On Wednesday last week I was saddened to hear that a dear work colleague, Mark West, had died from a brain cancer, which had forced him to retire as CEO of the Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation last July.
As happens at such times, I found myself reflecting on the moments we had shared when every six months, we would get together as a peer group of community foundation chief execs.
I immediately remembered the book he had written, What Funders want, and that I'd purchased online back in 2013. So when I got home on Wednesday I searched my bookshelves and noticed something I had never realised before: that strangely Mark’s name was nowhere to be found; not in the book nor on either the front or back covers.
Instead there was only a tongue-in-cheek pen name, "The Grumpy Funder (UK)" and the suggestion that the book represented "the thoughts of a small charitable trust". Yet somehow, I suddenly understood that this was so Mark - always unassuming yet so full of good humour and wit, incredibly dedicated and hard-working but never one to complain, some one who simply just got on and did whatever he could to make things happen and to help make things better for others.
Ironic then but hopefully Mark would have found it amusing too that for someone who emanated such kindness and calm patience and whose work within the community foundation family over the past 15 years has touched the lives of so many that I will now always remember him as The Grumpy Funder.
In memory of Mark West, a dear colleague.
More than 200 people enjoyed a fun and informative event to explain how to access grant funding on Thursday 27th June 2013. One highlight was Mark West, aka The Grumpy Funder, who gave a witty but illuminating talk about the things funders like and dislike in grant applications. Clarity seems to be the key: applicants need to write in plain English and explain exactly what they would like funding for, backing up their ideas with relevant evidence of need and well-planned budgets and governance. Interestingly, he said: “People shouldn’t be put off if they think their literary skills are poor. I never penalise applicants for poor spelling or typos, as Chipping Upton Bowels Club discovered!”