Devon Community Foundation

Devon Community Foundation

At a glance


  • Children / families
  • Housing and homelessness
  • Learning disabilities / difficulties
  • Local / community
  • Older people / later life
  • Poverty relief
  • Social care
  • Young people

Other details

Geographical remit: 


Devon Community Foundation is a unique organisation, privileged to be working alongside people who are motivated by wanting to make a difference across Devon.  Every year, we make hundreds of grants to groups doing vital and life changing work in our local communities. At the same time, we provide a cost-effective, personal and flexible way for those wanting to invest in these community groups and make a lasting difference to local issues and causes in Devon.

The principles that guide us include:

  • Everyone has gifts: Each person in a community has something to contribute.
  • Relationships build a community: People must be connected in order for sustainable community development to take place.
  • Citizens at the centre: Citizens should be viewed as actors—not recipients—in development.
  • Leaders involve others: Community development is strongest when it involves a broad base of community action.
  • People care: Challenge notions of "apathy" by listening to people's interests.
  • Listen: Decisions should come from conversations where people are heard.
  • Ask: Asking for ideas is more sustainable than giving solutions.
  • Inside-out organisation: Local community members are in control.
  • DCF and other partner institutions we work with serve the community: Institutional leaders should create opportunities for community-member involvement, then "step back”.



Philanthropic Services Anyone can be a donor to the Foundation, on any scale, and make a real difference to local lives. We work with donors to develop and realise their philanthropic goals, matching their interest to community needs. Donors can choose to create an endowed fund or to use their gifts immediately, and many choose to do both. Donations are pooled with others to create a permanent resource for local communities (our endowed funds). These are invested through careful stewardship and the yield from those funds is used to make gifts to the community. Funds are distributed to a wide spectrum of community-led projects across Devon and nurture our social society. Every gift distributed generates valuable learning about what works best and has the most impact. We share this widely with our donors and partners and use it to inform our collective strategy.

Funding Local Communities  We offer financial support, from a number of sources, to mostly small, local groups and organisations making significant difference on a local level. Firstly, we are committed to building a substantial endowed fund which will generate income to distribute locally forever. In this way we can be sure that DCF will be here, with sufficient funds, to support local groups to prosper 10, 50 and 100 years from now. We don’t know what our communities will look like, but the endowed fund means we’ll be able to help.

In addition, we work in partnership with other charitable bodies using our local knowledge to enhance their impact. These funds are usually immediate impact funds. We are actively experimenting with other sources of financial support for local organisations such as social investment where we can offer repayable loan finance.

Community Leadership  DCF neither wants to, nor does, work in a vacuum. Partnerships and collaborations are vital to our success in our core objective of facilitating change in Devon. We believe DCF is the largest independent grant-maker in the county and as such we have a responsibility to take a leadership role as champions of the groups, beneficiaries and donors we support. Increasingly we are involved in partnership to help close the gap between the private, public and voluntary sectors and we welcome working closely with others to demonstrate the critical importance of local groups and donors in creating and maintaining Thriving Communities.

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