One of London’s most ambitious charities was last night given a financial boost in one of the city’s most iconic buildings.
At an event held in The Gherkin, Chance UK employees and supporters looked out over the rooftops of the capital as they celebrated their blossoming financial relationship with international law firm Kirkland & Ellis.
Having given £25k last year Kirkland Ellis is discussing funding again this year and future years.
The charity has been operating for 20 years, annually supporting and mentoring around 200 of the most vulnerable and isolated children in the country through.
Speaking at the event, John Markland, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, said it was “hard to think of a more worthy cause, helping primary children get back on the right tracks…
“Very importantly the incredible levering of volunteers’ help means that they can give amazing bang for your buck, and with revenues of only about £1m our £25,000 can really make a material difference to the charity. We are not just giving a drop in the ocean.
He added that they were “on the lookout for nine other firms like Kirkland and Ellis, to give broadly a similar contribution.”
The drive for more funding reflects the charity’s desire to grow and deliver its transformative services to more communities across the capital and the country.
As part of this aim it has seized opportunities to prove the value of the work that is being done.
Sue Holloway, Director of Pro Bono Economics – which matches professional economists with charities on a voluntary basis – described the work her organisation had done with Chance UK.
“We identified the potential savings to the public purse and the benefits to the individuals and their families if those negative outcomes could be avoided, then we compared that with Chance’s costs of running their programme.
“It costs Chance an average of £5,000 per child mentored. If conduct problems aren’t addressed there’s about an additional £22,000 in costs to public services, and that is things like the criminal justice system, public health and social care; and around £140,000 in costs to individuals themselves – reduced earnings, the emotional costs and social costs of crime, family costs.
“So, Chance UK would break even in terms of an economic cost-benefit analysis if they were successful in ensuring that 1 in 42 children avoided negative outcomes over and above what would have happened anyway.
“You have to take a view yourself about whether that sounds reasonable. An alternative way of thinking about that is they would have to reduce negative outcomes resulting from behavioural problems by an average of 2.5%.”
Ms Holloway went on to praise the organisation for its decision to build on that work by taking part in a Randomised Control Trial.
Chance UK competed successfully against 24 other organisations in 2013 to be part of the rigorous evaluation, and is the smallest charity ever to be accepted.
Chance UK CEO Gracia McGrath explained why: “I know it sounds like a huge risk for such a small organisation to undergo a Randomised Control Trial, and we are the smallest organisation to ever undergo a Randomised Control Trial, but do you know what? Every time we go to a graduation and we see our children and we see the difference that it makes we think it is actually quite a calculated risk.”
Ms McGrath hopes that the results will provide greater proof of the value of the organisation’s work helping them to secure much needed funding and, unsurprisingly, she is willing to take the chance.