Bermuda Foundation Celebrates 10th Anniversary

May 4, 2024 | 0 Comments

Bermuda Foundation is marking its 10th anniversary this month.

A spokesperson said, “The organisation was founded in 2014 to introduce a new concept to Bermuda: the community foundation. Since the first one was founded in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914, community foundations have been created all over the world, 2141 at last count. They are, broadly speaking, “instruments of civil society designed to pool donations into a coordinated investment and grant-making facility dedicated primarily to the social improvement of a given place”. Each one develops to meet the needs of its own community.

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“Selling the idea was a challenge at first,” admits Dr Myra Virgil, founding CEO and Managing Director of the Foundation. “We had to work hard to demonstrate our value. But today, we can proudly say we have facilitated donations to the community of $21 million and currently manage assets of $24 million. It’s not as much as we’d like – or in fact as much as we need if we are to have a long-term meaningful impact on the community. But for a new idea, during troubling times in our history, it’s pretty good and we are grateful.”

The spokesperson said, “One of the purposes of the Bermuda Foundation was to expand philanthropy in Bermuda and provide additional support to nonprofits to continue the essential services they offer the community.”

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“While our primary clients are donors, because we offer them support in how they carry out their giving, we are driven by the need to ensure that the Third [charitable] Sector not only survives but thrives,” says Dr Virgil.

“We all know how our community has depended on these services over the past decade, as the economy has struggled, and costs risen.”

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The spokesperson said, “The Foundation will be holding gatherings to celebrate and thank donors, nonprofits, and skilled volunteers for all they do for the community.”

“While we realise there’s much more to be done and we don’t plan to rest on our laurels, we are happy with how the Foundation has developed so far,” says Board Chair Amanda Outerbridge. “We have created community indicators to determine the most pressing needs we face; and with support of donors, we have assembled data on early childhood education, adolescent mental health and wellbeing, social equity, racial dynamics, managing philanthropy through crisis and the third sector’s finances.

“It’s a solid body of work, and we have been recognized for it with awards of accreditation at the highest level from the UK Community Foundations Association.”

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The spokesperson said, “Over the years, grants have made possible:

  • Access to mental health treatment
  • Almost 10,000 meals provided per month at the height of the pandemic
  • Community-led and informed anti-violence campaigns
  • Eco-school certification and increased youth engagement on the importance of conservation
  • Long term care planning
  • Service provision to the elderly including income subsidies
  • Employment development support for disenfranchised men in particular
  • Life skills and therapeutic riding for people with disabilities
  • Skills enrichment programming
  • GED qualification attainment
  • Services to people living rough, homeless and home insecure
  • Coding skills development for young people
  • Youth development and experiential education
  • Home renovations for low-income families
  • Literacy and numeracy education

Dr. Virgil added, “Our long-term dream is to replace the annual funding of $6million that was lost to the sector with the closure of The Atlantic Philanthropies. It’s an immensely ambitious goal but reaching it will enable our grant-making to cover a meaningful portion of nonprofit budgets, freeing them up to focus on mission-critical activities. This is what tackling the problem of sector sustainability can look like.”

The spokepserson said, “Entering its 10th anniversary year, the Foundation has two new Board members: Dwayne Hunt, and Grant Hopkins. They join founding Board members: Brian O’Hara, Amanda Outerbridge, Nikkita Scott. Remaining Board members are: Gavin Barlow, Treasurer, and Diana Darrell.”

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