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The good giving blog: long-term, sustainable change
The Good Giving blog is written by Stephen Welton, chair of the BGF Foundation, and Charlotte Moses Rains, chief operating officer of the BGF Foundation
The recently established BGF Foundation is now starting to hit its stride as plans for a larger impact evolve. We are really excited to have supported a variety of small and mid-sized charities across the UK, very much in line with our nationwide and regional ethos, and are continuing to ramp up our activity as we aim to make a meaningful difference to the lives of disadvantaged young people in particular. Previously, in this blog, we have discussed a distinctive feature of the Foundation, to really make a practical difference, which is our commitment to provide unrestricted funding. We know that this is what charities value most, yet it is the hardest thing to find. Another element of our mission is our effort to effect genuinely long-term sustainable change. How do we go about doing that? Let’s look at two grants we have recently made to see this approach in action.
MyBnk is the UK’s leading specialist financial education charity for children and young people. It provides education about money to more than 30,000 young people a year through innovative, high impact and high energy financial education programmes.
It goes without saying that financial education is especially important as the UK faces shockingly high inflation and a cost-of-living crisis. It should also be clear that this cost squeeze has all kinds of impacts beyond bank accounts. Fifty-six percent of young people say the rising cost of living is their major worry, according to a survey by charity YoungMinds. Young people also report disruptions to their diet and sleep – two cornerstones of good mental health and wellbeing. And let’s not forget that this is all coming hot on the heels of the huge disruption and challenge of the pandemic.
MyBnk is focused on providing help to those who need it most. Two thirds of its work is with young adults in challenging circumstances, such as the 12,000 young people who leave the UK care system each year. For these vulnerable people, money skills can provide a path towards independent living on an enduring basis.
We feel MyBnk is particularly suitable to receive BGF Foundation funding because the work it does contributes to long-term, sustainable change. We are talking not of handouts but of empowering young people with skills to help them become self-sufficient. MyBnk states that investing in the financial capability of young people is an investment in their future happiness. It is also an investment in communities and, therefore, society. We are proud to support this important cause.
Another charity that has received a significant grant from us is Leadership Through Sports & Business. This excellent organisation works with young people struggling against disadvantage, which could be socioeconomic, caused by adverse life events, reflect a lack of social capital and much more. Due to the challenges they face, these young people may find it difficult to get a toehold in the world of work. The charity helps them find those all-important first jobs through apprenticeship programmes and coaching. This should be the springboard to a successful career and all that enables – a truly virtuous circle.
Between 2012 and 2022, the charity worked with 1,000 young people by upskilling them and placing them into sustainable careers. By 2025 it aims to double its impact by reaching a further 1,000 disadvantaged young people with impactful, focused, sustainable employment services.
Like MyBnk, Leadership Through Sports & Business finds that its work is especially important in the current economic situation. In a recent survey of young people, the charity found that 87% of respondents were negatively affected by the cost-of-living crisis. Young people reported that they and their families were struggling to pay bills and facing higher stress as a result.
Of course, getting your foot in the door is only the first step to a rewarding career. A distinctive element of the charity’s work is that it continues to support young people throughout their first year of employment, ensuring that the inevitable hurdles that come with adjusting to a professional environment can be overcome. The charity recently expanded into the legal and marketing sectors and plans further expansion into new locations and aspirational sectors, ensuring disadvantaged young people have access to the same careers and opportunities as their more privileged peers.
Hopefully it is clear why we think this charity is contributing to sustainable, long-term change. It may be a cliché, but young people really are the future. Something we talk about a lot at BGF is how to unlock the next generation of talent – it’s why we started a successful internship scheme that has developed into a graduate programme. By supporting Leadership Through Sports & Business, we hope to make an even bigger impact, by giving young people the tools they need to succeed in their professional lives.
The two charities we have discussed today have a lot in common. They both use education as a stepping stone to greater well-being. We are proud to support these pioneering organisations and look forward to sharing news of more grants in the coming weeks.
This is how we at the BGF Foundation hope to create lasting, meaningful change: by selecting great charities and giving them the funding they need – without strings attached.
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