Jo Cox Foundation granted charitable status

The foundation, set up in memory of the Labour MP murdered in June last year, will make grants to individuals and organisations

Jo Cox: murdered last June
Jo Cox: murdered last June

A foundation set up in memory of the murdered Labour MP Jo Cox has been granted charitable status by the Charity Commission.

The Jo Cox Foundation was established by Cox’s friends and family to handle donations made through a fundraising page set up after her death in June.

The first £1.5m raised through the page has been shared among three charities: the Royal Voluntary Service, Hope Not Hate and the White Helmets, which provides volunteer rescue workers in Syria. The remaining £450,000 has gone to the foundation. More than 48,500 donations have been made through the page.

The foundation’s entry on the register of charities lists its objects as general charitable purposes and says the charity will fulfil them through making grants to individuals and organisations.

Iona Lawrence, the foundation’s director, told Third Sector the charity would begin by continuing projects that Cox had been involved with at the time of her death.

"In the context of who Jo was and the nature of her death, there is a huge amount of goodwill," she said. "Her family and close friends have established the foundation as a way that brings all of that to bear on the causes she cared most about."

Lawrence said the charity would not be running the projects itself, but would aim to amplify them through administrative and coordination support.

"Jo was a woman whose interests spanned a whole range of issues, whether it was domestic or international," she said. "So the work of the charity will be continuing and championing the work, issues and causes that she cared most about, both at home and abroad."

Cox had worked for several charities before entering parliament at the 2015 general election, including Oxfam, Save the Children, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the NSPCC.

Her husband Brendan, whom she met while working at Oxfam, is among the trustees of the foundation.

Lawrence said the charity was not currently actively fundraising, although the GoFundMe page remained open and has been attracting donations.

"We continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity of the public through Jo's fund," she said. "Our focus now is to channel the foundation's part of these funds to harness the goodwill and energy around Jo's life and untimely death."

The charity is expected to launch its first initiative next week. It will contribute to the Commission on Loneliness, a project she was working on with the Conservative MP Seema Kennedy, which is due to be launched the following week.

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