I was absolutely delighted when I was asked to join the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) Social Economy Taskforce earlier this year and if that wasn’t exciting enough, I was humbled to learn that I had been nominated for the Institute of Directors (IOD) Non-profit Director of the Year 2018!
But none of this would have been possible without all of the fantastic, small charities, that we work with on a daily basis across the West Midlands.
The Foundation supports hundreds of amazing projects, dealing with big and small issues in local communities. From funding for new furniture in community halls to projects tackling knife crime, I’m proud to celebrate the diversity of our impact, meeting people whose lives have changed, often as a result of small amounts of funding.
Recently I had the pleasure of meeting five projects at a charity cheque presentation with one of our donors. The meeting was made possible thanks to our partnership, which enabled us to award funding to support the projects which help families and children in mostly rural communities.
I am constantly reminded of the power that small and micro charities offer. They support the issues and problems which often go unnoticed in communities, not because they aren’t important, but often because they are below the radar of mainstream media. Working with our donors and partners, we shine a light on local issues, funding community organisations who roll their sleeves up and work together to changes lives.
The WMCA’s Social Economy Taskforce engages a wide variety of different organisations, united with a clear social purpose from the voluntary and community sector. The taskforce will look specifically at the role that the social economy can play in the growth of community benefit in the region and how WMCA can support and enable opportunities that will support this growth.
Finally, unfortunately for me I didn’t scoop the prize of Non-profit Director of the Year but there was a worthy winner in James McLaughlin, from Cure Leukaemia, a charity which has made incredible strides in the last 12-months. Enormous congratulations to him and his charity.
It was an absolute honour to have been recognised by my peers for the Foundations growth and progression in the last 12-months and to be an IOD finalist, but the real pleasure is knowing that we’re making a difference to people’s lives across the region daily.
We should all remember, small charities are just as important and vital, if not more so, than big ones.