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'I see no reason not to help'

David Kogan opened a Donor Advised Fund, the Reel Fund, with The London Community Foundation in 2012, initiating a switch in his focus from funding large charities to smaller charities.

Prioritising groups working with young people and based in Camden, he concentrates on providing unrestricted grants, strongly believing the groups themselves are the experts in what needs doing.

We had the opportunity to sit down with him to discuss why he’s made the switch from large to small charities and why he focuses on funding projects working with young people.

What made you want to give in London?

I give because I can. I’ve been lucky, and I see no reason not to help. With my giving I’ve always felt it is important to support work that is useful and targeted, and the easiest way to do this is through funding charities that have a clear mission.

In the past I’ve supported the obvious large charities, including some overseas. But in recent years I’ve switched to supporting more local charities where I can see the impact. I realised that if I focus on smaller charities that are doing targeted work, my support can potentially have a much bigger impact. For me this is a much more interesting strategy, and I’m enjoying it.

Why did you choose a Donor Advised Fund with The London Community Foundation in 2012?

Well, The London Community Foundation ticked lots of boxes for me. I liked that The London Community Foundation has in-depth knowledge of the full range of charities, from the substantial to the small and unknown. My Fund is managed very well and the process is made very straightforward to me. When we meet once or twice a year, ideas for groups and projects that match my interests are brought to me and the only thing I need to do is decide how much to donate!

What are you supporting through your Fund and why?

My focus is groups that are local to Camden, and young people. Camden because I grew up here, and I live here now. Young people, because they are having a hard time in this age and I think we have a social obligation to help them. They’re facing immense challenges - their employment prospects are terrible, access to housing and education is being cut, and social deprivation is rising. The more we can help them, the sooner they can feel part of and be part of society.

Any highlights so far?

The London Community Foundation does a great job. I rely on them to provide me with a wide and varied list of charities that match my giving interests, and to do the due diligence. Without The London Community Foundation, I would never find these groups and even if I did, I wouldn’t feel comfortable funding them. The highlight is knowing that my giving is having a direct impact on what the charities are trying to deliver. 

One of the organisations who has received funding from The Reel Fund, is the Doorstep Homeless Families Project, who provide support to homeless families living in the London Borough of Camden. To learn more about their work, follow this link.

Published on 28 February 2016

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