We’re a big fan of birthdays here at Pears Foundation. Well, to be honest, we’re a big fan of any event that allows us to eat cake. But alongside the cake, birthdays and anniversaries provide an opportunity for individuals and organisations to reflect, to assess how far they have come, and to look ahead.
I’m delighted (and impressed) that Kawika Solidum, Chief Executive of BeyondMe, has taken time out of cake eating and other celebrations to share some of his thoughts with us on his organisation’s fifth birthday.
Pears Foundation has been funding BeyondMe (or Young Philanthropy as it was then) since its inception, and we’re really pleased and proud to still be working with them. In a sector traditionally dominated by three-year funding cycles, we are constantly struck by the confidence, commitment and determination that a five-year funding partnership can instil in a project or organisation. It not only provides much-needed security (for all involved – be that employees, beneficiaries, Board members or other stakeholders), but it also allows space for an organisation to develop and pursue ideas without the immediate pressure of securing the next tranche of support.
So as we raise a slice of cake to BeyondMe, we also welcome them to a growing group of our Partners that we have been supporting for over five years, and that we are delighted now make up over a quarter of the organisations we fund. Happy 5th Birthday!
When it’s your birthday, you have a wish to make. We have a mission.
BeyondMe reached a milestone: it has been five years since the first meeting of the first BeyondMe team to partner with a charity.
BeyondMe, or Young Philanthropy as it was called then, exists to promote greater generosity and greater leadership. In particular, its founders, Adam Pike and Michael Harris, felt that there was no easy way to combine giving more than money and more than your time, and doing it together with others to a cause with which you had a connection.
And because there was nothing there, they did what anybody would do: they built it.
Five years later, I’m humbled to be leading the organisation that has now launched over 100 BeyondMe teams serving well over 85 charities with projects in the BeyondMe portfolio. And it doesn’t stop here. By the end of the year we believe we’ll be on track to doubling the number of BeyondMe teams!
What this really means, though, is that there are ever-more committed business professionals who are not just willing to give their time, money and skills to their partnered charities, but they are extremely able, too. In the next year we hope we are able to present the full picture of the value we hope to generate for the social sector.
To be clear, BeyondMe is responsible for over £230,000 being donated directly to charity – and much more if you include the match-funding and additional fundraising activities that can be attributed to BeyondMe teams – but also the 12,000 of skilled-volunteer hours.
Here’s the question we’re asking ourselves now: how we can ensure even more value is generated – efficiently and effectively – for the growing BeyondMe portfolio of charities?
This is what we’re all ultimately after. How can we ensure our generosity produces impact that is meaningful to the world beyond you and me?
Today we pause and reflect on the five years we have travelled since our start. It’s abundantly clear there was unharnessed potential for generosity within the ranks of millennials and their bosses in the City.
But where do we go from here?
From BeyondMe’s two founders to over 1,000 BeyondMe members. From that first £1 that was donated and that first hour volunteered. BeyondMe is a testament to the power and potential of a good idea getting off the ground with grit and determination – and a superb set of supporters.
What’s clear to me is that nothing has changed. This is exactly what moves us forward today. We believe we have proven that there is a generation of generous individuals who are at the start of their careers, but our challenge is how we lead by example.
We’re still committed to the two founding principles of promoting generosity and leadership. For us, the two go together and enrich the society we live in: making us more connected and caring with one another.
With every passing day BeyondMe’s movement is getting larger. And the same applies for the larger currents in our society, which focus on promoting a greater sense of civic responsibility and active citizenship. Playing our role in this movement in the UK or wherever it takes us is our mission.
For us, the last five years have been an incredible achievement. But it’s the next five that excites us! Though don’t ask us what we wished for this birthday, we absolutely want it to come true!