The Balance Charitable Foundation for Unclaimed Assets has begun releasing to charity some of the substantial amounts of money sitting dormant with financial institutions, which for a variety of reasons remain unclaimed by their original owners.
The Balance Foundation was established as a registered charity independent of Government in December 2003 and is working with financial institutions to release unclaimed assets to charitable causes. The Balance Foundation’s initiative on unclaimed assets received the endorsement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in March 2004 and has the support of the Financial Services Authority.
The Balance Foundation is currently focussed on discussions with investment banks and investment management companies. Insurance protects the continuing rights of owners of unclaimed assets who may subsequently reclaim them, so that original owners can reclaim their money at any time.
Several million pounds have been released to charitable causes under the Balance initiative this year by a number of financial institutions. Some of these funds have been passed to the Balance Foundation and, following invitations earlier this year to charities to submit applications for amounts between £50,000 and £100,000, the first awards will be made over the coming weeks to charities addressing the Foundation’s priority area the needs of vulnerable people over the age of 75 in the UK who are at risk of social exclusion.
This first transfer of funds for charitable use marks the completion of the first cycle from release to grant and it is anticipated that further funds will be released next year.
A further round of grantmaking is planned for 2006. The Balance Foundation will continue to work in partnership with the voluntary sector, statutory bodies and with the newly formed Commission on Unclaimed Assets, launched last week.