By Kathleen Smith, TVCF donor on behalf of her father.
My dad was a very proud but private man. Born in the North East in 1919, he served in the Second World War and even had his photo taken with the great Sir Winston Churchill before spending most of his working life as a telecoms engineer.
Even after he retired he was very active and led an independent life, largely keeping himself to himself. He was very frugal with his well-earned money but used to donate some of it to worthy local causes, such as local children’s charities.
He always took the view that it was good to give something back to the local community (he lived in Middlesbrough). That’s why he was so determined to leave a legacy after he died; he wanted to make a difference to the community that shaped his life.
He didn’t specify where he wanted his money to go so I looked at various options for investing it. I could have donated it to a national charity but that might not have benefited people in Teesside, which is what dad wanted. I found Tees Valley Community Foundation (TVCF) via a Google search and met one of their friendly advisors to work out an investment plan. That’s the advantage of donating via the foundation; you can restrict the funds to a particular geographical area or type of charity, and you know that the fund will be professionally managed until an appropriate investment opportunity comes along.
With the help of the foundation, I decided to invest in two types of worthy causes: those that benefit children and the elderly. So far, the money has enabled a school to fund a Christmas lunch for the elderly and a local playgroup to buy special toys for children with autism. It has also paid for giant cinema screenings to entertain people with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and autism.
My dad might not be around but he’d be thrilled to see that his money is helping to improve the quality of life of so many people. He never wanted to court publicity but the fact that the money is making a positive difference would have given him so much satisfaction.