Acorn Funds

Sowing the seeds for stronger communities

Acorn Funds grow over time through regular and one-off donations to provide a lasting source of income to make grants to improve the lives of the people and communities of Cumbria.

Why set up a fund?

Living in Cumbria has some serious upsides. It can also be really tough, and the organisations we support can quite literally be providing a lifeline to the people that access their services.

Every donation makes a real difference to the lives of local people.

Who can set up a fund?

Acorn Funds are for people who want to make a difference in their community and can afford to set aside regular sums to be built up over time.

As the donor gets to choose the name of the fund, they can also be a permanent way to honour the memory of a loved one while supporting a cause that was important to them.

What is the fund used for?

Your fund will either provide funding for the Cumbria Fund, which funds vital projects addressing greatest need in the county, or will be determined by you once you reach the required threshold.

How much do I need to start a fund?

Acorn Funds provide a simple, tax efficient way of creating a fund that will continue to award grants for years to come, ensuring that your giving has a real and long-lasting impact on improving the lives of people across Cumbria.

There is no minimum donation – some donors build up their Acorn Fund from zero with regular donations – and there is no time limit on reaching the 25k threshold at which the fund starts making grants. For example, a donor transferring £200 per month into their fund would take approximately seven years to attain the 25k threshold.

Interest from the invested acorn funds is reinvested back into the fund to help grow the fund until it reaches the threshold.

What happens when the initial 25k threshold is reached?

The fund will become grant-making, with funds going into the Cumbria Fund.

Once the fund reaches 50k, the fundholder will then be able to determine the criteria for the grants being awarded.

What happens if I struggle to reach the 25k threshold?

Until the minimum 25k threshold is reached, all interest from the invested funds is reinvested back into the fund to help the fund grow. This means we are not able to use the fund for grant-making until it reaches the threshold. However, if over a three-year period, no donations are made into the fund, interest from these invested funds will then be channelled into the Cumbria Fund.

How long might it take to reach the ‘grant-making’ threshold?

Below is a table which illustrates the length of time it might take for a UK taxpayer’s Acorn Fund to achieve the threshold at which it is able to begin making grants.

If you are a UK taxpayer, you can significantly increase the value of your donation at no extra cost by signing a Gift Aid declaration. Gift Aid enables us to reclaim the tax you have already paid on your gift. This means we can claim an extra 25p for every £1 you donate. So, a gift of £100 is worth £125 to Cumbria Community Foundation with Gift Aid.

Amount donatedAmount received by CCF (including Gift Aid)Length of time to reach "grant making" status
Per monthAnnuallyPer monthAnnually
£250£3,000£312.50£3,7506 years 8 months
£200£2,400£250£3,0008 years 4 months
£100£1,200£125£1,50016 years 8 months
£75£900£93.80£1,12522 years 3 months


Please note, the modelled data in the table above does not include reinvested interest.

If you are a higher rate taxpayer, you can benefit further by claiming the difference between the rate you pay and the basic rate on your gift.

If you chose to add this to your original donation to help you achieve your target more quickly, the table below outlines how long it would take for a 40% taxpayer to achieve grant-making status on their Acorn Fund:

Time taken for a 40% rate taxpayer to reach grant-making threshold, if absorbing additional rebate

Amount donatedAmount received by CCF*Length of time to reach "grant making" status
Per monthAnnuallyPer monthAnnually
£250£3,000£375£4,5005 years 7 months
£200£2,400£300£3,6007 years
£100£1,200£150£1,80013 years 11 months
£75£900£112.50£1,35018 years 7 months


*including gift aid and the additional tax reclaimed by the tax payer

Help strengthen our local communities: start your grant-making fund today…

For more information on building an Acorn Fund, or any other information on funds, contact

NB: Please note that it is the donor’s responsibility to ensure that enough tax has been paid to qualify for Gift Aid. If you have not paid enough tax to cover the tax deducted from your Gift Aid donations, HMRC may ask you to pay the difference. You can review HMRC’s guidance on Gift Aid here.