St James's PlaceDec 16 2022

'Giving back was always a core part of SJP'

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'Giving back was always a core part of SJP'
ByCarmen Reichman

When St. James's Place's founders decided to make giving back part of their purpose, little did they know that some thirty years later the SJP Foundation would be one of the biggest corporate giving organisations in the country.

The foundation currently raises a staggering £10mn a year, a third of which comes from regular donations which are matched by SJP.

Head of the foundation Catherine Ind puts this down to an unfaltering willingness from staff and advisers to give back, even in times of crisis.

About 85 per cent of SJP's partners and employees donate on a monthly basis. Many also engage in fundraising activities from golf days out arranged by partner firms down to raffles and bake sales.

In the beginning "it was all about the community of SJP coming together to fundraise," says Ind. And this fundraising element continued to grow each year. "We're now the third largest corporate foundation based on our giving."

But it's not just about the money, she says, "it's also about giving time and skills". 

It really builds that community cohesion. I hear from partners and employees it's why they often join SJP.

"What we often do with many of our charities is provide volunteer support, or we have people mentoring the charity leaders, or just giving time.

"A lot of the work we do is with young disadvantaged children, or young people, so it's about giving mentoring support to them or potentially financial education, which is obviously core to the SJP business."

The foundation picks its charities predominantly based on the impact it believes the work will have and how SJP can help them fulfil their particular needs.

"When we are looking at a charity we're looking at what's that real transformational impact it can have with the people that it's working with," says Ind.

There are a number of core themes the SJP Foundation gives to, such as children and young people, hospices, mental health and cancer support organisations.

Recipient charities are often small, and at a local level SJP offices are free to donate small amounts to charities of their choice.

The larger grants given out centrally often go to longer term projects and often involve vast amounts of money. For instance, it could be paying a youth worker's salary over three years or a specialist therapy for a child with special needs.

So far the biggest single grant the SJP Foundation has awarded was £1.4mn for a capital project building a hydrotherapy pool for children with special needs at a school.

My most memorable campaign: Onside Youth Zones

Catherine Ind is head of SJP Foundation

"Onside are really transforming youth provision in communities and disadvantaged communities.