Big Giver: The Jack Petchey Foundation

Chief operating officer Trudy Kilcullen tells Jenna Pudelek about investing £7m per year in projects for young people

Jack Petchey: His foundation invests heavily in grass-roots youth organisations
Jack Petchey: His foundation invests heavily in grass-roots youth organisations

At a time when charities are suffering from unprecedented funding cuts, the Jack Petchey Foundation wants to recruit more youth groups to its grants programme.

Founded by Jack Petchey, an East End entrepreneur who built up a multi-million pound car sales and holiday resorts empire, the foundation invests about £7m a year in projects for young people.

This includes £3m in its Achievement Award programme, which includes more than 2,000 grass-roots youth organisations and schools. Youth organisations hit by funding cuts are urged to apply to the programme, which still has £300,000 available this year.

Once in the programme, organisations can take part in the annual awards, which present young achievers with certificates and £200 to invest in their groups. Trudy Kilcullen, chief operating officer of the foundation, says applications are welcome from not-for-profit youth organisations of any size.

The foundation's remaining £4m goes towards its major programmes, which involve young people in a range of activities, from table tennis to musical theatre.

Crucially, the foundation gives funding after it identifies a gap in provision and researches charities involved in that area, Kilcullen says.

Recent partnerships include £200,000 to vInspired, which connects young people to volunteering opportunities. The foundation has also worked with Anthony Nolan to raise awareness about its work.

The latest initiative is with the Media Trust to set up a mentoring scheme for 100 young people not in education, employment or training. This includes a grant of £100,000.

Tackling youth unemployment will be the foundation's next focus. Trustees want to create programmes that will give young people skills and opportunities, Kilcullen says.

The foundation, launched by Petchey, now 86, in 1999, has so far given out more than £70m in grants.

"It has a strong alignment with Jack's values and a belief in positive thinking," says Kilcullen.

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