Third Sector Awards: Corporate Partnership of the Year – Autistica and Fujitsu

Awarded to a partnership between a charity, social enterprise or other kind of voluntary organisation and a business that has brought strong mutual benefits to both.

Corporate Partnership of the Year – Autistica and Fujitsu

What was the partnership?

In 2018 Fujitsu chose national autism research charity Autistica as its first small charity partner. The partnership's mission is to drive Autistica's cutting-edge research through technology, expanding the charity's reach and raising its visibility. Due to the pandemic Fujitsu has extended the partnership for another two years.

What did they do?

Autistic people find it difficult to access public spaces, making it harder to access basic rights such as healthcare or employment. Fujitsu provided Autistica and academic partner The Alan Turing Institute with £333,000 of pro bono technical support to co-design a digital platform that uses citizen science to create more accessible and inclusive public places.

Three senior leaders at Fujitsu took on mentoring roles to help the charity strategically, and 40 Charity Champions have volunteered their time. Fujitsu has upskilled Autistica's employees in relationship management and agile project management, and has provided technology to help the Autistica team work more efficiently.

Fujitsu’s sponsorship of Autistica's Annual Conference allowed the autistic community to have discounted tickets, while pro bono livestreaming and recordings gave members access to the latest research.

What has been the impact of the partnership?

In the first two years Fujitsu has provided £755,020 of support, including £150,000 staff fundraising and over 4,000 hours of time volunteered. Fujitsu’s sponsorship of Autistica's World Autism Awareness Month activities helped to educate more than 95,000 viewers in a month – an unprecedented reach for a small charity.

Autistica's expertise in autistic employment has enabled Fujitsu to create a more accessible workplace, ensuring autistic colleagues are fully supported. Webinars, educational sessions and resource-sharing have helped Fujitsu to support employees with a direct and indirect experience of autism.

What did the judges say?

“A truly mutually beneficial partnership that leveraged both the charity’s and the company’s skills and knowledge to make a real impact on the beneficiaries’ and employees’ lives.”

Highly commended

  • Trussell Trust, FareShare and Asda

Finalists

  • Action for Children and Royal Mail
  • Age UK and Cadbury
  • Food Foundation and Co-op, Tesco, Co-op Central England, Lidl, Iceland, Sainbury's and Waitrose
  • National Emergencies Trust and NatWest Group
  • Young Lives vs Cancer and Morrisons
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