Almost forty years after it was set up, The Medlock Trust has given over £50m to good causes primarily in Boston, where its founder Len Medlock was born, and Somerset, where he later settled.
Based on the simple principle of supporting what goes on in buildings rather than the buildings themselves, over the years the Trust's donations in Boston continue to enhance the lives of generations of people in the town through projects including a library at the Grammar School, an extension to the Pilgrim Hospital, support for the iconic Stump, and the Len Medlock Voluntary Centre, run as a base for charities.
And in collaboration with Lincolnshire Freemasons, more involvement is planned, as Assistant Grand Master and Medlock Trust Chairman David Medlock told members of Lincolnshire's Bicentenary Lodge during an informal visit to a meeting at Boston.
David's father Len, founder of engineering company Sitec, set up the Trust in 1985 because he believed funds would be more effective in supporting good causes if the money was given directly to them rather than via government agencies which had collected it in tax. The Medlock Charitable Trust is therefore still a family-run grant-making organisation investing in the Lincolnshire and Somerset communities in which he lived and worked.
David took over the family charity and business when his father retired. Under David’s leadership, the Medlock Charitable Trust has continued to grow, with an emphasis on spreading donations over a lot of smaller grants of £5,000 to £15,000 to organisations for whom to have a transformative impact.
We want to support what goes on in buildings rather than the buildings themselves.
He personally examines applications for funding, looking at about 800 every year, and deciding in minutes which ones to support. The result is faster decision-making, and a reduction in overheads. He said it had taken him a long time to discover exactly what proportion of donations were absorbed in charity admin and raising donations - but that he had come to a figure of between 15 and 20%.
Anything less than that represents good value, and is better than giving 50% to the government in tax.
The MCF spends just 13% on investment management fees, admin, property costs, and fundraising, which means that 87p of each pound donated is given to charities.
To find out more information, visit the Medlock Charitable Trust website.