Penny Appeal founder returns to the board after independent investigation 

12 Aug 2020 News

Penny Appeal logo

The founder of the Penny Appeal, Adeem Younis, has returned to the charity’s trustee board after he stepped aside in September 2019 during an independent investigation.

The investigation looked into an alleged financial impropriety. It made recommendations on strengthening existing governance procedures and diversifying the board, but Younis was not found to have breached charity law.

The charity referred itself to the Charity Commission about the investigation and subsequent findings.

A Charity Commission spokesperson said: “Penny Appeal has informed us of the outcome of its own independent investigation, and its decision to reinstate its chair. We were satisfied that the charity sought appropriate professional advice throughout this process and is taking steps to improve governance, however we advised the charity to consider appointing more than three trustees given its size.”

Data for the financial year ending 30 April 2019 puts its income at £33.2m and spending at £35.1m.

Penny Appeal provides poverty relief across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It also works in the UK to help homeless people and women who have experienced domestic abuse.

'I look forward to returning to my passion and life’s purpose of serving the less fortunate'

Younis said: “I look forward to returning to my passion and life’s purpose of serving the less fortunate through Penny Appeal, which was founded over a decade ago in memory of my late father. It has been difficult to step aside from the charity I founded and face false and unfounded allegations; however, it was the right thing to do to protect the charity I serve. 

“I want to thank my family and the employees at Penny Appeal for their unwavering support during this period. Trust from the public and our employees allows Penny Appeal to help millions around the world. I will endeavour to continue to champion transforming small change into a big difference, working to break the cycle of poverty, and making every single penny count.”

The charity will be launching an open recruitment for two new trustees in the coming weeks, with a further two being recruited later in the year. 

Penny Appeal has also hired Azhar Khan, a chartered accountant and governance adviser, to take on the role of interim chief financial officer and governance director. He will work to ensure recommendations are enacted as the charity works to develop a new strategy, which will launch in 2021.

‘We welcome the outcome of this investigation’

The charity said in a statement: “We welcome the outcome of this investigation as it serves to strengthen Penny Appeal’s ability to transform small change into a big difference for those who need it most.”

It added that it welcomed back Younis, who founded Penny Appeal in Wakefield in 2009, and thanked stakeholders “for their ongoing support and patience throughout these challenging times”.

Rizwan Khaliq, the interim chair of trustees, said: “At a time of unprecedented challenges, in the face of Covid-19 and a looming economic recession, Adeem’s return to full duty as a trustee is welcomed and timely.

“We look forward to him providing strategic vision to ensure the charity can move forward, from strength to strength and continue to help millions of impoverished lives around the world.”

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