The Community Foundation model is a global, philanthropic movement operating in over 1,800 communities worldwide. In the UK, there are 46 Community Foundations. At the heart of the concept is the simple theme of ‘local giving for local need’.

Laura Thurlow, Chief Executive at the Community Foundation for Surrey, explains how the foundation is supporting many ‘hidden’ charities helping meet local needs that exist right on your doorstep.

When responding with the name of the organisation I am so delighted to work for, it is not uncommon to be greeted with a dazed expression. There are many local people still unaware of The Community Foundation for Surrey, despite the vital work we do in enabling local philanthropy and supporting hundreds of Surrey based charities and groups each year.

Perhaps this is because Surrey is predominantly thought to be one of the most affluent counties in the UK. But while parts of our county are rated as the best places to live, sadly our research, titled ‘Surrey Uncovered’, has revealed the very real needs that surround us.

Did you know that Surrey has one of the highest levels of domestic abuse? Or that, in some areas, income deprivation is affecting more than 30% of children? It is these needs which motivate us to raise awareness of the importance of philanthropy and encourage local people to get involved.

We work with donors who want to give back to their communities and voluntary groups providing vital services for local people and disadvantaged individuals. Companies, individuals, families and trusts can establish a fund with us, and we will work closely with them to help direct their giving to the causes and themes they care about in Surrey.

Last year, we awarded £1.2 million in grants to charities and groups working hard to better Surrey, that sadly often go unnoticed, despite making a significant impact within the local community. It is these ‘hidden’ charities making the biggest difference that we are so proud to support.

We are incredibly proud to have generated £22m across Surrey since our inception in 2005 and we are confident that, by inspiring more philanthropic individuals to become involved, it will not be long before we generate even more for our communities.

Whether you’re a local group looking for funding, or someone wanting to support the local community, we would love to hear from you, so please do get in touch!

For more informatiuon, email:, phone 01483 478092 or visit the website at