The Virgin Money Foundation announced its first round of funding earlier this week, worth £2m in the next year, but has been criticised for not being more generous to the North East by an MP for Newcastle upon Tyne.
Virgin Money announced the launch of the foundation’s first round of funding on Wednesday and said the first round of grant making will focus on community projects in the North East.
Virgin Money took over the running of failed lender Northern Rock, which was a generous charitable funder. Its charity, the Northern Rock Foundation, has been wound up, and for a long time it was unclear whether Virgin Money would launch its own foundation.
The launch of the Virgin Money Foundation was first announced in December 2014. Virgin Money will commit £1m a year, and chancellor George Osborne said the government would also make a £4m investment in the foundation, spread over four years. The money will come from Libor fines.
The foundation registered with the Charity Commission in April 15 2015, with charitable objectives to “promote sustainable regeneration of social or economically deprived areas of the UK”.
Organisations are now being invited to apply for grants worth between £10,000 and £50,000 for one year. Applications will close on September 28.
Newcastle MP says foundation should give more
In a statement released on the MP’s website, Chi Onwurah (pictured), Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central, said that the current funding arrangement for the foundation, which will see Virgin Money and the Cabinet Office both provide £4m worth of match-funding over the next four years to charitable organisations in the North East, represents less than a fifth of the contribution that was originally made by Northern Rock to its charitable foundation between 1997 and 2007.
Under the current funding arrangement, Onwurah said that Virgin Money will be giving around 0.8 per cent of its 2014 pre-tax profit of £121.2m. While she welcomed the launch of the foundation, she urged it to be “making a more generous contribution to the North East economy and community”.
“Before it got caught up in the consequences of casino type financial speculation,” said Onwurah. “Northern Rock reflected the values of the North East by generously investing in local good causes. I would like to see Virgin Money do the same”.