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There’s a big difference between philanthropy and charitable giving – but what is it?

One of Equilibrium’s core beliefs is that we should strive to make a positive difference wherever we can. That’s why the Equilibrium Foundation was formed in 2010, committing to raise £250,000 for charity by 2020 – a target which we are extremely pleased to say that we have surpassed, with our current total raised to date standing at over £300,000! But we aren’t stopping there; we have set ourselves a new target of reaching £1 million by 2028 and we are entirely confident that we will achieve it.

The Foundation has achieved so much since its inception. For example, our community support scheme has donated over £19,000 since its launch in 2015 to 40 different charities, benefitting a wide range of people from a variety of backgrounds. Originally offering quarterly grants of up to £500 to organisations in Cheshire East and Chester and District, the programme was such a success that we extended it to Greater Manchester back in 2017.

Our matched giving programme has also seen huge success, offering fundraisers a chance to double any money they raise for a worthy cause. We always encourage employees to take part in charitable activity (not that they need much encouraging!) and many have taken advantage of this scheme.

As Equilibrium grows, so does our ability and potential to impact society, hence why the Foundation has thrived over the last nine years. We are extremely proud of the many achievements that the Foundation has made, and we are now looking to take the next step in its impact on society.

There is a key difference between charitable giving and philanthropy. Both are extremely important and work towards the same goal: achieving positive change in society. However, while charity work tends to take a hands-on approach to solving an immediate need, philanthropy strives to implement strategic, sustainable solutions to specific problems. Our company is built on the importance of having a long-term plan, so it only makes sense to apply this approach to our charitable work.

Our first venture into the world of philanthropy was Libby’s Big Aeroplane Adventure, a workbook that we developed to help children with their financial literacy skills such as budgeting and currency conversion. The Financial Conduct Authority published shocking research that showed just under half of adults’ numeracy skills are equal to or less than that expected of an 11-year old. Plus, when shown a simple bank statement, 16% failed to correctly identify the available balance.

As a wealth management firm, we understand that one of the keys to happiness is financial confidence. This is impossible to achieve without a good understanding of finance itself, therefore we found these statistics extremely concerning. We decided to address the problem directly at the root, and developed Libby’s Big Aeroplane Adventure to begin the development of financial skills at primary school level.

It also combines geography, business skills and much more to create a truly cross-curricular resource that saves teachers valuable time on lesson planning. Equilibrium provides the booklet, full teacher training, in-school workshops and extra resources completely free, even offering to cover the cost of a supply teacher.

Since we launched the booklet in September 2017, over 2,500 children have benefitted from the project, and the feedback from teachers has been overwhelmingly positive. Every training day has been rated 9/10 or higher and the comments have been fantastic, with one teacher even saying that the course made her feel more confident with the financial literacy element of the curriculum.

We also launched our Winter Fuel Campaign back in December last year. Thousands of elderly people die every year because they cannot afford to heat their homes properly. The government grants a winter fuel allowance, however the payment is not means tested, meaning that much of the money intended to help those in fuel poverty is going to people who don’t need it. Equilibrium’s Winter Fuel Campaign allows those who receive the payment to donate it to helping those who really need the extra funds.

This year alone we have managed to raise over £10,000 and we hope this amount will continue to grow as the campaign continues year on year. Earlier in the year, we donated £1,600 of this money to Age UK Stockport, to fund 100 of their winter warmth packs which are handed out to those in need. The remaining money will be split between two very worthy causes, Friends of the Elderly and the Wishing Well.

Friends of the Elderly supports older people in the community and will be using the funding to support their winter warmth grants in Cheshire and Manchester. Those struggling can apply for these grants for a range of aid such as assistance towards heating bills, repairs to windows and roofing, damp proofing, heaters and much more. We are also pleased to say that the Edward Gostling Foundation will match this funding, meaning that your donations will provide double the aid for those in need.

The Wishing Well Project is a health and wellbeing charity that works with vulnerable older people in Cheshire. This funding will allow them to deliver sessions for these older people providing a safe space to meet other people and improve their health and wellbeing, including paying for a specialist instructor and facilitator for the sessions, plus the training of the volunteers.

It’s crucial that, as a society, we continue to strive for positive change in order to create a better future. Change comes from a combination of ideas and actions, both humongous and minuscule. Whether you climb Mount Everest or pop your change in the charity bucket at the supermarket, it’s all working towards making the world a better place.

 

The Foundation is always on the lookout for ways to make a positive difference, so if you’re interested in any of the projects mentioned, get in touch with Sam Richards at sam.richards@eqllp.co.uk.