‘The breathing space to grow and develop’

Lynn and her husband, Simon, first got involved with the community foundation movement in London in 2008. Since then, they have given out numerous grants including seven grants for long term funding.

Hear from Lynn below on what motivated her to give and why she and Simon choose to support charities for the long term.

It is hard to walk down the street in central London today without being accosted by a charity worker fundraising for a well-known organisation. Whether you reach into your proverbial pocket or not, it does beg the question as to what motivates people to give. The majority of the charities strike a chord not only because they have brand recognition but also because it is difficult not to be impacted by the many campaigns, whether it be the plight of the homelessness, youth crime, child poverty or an unforgiving illness. However, there are a plethora of charities that are under the radar catering to people in your community. They do not have the resources to mass fundraise but they are committed and their need for long term funding is just as great if not greater than their larger counterparts.

It is this reason why my husband and I first got involved with The London Community Foundation (LCF) ten years ago when it was then known as The Capital Community Foundation. It was a much smaller organisation but the charities it supports are similar to those today – small, targeted and grassroots. The main attraction for us is the ability to develop a relationship with the founder, meet the people that are being supported and witness the outcomes first-hand. In many ways it is the true definition of impact investing but at a community level.                        

We first got involved with LCF when I went to listen to psychotherapist Pippa Hockton at the Women in the Well, a charity based in Kings Cross dedicated to supporting vulnerable women whose lives are affected by or at risk of being affected by prostitution. She is founder of Street Talk and was telling us about the women she was helping and explaining why there needed to be a different therapeutic approach than the one offered by the NHS. Text book treatment was not suitable but a specially crafted therapy for women who have been through unimaginable hardship was required. What impressed me the most though about Pippa was her honesty, dedication and devotion.

This has not changed over the ten-year period that we have been providing funding. I value the relationship we have formed with Pippa over the years and have met many of the women she helped to lead productive lives. Our support as well as others also enabled Pippa to write Street Talk: Not Angry, But Hurting, a book codifying her pioneering model rooted in Object Relations Theory. It is being presented at conferences and hopefully will lead to a wider adoption of the approach.

We have had a similar experience with Baobab, a non-residential charity which supports child and adolescent asylum seekers who have experienced inconceivable horrors. Again, there is an inspiring director in Sheila Melzak as well as an impressive team of teachers, support workers and psychotherapists. Although there is so much discussion and news about immigration, the truth is no one ever wants to leave their family and home. However, war and persecution are powerful motivators and these are children who have been forced to flee. Baobab provides the emotional, physical and practical support they need to rebuild their lives.

I have only chosen two charities but there are so many more that sit under the LCF umbrella. Providing long term funding to these smaller charities not only offers a greater insight into the work they do but also gives them the breathing space to grow and develop.

- Lynn Strongin Dodds