Foundation starts up charity loan scheme

The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation is believed to have become the first grant-making foundation in the UK to offer a charity loan scheme.

The foundation, in conjunction with Charity Bank, will issue loans totalling £3 million after amending its grants programme. The sum is in addition to the £26 million the organisation makes available through its grants fund. Charities can apply for loans of between £10,000 and £250,000.

"We want to test demand for loan finance in the voluntary sector," said Margaret Hyde, director of the foundation. "I am not aware of any other grant-maker running anything similar on an official basis."

Charity consultant David Carrington believes the foundation is setting a precedent. "For a big organisation like this to set the loan scheme out as part of its social enterprise is pretty unusual," he said. "It took £100,000 to set up Charity Bank, so £3 million is an impressive amount."

See News in Focus, p12.

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