By Andrew Holt
The Trustees of the Charity Employees Benevolent Fund (CEBF), after consultation with the Fund’s Advisory Council, have decided that they have no option but to wind down CEBF’s operations and close the charity when all current financial obligations have been met.
Any balance remaining will be distributed to a charity for the relief of poverty.
In spite of efforts since CEBF’s foundation in 2003 and especially over the past three years, it has so far proved impossible to generate a sufficiently large and regular income stream from the charity sector to sustain the growing number of applications for assistance from the Fund.
Almost all industries and professions have their own charities supported by employers and employees in their sector.
CEBF’s Trustees are dismayed that, with some notable exceptions, charities have not yet acknowledged the need for a benevolent fund of last resort for the estimated 650,000 people they employ.
CEBF’s beneficiaries include past and present employees of several large charities which have refused to support CEBF on the grounds that they look after their own staff.
The numbers of charity employees and former employees seeking help from the Fund have (with little marketing) increased rapidly during the past year; the number of completed applications tripled.
On the positive side, since the charity became fully operational in November 2009, CEBF has provided practical assistance to more than 250 families across the country and from all age groups and backgrounds.
A small but growing number of charities, including the NSPCC, New Philanthropy Capital and Victim Support have enthusiastically grasped the concept of a sector benevolent fund and have been making regular donations based on the size of their workforce.
A philanthropic organisation that, like those pioneers, recognises the need for a charity sector benevolent fund and is sufficiently robust to support CEBF’s work until the Fund is self-financing could still take it over as an operating charity. CEBF’s Trustees would welcome an approach from any such organisation before September 1st.
Commenting on the Trustees’ decision, the President of CEBF, Sir Stuart Etherington, said: “I think the Trustees have taken a very difficult decision. It is a great pity this resource is no longer available for Charity Employees; I hope that some benefactor will come forward to assist the fund.”
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