Scope launches 'venture philanthropy' fundraising model

Disability charity will ask the wealthy to make donations and loans to help it raise capital

The disability charity Scope has launched a "venture philanthropy" appeal to wealthy individuals that aims to generate 10 times as much investment as the value of initial donations.

The Grangewood Venture Philanthropy Project involves supporters making donations of £2,800, supplemented by £700 of Gift Aid, and offering interest-free loans of £7,000, which will be repaid through the sale of the charity's existing property over three years.

The charity is hoping to receive 100 donations, which will make it easier to raise a further £750,000 in commercial loans, bringing the total raised to £1.8m.

The appeal is targeted at wealthy individuals, who will be eligible to receive higher-rate tax relief of £1,050 on each £2,800 donation, meaning the net cost of a gift to the donor would be £1,750.

The charity is already in talks with specialist third sector lenders including Charity Bank, Unity Trust Bank and Triodos Bank.

The investment raised will be used to develop 15 new flats for adults with complex disabilities in Grangewood, Essex.

Tim Lebus, a partner at private equity firm Duke Street Capital and a member of Scope's business development board, said Scope was looking at new ways to fund its work beyond simply asking for donations.

"In the current economic environment, charities need to think differently about how they fund their work," he said. "I believe Scope has come up with a groundbreaking and genuinely different proposal and one that should directly appeal to the private equity world as an opportunity to invest in charities."


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