Your IndustryFeb 3 2023

Evelyn: Charity work not up for discussion in economic downturn

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Evelyn: Charity work not up for discussion in economic downturn
'Most shareholders want to be seen to be doing the right thing,' says Charley Davies (credit: Carmen Reichman)
ByCarmen Reichman

Evelyn Partners will not be cutting its charitable work even in an economic downturn, said Charley Davies, group general counsel, who chairs the firm's charities and communities committee.

Davies hopes corporate fundraising as a whole will not suffer as a result of a possible recession, though she agreed times could be tough as pockets are pinched further.

"We are very respectful of the fact that people are struggling," she said. "And so there is a point where you have to know that you can't overdo it in terms of the ask."

But she added: "I see shareholders generally being very very supportive of charitable efforts. Certainly every organisation that I have worked for has said 'that is protected'.

"The same is true of the shareholders that back Evelyn Partners. The charitable stuff is not up for discussion, which I think is fantastic. Most shareholders want to be seen to be doing the right thing, that's what it boils down to."

Evelyn Partners has a charitable trust as well as making direct corporate donations, and sometimes non-budgeted one-off contributions to special causes.

For instance, in 2022 it gave money to Ukraine aid as well as to its ongoing partner, social mobility charity Impetus. In total in 2022, the trust raised about £500,000 for charity.

Social mobility is linked to our values, one of which is 'we go further together'.

Evelyn staff also engage in volunteering with communities and through Impetus, while the trust matches funds raised through individual charitable activities such as triathlons or marathons up to £500, as well as payroll giving.

Davies said Evelyn was heavily focused on social mobility within financial services. 

"We think it's really important to have a corporate charity that we support because we're very strong believers in social mobility within the financial services sector and we are trying to encourage people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to come into this industry," she said.

"But we found that employees also engage better with charitable efforts if they're also able to support their own charity as well," Davies added. "Because people have a charity typically that's close to their own heart."

Evelyn currently has a three-year arrangement with Impetus, which acts as a support provider to 25 other charities, all of which must tick the social mobility box.

The firm's staff help with activities such as CV writing, workshops about going to university, and introducing children to its offices and the work the company does "to try and encourage them into financial services".

"It needs to be a charity that's trying to further the education of individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, to either support them in school or to support them in obtaining a job. And there are some incredible charities that they support," said Davies.