The Berkeley Foundation is the independent grant-making charity set up by Berkeley Group in 2011 to support young people and their communities, and help the whole business achieve and evolve its social goals.
The Foundation funds impactful, long-term charitable programmes and partnerships. And it has a big presence inside Berkeley businesses, working to engage and focus our collective skills and resources to tackling homelessness, support young people into work, improve health and wellbeing, and develop the young leaders of tomorrow.
Writing in the 2023 Berkeley Foundation Annual Review, Chair of Trustees Rob Perrins reflects on the impacts achieved over the last year and the challenges ahead in delivering the Foundation’s 2030 Strategic Plan:
“The last year has seen the Berkeley Foundation strengthen its charitable partnerships and have a real impact on young people and their communities across London, Birmingham and the South of England. As we publish our 2022/23 Annual Review, we are reflecting on how our corporate foundation model helps us to drive positive change.
We are making good progress against the Berkeley Foundation’s 2021-2030 strategy, ‘A force for change’, which focuses our efforts around five impact goals and challenges us to make an even more valuable contribution to the young people and communities we serve.
This nine-year outlook ensures that our commitment to issues like homelessness and youth unemployment is long-term and strategic. We are able to work with our charity partners over a significant period of time - our longest partnership is 12 years - deepening the relationship and the impact we are able to have together.
This year, we have committed £750,000 over three years to two new Strategic Partnerships – with New Horizon Youth Centre and Groundwork London.
Our partnership with New Horizon Youth Centre builds on our previous work together, and will support the growth and development of New Horizon’s frontline services for young Londoners experiencing homelessness – helping them to secure safe accommodation and increase their independent living skills.
The new Strategic Partnership with Groundwork London is the first to address our Youth leadership impact goal. We are funding the delivery of a leadership programme that is empowering disadvantaged young people to build skills and kick-start their careers in the green economy. It’s a really exciting programme, which offers many opportunities for Berkeley colleagues to get involved too.
As an independent corporate foundation, we have the freedom and flexibility to act quickly and innovate in response to the needs of our local communities. The context our charity partners are working in continues to be a challenging one, especially in the wake of a pandemic and now during the cost of living crisis.
As we did during the pandemic, the Foundation has provided additional support to our partner charities this year, by providing extra funding towards the immediate needs of young people and giving unrestricted grants to support escalating running costs. Berkeley staff have also volunteered their time, skills and expertise to help our partners survive and thrive during these difficult times.
A key element of our response to the challenging external environment has been our innovative Resilience Fund, which aims to help small-to-medium sized charities to build their organisational resilience. The second year of the fund launched this year, opening up £300,000 of new funding to help ten organisations develop improved systems, strengthened governance, increased financial sustainability, better strategic planning, and much more.
Adding Value Through the Berkeley Business
The Foundation’s work is so much stronger because of the involvement of Berkeley Group and its incredible staff. I am incredibly grateful to everyone across the Group who continues to contribute their time, skills and money to the work of the Foundation.
2022/23 was a record-breaking year for staff fundraising, with almost £1m in additional funds raised for our charity partners, and I’m proud to say that 59% of staff chose to get involved in our work. I hope that the launch of our new Volunteering Hub will provide even more opportunities for staff to engage in the Foundation’s work in 2023/24, and build on the fantastic levels of volunteering we’ve seen this year.
The Foundation supports these activities through a generous match-funding scheme, which has seen an additional £455,000 paid to our charity partners during the year.
This model was developed over the Foundation’s first ten years with the support of our late founding board member, Tony Pidgley CBE. We were finally able to hold a memorial service for Tony this year, and the Foundation received over £30,000 from the memorial collection and other gifts received in Tony’s memory. These generous donations will contribute towards the Foundation’s support of two ‘Tony Pidgley Fellowships’, hosted by the Association of British Neurologists.
Finally, I would like to thank the Foundation team, led this year by Interim Head of Foundation Clare Maddison. As always, my fellow Trustees past and present - Wendy Pritchard, Alison Dowsett, Elaine Driver, Piers Clanford and Elizabeth Adekunle, have shown immense dedication to the Foundation and I am grateful for their continued commitment and insight, which enables us to have a lasting impact in our communities.
Chair of Trustees