FUNDRAISING NEWS: Vodafone Foundation in hunt for flagship charity

The Vodafone UK Foundation has shortlisted five charities to pitch to be its next flagship charity, which will receive millions of pounds in donations throughout the three-year relationship.

The current flagship charity, YouthNet UK, will have received £4m by the time the partnership ends in February 2004. YouthNet is one of the five charities that has presented ideas to a panel of around 15 senior staff at the foundation.

Ally Stevens, a foundation spokeswoman, said: "Every three years we look for a flagship charity and we are in the process of selecting our second such charity. Currently there are meetings taking place to look at the issue, and a number of charities have made presentations to us." She added that a decision would be made by the new year.

YouthNet UK offers online help and advice for 16-25 year-olds and was set up by former newsreader Martyn Lewis. Vodafone cash has helped the charity provide free internet access for young people, and grow its website to a million visits a month.

It is believed that part of the criteria for choosing the charity includes ideas for projects involving SMS text messaging.

The UK foundation's policy on supporting charities focuses on organisations involved in communications, particularly mobile technology, and on social inclusion among young people and the over-50s. It is an independent charity funded by annual donations from the Vodafone Group Foundation and from mobile phone giant Vodafone UK. The group foundation was founded to support charitable and community work by all Vodafone companies around the world.

Consultancy Cause & Effect has been advising staff at the foundation on the selection process.

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