I had been on the board of Ubuntu in London for a few years and so had experience with charities and Greg had always dreamed of creating a foundation that would ultimately be something that we could be proud of beyond just making money. Greg had spent so many years working tirelessly to make his business a success but had always felt he wanted to create a legacy that would positively impact the world at large. We were in the perfect position to work together to create this positive legacy and so while on holiday in South Africa we took out our note pads and brainstormed the future of The Knowledge to Action Foundation.
We outlined the two charities that were close to our hearts and decided on supporting Barnardo’s in the UK and The Ubuntu Education Fund in South Africa. Essentially each charity represented our own individual backgrounds. Greg’s grandmother was an orphan and was taken in by one of Dr Barnardo’s orphanages. He always says if it wasn’t for Barnardo’s he may not be here today. I was born in South Africa and have always felt close to my roots endeavouring to give back to the country I love. We also wanted the foundation to focus on children and initiatives that supported youths in creating the future of their dreams.
The Foundation hosts a variety of initiatives throughout the year. The Flying Trader project is our main fundraising vehicle which in turn financially feeds our annual initiatives such as supporting our two head-line charities with their chosen projects, Barnardo’s Hub Project, teaching young people essential skills for the work place and Ubuntu’s Early Childhood Development program, providing 0-5 year old township children with the building blocks of early education.
In June the first Flying Trader event was launched and Greg took to the skies in a series of four helicopter flights, trading above the City and sending his live trades and tips down to an audience of over 500 Knowledge to Action traders. So far a phenomenal total of £161,381.44 has been generated, and six more ‘Flying Traders’ in 2012 should ensure that this total well surpasses the target of 250,000.
As well as supporting Barnardo’s and The Ubuntu Education Fund, proceeds from Flying Trader also go toward the running of The Knowledge to Action Youth Leadership Summit, which was first launched this October. The ground breaking 5 day residential course took place in Kent, and saw just under 100 14 – 17 year olds from across the country come together to learn key development skills which will help them to achieve future success. The program was led by industry guru, Harry Singha, who has over 20 years’ experience working with young people and has been the lead coach on many of Tony Robbins youth seminars. The key subjects covered over the course of the week were: health, wealth, emotions, relationships, leadership, contribution and purpose. The first Summit was an extraordinary experience, with everyone involved – adults and children alike – coming away feeling truly enriched. There has been great feedback from the course and 2012 is already set to be a success, with The Foundation’s goal being to sponsor 200 children to attend the programme.
To top off an already successful year the cherry on the cake would have to be the trip with Sir Richard Branson to his luxury game reserve in South Africa. Greg and I attended the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 awards earlier this year. This event, sponsored by Virgin, is geared to celebrate UK’s fastest growing companies, with Knowledge to Action picking up 49th place. During the seated lunch attended by over 250 people, we were addressed by Sir Richard Branson himself who spoke about his UNITE charity in South Africa and offered us a place on his up-coming safari trip in December. During our stay we will be visiting Branson’s Centre of Entrepreneurship in Johannesburg as well as spending time with him and a group of 10 honoured guests at Ulusaba, his private Game Reserve set in the heart of Sabi Sand on the border of the sprawling Kruger National Park. The three-day adventure will be rounded off with a banquet dinner with Christian Slater and Dr Hugo Templeman.
Greg and I will also take the opportunity to discuss our philanthropic ideas and missions with Sir Richard and hopefully get to understand more about his Virgin UNITE charity. Likewise we will share our experience and stories with Richard on Ubuntu and the Knowledge to Action Foundation.
Before meeting Sir Richard, Greg and I are visiting the Ubuntu Education Fund HQ here in Port Elizabeth and we will be able to see how the money raised through the Flying Trader project has helped the charity and the children they look after. I’ll be blogging again next week talking about our visit to the charity and looking ahead to meeting Sir Richard and discussing our philanthropic ideas with him.