The government has pledged an additional £2m to the Community First endowment fund in recognition of Giving Tuesday, the day of giving that is being promoted in the UK for the first time this year and takes place today.
The Community First Endowment Match Challenge fund is a national funding pot that has so far received £70m in donations from members of the public and businesses. This has been supplemented by £40m from the government.
The government said that the endowment fund, which makes grants to small local charities and is administered by the Community Development Foundation, is expected to grow to more than £120m by March 2015.
Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society, will announce the £2m contribution at an event at the London Stock Exchange this afternoon.
"Britain has a long and proud tradition of generosity as a nation, and it’s great to see more than 800 organisations pledging their support for #GivingTuesday," he said in a statement. "This day is about people giving back to a worthwhile cause, and I want to personally thank all the individual donors and businesses that have contributed towards making this fund sustainable, helping to fund hundreds of life-changing projects in local communities."
He said the £2m in government money would encourage a further £4m in donations from individuals and businesses.
The fund, which was first announced in 2010, granted more than £1.7m to 762 charities in the last financial year. The money it receives in donations is invested by the investment management firm CCLA, with the returns ploughed into charities selected by the original donors.
Other Giving Tuesday events
More than 800 organisations and businesses have signed up to Giving Tuesday, according to the Charities Aid Foundation, which has brought the day to the UK. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has also endorsed the initiative, as have celebrities such as Helen Mirren, Michael Palin and Duncan Bannatyne.
Speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain today, Cameron said: "I think it's a good moment to remember that of course Christmas is about giving to family and friends and buying gifts and the rest of it, but it's also a moment to think of others and to encourage giving."
Events being run in recognition of the day include Localgiving.com and the Office for Civil Society’s Triple Tenner Tuesday, which will triple 1,000 donations of £10 made through the Localgiving website. The computer and software developer Microsoft has promised to match donations made to its UK Youth Hubs – youth clubs run in partnership with the charity UK Youth – from 2pm on the website globalgiving.co.uk.
The Big Give is running a matched-funding event called the Christmas Challenge, which offers free online seminars to charities that want to take part. Facebook is providing charities with vouchers so they can advertise on the site.
The hashtag Giving Tuesday has been trending on Twitter since 7.30am. Supporters are also posting pictures using the hashtag #unselfie to show which cause they support.