Support the Acorn Fund Challenge and help local charities

A golden opportunity is available to people in Essex, to take part in a match funding challenge aimed at raising a total of £750,000, that will increase the amount of vital support to local community groups and charities.

We have all become increasingly aware of the incredible work charities have been doing throughout the coronavirus pandemic and continuing to support their work is now more important than ever.

This initiative is being put into action by Essex Community Foundation (ECF) to help improve the lives of people in need, particularly those who are struggling during these difficult times.

Called the ‘Acorn Fund Challenge’, ECF is appealing for donations to its Acorn Fund and matching them on a 2 to 1 basis until a total of £750,000 is raised.  This means that for every £2 received, ECF will add £1, and if Gift Aid can be claimed, it nearly doubles the value of donations.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF said: “We are pledging £250,000 for the challenge and are delighted to be offering this matched-funding opportunity which we hope will be taken up by local people.

“The money will go into our Acorn Fund, from which we can respond quickly with financial support to meet local needs highlighted by charities and voluntary organisations. The more we can raise, the greater amount of help we can give by awarding grants to organisations who do such vital work in the community.

“The matched-funding challenge is a great chance for people to support local charities and voluntary groups so we are asking people to share this opportunity as widely as possible through their families, friends and colleagues.”.

Anyone can give towards the challenge; individuals can make a one-off donation or contact ECF to set up a regular donation.  Companies and their employees can get involved in raising money in their local teams.  There are also tax incentives associated with gifts to charity so professional advisers may have clients who will want to support this initiative.

It is easy for local charities and voluntary groups to apply for grants from ECF at any time either for specific projects or for their running costs.  All applications are assessed and where possible ECF awards the full amount requested, so that local groups can really make a difference in their community.

Last year, ECF awarded grants totalling £4.8 million to voluntary and community organisations working in the county.  There is great demand on charities to increase their services and support at this time, but with restrictions enabling limited opportunities to fundraise, they are desperately seeking funding for their work.

A recent grant of £10,000 from ECF has helped Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF) to support vulnerable people across the District during the pandemic. Jacqui Foile from VAEF said: “Using our volunteer expertise we rapidly set up a district-wide community response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The grant from ECF helped us to meet extra costs and keep our services going.”


It is easy to give to ECF’s matched-funding challenge:

  • Give online now
  • Send a cheque to Essex Community Foundation at 121 New London Road, Chelmsford CM2 0QT
  • Call us on 01245 355947 to make a payment by bank transfer or to set up a regular donation

You can read about other supported charities here.

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