OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES
The Trustees feel that the Fund’s guiding principle is well expressed in our strap-line ‘reaching out to the world’s poorest’ which we believe, effectively encapsulates our mission statement. We aim to do what we can to benefit some of the poorest people and communities in the world, wherever we find them.
Given that we are only a comparatively small charity, we accept the limited difference that we can make to such a broadly defined group of potential beneficiaries. Nevertheless, the partners and projects that we support are selected because we believe that the beneficiaries are indeed among the world’s poorest – and that the money we send will make a real difference to the well-being of the few that we are able to reach. We feel this echoes Miriam’s response when visiting Germany in 1947: she later wrote that she had felt moved “to lift just a tiny corner in this vast weight of suffering”.
In deciding on grants to be made each year, both for annual maintenance and for one-off items, the Trustees have regard to the Charity Commission’s general guidance on public benefit and the prevention and relief of poverty. We also ensure that all grants made are in line with our charitable objects and the provisions of our Trust Deed. Whilst some of our partners are Christian organisations, we assure ourselves that they serve the poor and disadvantaged in their areas irrespective of race, sexual orientation, religion, creed, age or gender and avoid evangelisation or attempted conversion.
Our policies and commitments in respect of grant-making are described below. Applying those in the early part of the year (grants are generally made in April), brought the planning figure for grants in 2020 to £148k, similar to the previous year. The accounts show that the cost of grants (actually sent including transfer fees) totalled just under £138k (see note ? of accounts). Whilst this may seem counter-intuitive in a year ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, our partners made few additional requests as discussed below.
In 2020 we supported the following partners with Annual Maintenance Grants (AMG):
AMG are made in support of known programmes which have been seen on visits by the trustees and change little from year to year. Several partners made contact to indicate that they would not be able to deliver what they had planned because of the pandemic. They sought agreement to use some of the resources to respond to the new needs of their communities (in many cases for basic subsistence) in countering the effects of COVID-19; of course, we gave this agreement.
One-off grants were also planned as follows:
These grants were sent in April, and as with the AMG, the effects of COVID meant that some of these were re-designated.
ACHIEVEMENT AND PERFORMANCE
Like very many organisations, the pandemic seriously affected the normal activities the trustees would have undertaken; no visits to supporters within the UK were possible. Most trustees’ meetings were held virtually. We did publish and distribute our re-branded newsletter, and sufficient progress was made to enable our website to be re-launched in January 2021.
Happily, the planned trip to Kenya and South Africa was able to take place in February before travel restrictions were imposed. Two trustees held discussions with and saw the work of CODI and L&FN; a very valuable time. In the latter part of the year we should have been planning a visit to south India in early 2021; video calls are being scheduled to provide some limited interaction.
FINANCIAL REVIEW & SUMMARY
Within our overall arrangements, the Trustees operate a single restricted fund; Christopher’s Fund was established to support annual maintenance at the Holy Cross Special School, Mannackanad which it continues to do.
The Trustees aim to ensure that adequate funds are held to ensure that the charitable activities of the Fund can continue for the future. We consider the reserves to be sufficient to enable the Fund to continue sending grants to our partners and others, at about the level achieved this year, for the next twelve months and for at least a decade ahead.
We operate two formal policies regarding our funds. Firstly, all legacies received are credited to a Reserve (LR) which is to be spent within an approximately 7-year period; ie. ~15% of the LR will be spent each year. Secondly, many of our partners need annual grants principally to pay loyal staff who deliver services to their communities. Our policy is that an AMG, once made to a partner, is guaranteed at the same cash level for two further years (1+2); we believe this offers the partner the necessary stability to plan activities.
The new bank account with Charities Aid Foundation (CAF Cash) has operated satisfactorily; main grants were paid using its overseas currency routing capability.
After a somewhat exceptional previous year, financial performance in 2020 was more in line with recent times. Investment income was surprisingly strong: around double our expenses despite those being rather higher – reflecting the visit and re-branding.
|Donations (inc. Gift Aid)||£68k||Grants||£138k|
(The summary above is presented in rounded cash terms and may not align completely with the formal accounts which follow.)
STRUCTURE, GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT
The Fund is controlled by its governing document, a deed of trust, and is an unincorporated charity.
Recruitment and appointment of new trustees
Current Trustees are permitted to recruit and appoint like-minded individuals to become trustees of the Charity. The decision to appoint is at the discretion of the current Trustees.
The Fund has no paid staff, no accommodation and no fixed outgoings.
Whilst all expenses are reimbursed and the cost of travelling is paid by the Fund, all of the work involved in administering the Fund is undertaken by the five Trustees without remuneration. All of the Fund’s expenses are more than covered by income from funds retained in accordance with the policies described above. The Trustees feel that this enables us to justifiably claim that we send overseas everything given by supporters (‘every penny given goes’).
All Trustees acknowledge that we have a duty to identify and review the risks to which the Fund is exposed, and we ensure appropriate controls are in place to provide reasonable assurance against fraud and error. We take out suitable insurance to provide further protection against such risks. It is a guiding principle that trustees visit our partners (except those in receipt of small amounts) every couple of years.