local community foundation. There are 48 community foundations across the UK.

Currently players who wish to support their communities have either had to make a personal donation to a local charity, or go to the trouble of setting up and maintaining their own registered charity with its own board of trustees and its administrative and reporting requirements. Foundations set up along these lines include the James Milner Foundation, the Jermaine Defoe Foundation, and the Jason Roberts Foundation.

‘Your Cause, Your Way’ will let players give to whichever charities, community groups or individuals they want, without these administrative processes.

Jamie Carragher’s 23 Foundation

Jamie Carragher's 23 Foundation

Jamie Carragher’ set up the 23 Foundation in Merseyside

This pilot scheme follows the successful partnership between former England and Liverpool FC player Jamie Carragher and his local community foundation.

In 2009, Carragher teamed up with Community Foundation for Merseyside to launch his charity, the 23 Foundation, which has since donated £310,000 to sports initiatives across Merseyside, helping provide coaches and facilities to community centres, as well as establishing football academies for local schoolchildren and funding the region’s budding young sports.

Carragher is supporting the pilot scheme. He said:

“There’s a lot more to it than just giving money, so it’s important to have that network of specialists behind you, who understand what they’re doing, and that’s what you get with a community foundation.”

Commenting on Your Cause, Your Way, PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said:

“The new partnership provides an additional option moving forward, giving members the chance to utilise the legal framework and charitable umbrella of a national organisation in UKCF. Members interested in finding out more about the partnership, or indeed any other method of charitable giving, can speak to the PFA Community Department who will pleased to offer guidance and support.”

David Sheepshanks, chairman of UK Community Foundations, said:

“Now with Your Cause, Your Way, players have the option to harness all of that community foundation capability and local expertise by setting up their own named funds. This way they can still enjoy all the benefits and profile as though it were their own charity, while outsourcing its management to the community experts who can then introduce participants to the extraordinary things being done in their chosen neighbourhood.”

Can charities apply for funding from these foundations?

The funds, once they are set up by footballers, will operate like other Community Foundation-managed funds. The players will pick their areas of priority and the foundations will then create grants which become available for eigible local charities to apply for. In addition, the footballer may choose to direct donations to a specific charity or charities.

Former Liverpool FC and England footballer Jamie Carragher set up his named fund, The 23 Foundation, with the Community Foundation for Merseyside in the run up to his charity Testimonial game in 2009.

Proceeds from the game, along with government match funding via the community foundation, enabled Jamie to launch his 23 Foundation with a £1 million endowment fund. Since then it has distributed £310,000 to 55 community groups around Merseyside, as well as supporting 20 aspiring young athletes.

Carragher said:

“Working with the community foundation has been fantastic for our charity; we wanted to do a lot of good stuff, but we didn’t know too much about going about it. They have been a great help to us.

“We give them the money to look after and they’re doing a great job. For me it’s about helping kids from different parts of Merseyside who are having difficulties.”

Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Research massive growth in giving.

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