2020 highlights supporting educationally disadvantaged children

Festive fun with ELI home visitor, Jilyn McLoughlin

2020 has been a difficult year. Each of us individually, has grappled with challenges stemming directly from the Covid-19 pandemic and adjusted the way we live and work. Unsolicited, we have become painfully aware of our interconnectivity and our vulnerability has played out before us. But it might just be, that this dramatic shock has forced a reconnection with some of our kindest traits, and a return to a more caring, empathetic, and compassionate society.

We can draw many positives. Against all odds, the basis.point community, has grown donations this year, by over 30%. In house corporate teams have become more creative with their fundraising and we have seen everything from virtual bingo nights, solo 5k runs, cake sales, to photography competitions and virtual quizzes.

Individuals such as Gavin Nangle of State Street, overcame the disappointment of his cancelled Boston Marathon by doubling down on his fundraising efforts and Eoin Motherway of AMX in Cork, led by example in keeping spirits high, with an act of kindness each day for the month of November.

Food parcels

Food parcel deliveries with Belvedere Youth Club

Through the basis.point community, almost €650k has been donated towards helping disadvantaged children throughout Ireland reach their potential. This has taken a different form to other years, with some of the funds, of necessity, being diverted to meet essential needs such as food parcels, home delivered activity packs, shelter, and emotional support. As a result of the basis.point and Irish Funds Emergency Relief Fund, our endeavours introduced us to new partner charities.

In this exceptional year, we additionally supported programmes around the country with Barnardos, Belvedere Youth Club, Camara, Focus Ireland, Good Grub, Limerick Youth Services Centre, and The Peter McVerry Trust.

Working together to improve opportunities for at-risk children remains at the heart of everything we do. For our existing charity partners, it has been a challenging year, and their resilience is admirable. In most cases, they have managed to pivot activities and continue to deliver the educational programmes on schedule.

There have of course been some speed bumps and some implementation has been delayed.

With schools closed, Suas struggled initially to deliver the numeracy programme remotely and used the time to re-engineer their organisation enabling much of the programme to be completed. Archways too have encountered issues and have plans in hand to catch up on targets for rolling out their programmes.

Others such as TUDublin and Business in the Community managed to complete their programmes by transitioning online.

Foroige on Zoom

Foroige Zoom calls keeping young people engaged

Foróige were well placed to pivot activities and very quickly adapted the NFTE programme to virtual delivery. For many of the participants, regular zoom meetings either as a group or for individual mentoring proved invaluable.

The Early Learning Initiative (ELI) work with extremely vulnerable families in inner city locations. Their team of home visitors quickly embraced the new reality and continued to support these families by a combination of video calls and doorstep visits as soon as permitted. Remarkably ELI has achieved higher participation and engagement figures through-out the pandemic and may adopt elements of blended support going forward.

Even in advance of the pandemic, the Adminovate team set a new high in terms of fundraising, by donating proceeds of their conference to basis.point, more than €20,000. And it has not simply been from within the Irish Funds industry that we have witnessed generosity.

Many suppliers also leant in, Bill Dowling of The Courtyard edited our video at minimal cost, John Logue recorded the voice over as a gesture of goodwill. Chris Lee compered our virtual Quiz at cost. Frank Hanley of Leading Edge supported our golf event and Fionnuala Nolan and Anne Considine donated works of Art for our Virtual Auction.

The extent to which the Irish funds industry embraced the basis.point and Irish Funds Covid-19 emergency appeal to protect and support vulnerable families, has been uplifting. There was an additional benefit for us as an organisation.

Working closely with colleagues within Irish Funds afforded us the chance to foster closer links and as a small organisation, we both enjoyed and benefited from this enhanced working relationship. Indeed subsequently, Irish Funds and the Institute of Banking both showcased basis.point at their virtual events and greatly enhanced awareness of the work that we are doing.

Golf sponsors

Clive Bellows, basis.point Chairperson with event sponsors Eoin Motherway, AMX, Anne Keys, The Panel and Niall Cribben, Duff & Phelps

Through-out the year, the generosity of both long standing and new Patrons has been wide reaching and more significant than we could ever have hoped. We deeply appreciate the manner in which as an industry, you rallied around.

We have received innumerable large donations and have welcomed many new event sponsors. We are delighted to report that each of our current Partner Programmes have been assured of further funding with a new partnership being announced early in the new year.

From an organisational perspective, we welcomed Edel O’Malley as CEO of basis.point and three new high-profile appointments in Eve Finn, Pat Lardner, and Peter Stapleton to the Board of Directors. This has been the year of the virtual Lunch and Learns and as a result, recent months have shown a growing level of engagement with basis.point. We are grateful to welcome new Patrons and Supporters.

Jilyn McLoughlin, ELI home visitor, spoke recently of her challenging year,

I’d just like to thank you from the bottom of my heart and I know if families were here too they would thank you from the bottom of their hearts. If it wasn’t for your donations, we wouldn’t be doing the job we are doing and especially through COVID, when everything shut down, we kept going.

Through the panic and the wobbles – hands up, I had many a wobble – but we got there, and we are continuing to this day, to visit families in the inner-city who need the support.

We too would like to thank each of you from the bottom of our hearts. Anecdotal feedback from our charity partners show that in so many cases our programmes have provided a lifeline to vulnerable families and in many cases has given them a reason to get up in the morning.

So yes, this pandemic has rocked us to the core. It has been a difficult year, but also a formative one and we have seen our community show exceptional levels of kindness and generosity. Take a bow, we pay tribute to each of you. Next year we will push forward. We have a lot of good to do.

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