Football’s coming home!

City Philanthropy's Cheryl Chapman writes about footballer Jamie Carragher's philanthropic work with the Community Foundation for Merseyside

Community foundations can play an unique role in place-based philanthropy combining fundraising and grantmaking expertise. Community foundations operate to ensure any form of philanthropy whether from an individual or an organisation is effective and brings great of benefit to those in need in our local communities. That's why Jamie Carragher is working with the UK Community Foundation (UKCF) to improve the lives of youngsters in Merseyside. Cheryl Chapman (City Philanthropy) details Jamie's story below: 

An exciting ‘local philanthropy’ initiative has just kicked off - and it’s from an unlikely place. Football!

Last month, retired England and Liverpool footballer Jamie Carragher won a Beacon Award for his philanthropic work. 

With money from his testimonial game in 2009 he created the 23 Foundation through the Community Foundation for Merseyside.  It reached its  £1m target for an endowment fund in February 2010, with match funding from a Grassroots Endowment Challenge from central Government.

The 23 Foundation provides grants and support to young people in the local communities where Carragher grew up and is his way of giving back. It encourages the youth of Merseyside to actively reach for their dreams by following their sporting interests and has distributed £308,041 in grants to support 20 individuals and 55 community groups across Merseyside.
Jamie’s giving is an expression of his desire to give back to the community that helped him as a lad. But a key reason the Sefton boy won the Beacon Award is as a role model for other footballers; sharing the joy of community giving with colleagues he has helped them find out how to do it.

This has blossomed into a pilot scheme called ‘Your Cause, Your Way’ to help more players seeking to donate to local causes.

The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) has joined forces with charity network UK Community Foundations (UKCF) to launch the scheme, that gives players a new option for charitable giving. It allows them to set up a named charity fund which is then managed by UKCF and the player’s local community foundation – so players can give to whichever charities, community groups or individuals they want, without the complex administrative processes.

Of course, football has grown out of grass roots communities and many clubs depend on their communities for support so this is a great opportunity for football to give something back. The potential could be huge.

David Sheepshanks, chairman of UKCF and former chairman of the PFA, and Ipswich Town FC, says of the scheme he helped broker: "Given my passion for local communities and my personal love of football, I am really excited about the potential of ‘Your Cause, Your Way’ to help players give back and really make a difference to the communities they love.

"Community foundations have a remarkable ability to connect those that want to give, with the local causes that matter most to them - these are typically under-funded, under the radar and yet critically important , often acting as the social glue to keep communities together.

"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.”

If the scheme takes off we may be cheering more than the football on the terraces! C’mon you funders!