On the 1st May 2009 I had my first day at Devon Community Foundation (DCF) and now, nearly nine years later, the time has come to say goodbye.
It was only supposed to be a job for the summer before I went back to University to train as an English Teacher, but a few months in and I was hooked. Captivated by the enthusiasm, knowledge and experience of the people involved I knew that working for DCF would be exciting and challenging but most of all extremely rewarding.
Straight away I could see why DCF is such an effective and powerful tool for people who want to make a difference, but also want to see the impact of their giving. It’s a lifeline to thousands of small, passionate community organisations working hard to offer a helping hand to people in need and provides a unique way for local people to support them.
For me, what makes the charity so special is that it’s not like the well-known national charities where it can sometimes feel as if your donation has disappeared into a black hole. It’s not a stuffed toy in the post or a certificate to show how much you donated, it is so much more.
By giving with the Foundation donors really get to see their gift in action. They are able to set up tailored and personalised funds to address what matters to them, receive evaluations from the projects they fund and can even visit the groups and hear first-hand from the people whose lives have been transformed.
To try and put into words all the experiences I’ve had, all lessons I’ve learned, all the people I’ve met and all the times I have truly learned the power of community, would be an impossible task. I have watched the Foundation go from strength to strength and to be able to say I was a part of it is something I will never forget.
So, as my time here comes to an end I can truly say that the thing I am most grateful for is having the pleasure of seeing what it means ‘to give where you live’. Whether it’s people giving their time to these vital community groups or people giving their money to help ensure these groups continue to exist – the power of giving on your doorstep is really unique.
I don’t know what the next nine years hold for the Foundation, but I do know I will be watching and cheering from the sidelines.
Laura Hales (Hewitt), Marketing Manager