Norfolk Community Foundation leads calls for a ‘Fellowship of Philanthropists’
Influential and socially-conscious individuals are being sought to forge a Fellowship of Philanthropists which could help meet the region's community challenges.
The public-spirited partnership will be established this year by the six community foundations in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Essex – and co-ordinated by the Norfolk Community Foundation.
At a time when government austerity cuts are stripping vital funding from local authorities, it is hoped about 30 people can be found who can volunteer enough time, ideas or money to tackle regional issues.
Possible candidates identified across the east of England will be contacted in the coming weeks and invited to take part in events, educational projects and community visits.
The search for fellowship members was launched yesterday with an alternative St Valentine's Day message for people to heed the original definition of philanthropy – a love of mankind.
Graham Tuttle, director of the Norfolk Community Foundation, said: 'We are passionate about philanthropy, and know many others who are too.
'This is a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of community philanthropy in the region and encourage people from many different places in our communities to be philanthropic in whichever way they wish.
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'It is about finding people with those thoughts and ideas and giving them a sense of identity where they can work within this group.
'It is not just about money. The great philanthropists are people with a conscience who are trying to do something for their local community. It might involve money, but often it is people who have something to say and are willing to work to do it.
'We have been challenged to find 30 people who would see this particular network as something they would like to be involved with. We have already got some ideas of the people who we think would want to engage with their local community foundations on regional issues, as well as county-wide issues.'
The fellowship will be funded with the help of the Esm�e Fairbairn Foundation, which supports 'activity that improves the lives of individuals and communities'.
To celebrate its 50th birthday, the fund made grants to 15 organisations, including �750,000 to the Community Foundation Network towards developing a UK fellowship of philanthropists. The six eastern foundations will receive a �66,000 share of the grant to establish the regional fellowship in the next three years.
For more information, contact Norfolk Community Foundation on 01603 623958 or visit www.norfolkfoundation.com.