In March I provided an update on the work we are doing to accelerate funding to help individuals and communities hardest hit by the immediate impact of COVID-19. Almost every charity is struggling – they may be unable to continue with planned fundraising activity or provide vital services, and this is often accompanied by an increased demand for their help.
We’ve focused our support on charities we have existing relationships with, and also with charities identified by colleagues around the globe.
The story so far
Since March we have released funds from our charity budget that have:
- Helped provide supplies, transport and medical equipment including PPE for frontline health workers in the UK, Malaysia, Indonesia and China.
- Enabled food supplies, hot meal production and shelter for vulnerable individuals in Edinburgh, London, Bristol, Aberdeen, Jersey, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Paris, Dublin and more. As the area of greatest immediate demand, half of our donations to date have been directed in this way.
- Provided help and connection to isolated communities of all ages. For example, enabling our charity partner Dementia UK to increase capacity of their helpline, providing support for young carers, and distributing packs for sick children who can’t attend hospital and are undergoing treatment at home.
Many of our people are giving money to causes of their personal choice on an individual basis. Our business has put in place a programme for matching their donations to these charities, in addition to our existing matching schemes for employee fundraising and payroll giving. We are also encouraging teams and offices to consider how they come together to fundraise or gather donations at the current time, and we are looking to organise collective company fundraising activities between now and the end of the year.
As well as financial support, I’m proud of other ways we’ve helped charities and the people they help, through the expertise and connections we have in our business.
- We are helping students who would have been coming to us for a four-week internship to benefit from online skills workshops that help prepare them for the world of work – building on our commitment to supporting young people starting out in their careers.
- We’ve helped several charities to change and update their delivery model – for example, supporting Cyrenians to create a food production facility providing and distributing thousands of hot meals, and the financial education initiative KickStart Money to develop a free online resource for primary age children and their families.
- We’ve also distributed a range of our own materials, such as sanitisers, to charities who are working in our communities to help them keep their key workers safe.
Planning for the future
While our focus has mainly been on mitigating the immediate impact, it’s equally important that we think about the longer-term implications of the pandemic. There is a disproportionate negative impact on some demographics such as younger workers, minority ethnic communities, women, and those already suffering from hardship.
In keeping with our company’s purpose, we can play a significant part in creating a better future through all areas of our business. This includes our commitment to fair work and inclusion as an employer, our products and solutions that enable clients to navigate their financial decisions, and how we integrate environmental and social considerations into our investment decisions.
It’s been truly inspiring to hear of the efforts that people right across our business are making, especially while the current situation presents a number of challenges to their own everyday lives. Their commitment to the behaviours that reflect our purpose not only mean that we are readying our business for the future, but also that we are incredibly well placed to continue driving positive changes in society and the environment.
Chief Executive Officer