UK Community Foundations and the Professional Footballers’ Association have come together to launch a scheme to make it easier for footballers to donate to local causes.
UKCF represents 48 regional community foundations across the UK, which together gave out 21,000 mainly small grants to local causes, worth a combined total of more than £65m in 2014. The PFA claims to be the world’s longest-established professional union for sportspeople.
A press statement from UKCF says that until now any player who wanted to give back to the community would have to write a cheque directly to a charity or set up their own foundation.
The Your Cause, Your Way scheme gives players the new option of setting up a named charity fund, managed by the UKCF and the player’s local foundation, cutting down on administration for the players.
According to information on the PFA website, a player needs to make a donation of £5,000 or more to open the fund in their name, then donate a minimum of £10,000 a year into the fund.
The community foundation managing the fund will "ask for annual donations to cover the cost of their work as a registered charity, which will typically be 10 per cent of the funds distributed each year". This fee covers administration including financial management, Gift Aid, legal work, grants processing, compliance, guidance on giving plans and marketing work.
The pilot scheme has been launched on the back of a partnership, launched in 2009, between the former England footballer Jamie Carragher and the Community Foundation for Merseyside. Carragher has donated £310,000 to sports initiatives across Merseyside through his 23 Foundation.
"There’s a lot more to it than just giving money, so it’s important to have that network of specialists behind you who understand what they’re doing," said Carragher. "That’s what you get with a community foundation."
David Sheepshanks, the chairman of UKCF, who formerly chaired Ipswich Town FC and the Football League, said: "With Your Cause, Your Way, players have the option to harness all of that community foundation capability and local expertise by setting up their own named funds. This way they can still enjoy all the benefits and profile as though it were their own charity, while outsourcing its management to the community experts, who can then introduce participants to the extraordinary things being done in their chosen neighbourhoods."