Charities share a windfall

An online market research company has donated shares worth £55,000 to five European charities.

Toluna, which is listed on the Alternative Investment Market, issued 25,000 ordinary shares last week.

The recipient organisations include two British charities, Cancer Research UK and the Scleroderma Society. Scleroderma is a rare disease affecting the body's connective tissue.

Medecins Sans Frontieres, the medical aid agency, Arc-En-Ciel, a French children's charity, and Basis EV, a German charity for people with substance addiction, also received some shares.

Based on Toluna's current share value of 215p, each charity's quota is worth about £11,000. The charities have not yet commented on what they will do with their windfalls.

The charities were chosen by staff in Toluna's offices in London, Paris, Frankfurt and New York, each of which put forward five potential share recipients.

Toluna has followed an example set by development capital fund Eurovestech, which has previously donated shares to charity in this way.

"We felt this was a very good way of doing substantial charitable work," said Frederic-Charles Petit, chief executive of Toluna. "It is part of our corporate responsibility to understand that we need to participate in the effort for a better world. I hope that other companies will follow."

Paul Palmer, professor of voluntary sector management at the Centre for Charity Effectiveness at the Cass Business School in London, said: "This is an interesting development that is to be applauded. Clearly, these charities should be consulting their investment managers about what to do with the share donations."

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