The Financial Times (FT) has set up a new charity about financial literacy, which will replace its traditional seasonal appeal.
FT Financial Literacy and Inclusion Campaign (FT FLIC) unveiled its strategic plan today saying it will create content that can be used by teachers and individuals as well as campaign for education policy change.
FT FLIC aims to partner with existing charities and other organisations in financial education, to become a hub for the aggregation of the best materials, as well as developing its own content.
The charity has been backed by former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown, who said: “In surgeries, I came face-to-face with constituents who could not manage their finances or pay their bills, who racked up debts and fell into the hands of money lenders.
“I saw not only the despair that this brings and the impact it has on physical and mental health but the need for far greater financial literacy. Financial worries have been exacerbated by the pandemic and will certainly worsen when six million families in the UK find their universal credit is cut by £20 a week.”
'Suddenly a charity drive felt both more crucial and less relevant'
The FT indicated it would move on from seasonal appeals and focus on this campaign in late 2020.
So far, FT FLIC has received around £250,000 in donations from individuals and some seed funding from the FT. The charity has also received pro-bono support for help with legal and accounting matters.
Aimée Allam, executive director of FT FLIC, told Civil Society News: “We currently do not accept corporate donations in order to preserve our independence. We do plan in the future to apply for grants for specific projects.”
Over the last 15 years the FT’s seasonal appeals have raised more than £19.5m on behalf of charities.
In 2019, the last year it partnered with a charity for a seasonal appeal, the FT raised almost £300,000 for conservation charity the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
Patrick Jenkins, the FT’s deputy editor who chairs FT FLIC, said in the strategy document that the decision to stop running a seasonal appeal was prompted by the pandemic.
He wrote: “A global pandemic was beginning to engulf the world. Suddenly a charity drive felt both more crucial and less relevant: without an obvious Covid-related cause to support, wouldn’t it seem odd to be prioritising the rescue of rhinos, however noble the cause?”
The financial insecurity that increased when companies made people redundant at the beginning of the crisis combined with the impact of government policies, meant: “Suddenly it seemed obvious that the FT should espouse a cause connected to finance and inequality – and be far more ambitious than an old-style seasonal appeal partnership.”
FT FLIC has ten trustees, including five FT journalists or senior members of staff with expertise in content production and audience engagement. Other trustees include people with investment, finance and charity experience.
Aimée Allam has joined the charity as its first executive director. She has 11 years’ experience as charity leader and was programme director at a charitable think tank and has experience of lobbying parliamentarians for change.
A second staff member will join soon and future hiring will depend on fundraising activity.