The Power of Partnerships - Industry Collaboration Brings ESG to the Fore

Wednesday, 29 March 2023

The Power of Partnerships - Industry Collaboration Brings ESG to the Fore

In this article, Edel O'Malley highlights the success of basis.point in promoting social engagement, reducing inequalities in education through collaboration and partnership within the Irish funds sector. It highlights how basis.point overcomes challenges of effective ESG partnerships by establishing clear communication channels, matching partner cultures and providing governance structures.

The Power of Partnerships: industry collaboration brings ESG to the fore

It has been almost ten years since the idea of collaborating as an industry around social impact was first muted by a small group of colleagues from the Irish funds industry.

Since then, the concept of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) has gained traction and the Irish Funds industry charity basis.point, are witnessing an upturn in the number of companies looking to leverage the power of partnership to help them become more socially responsible and encourage social engagement within their organisations.

Levelling the educational playing field

basis.point was established in 2014 in response to the inequality of opportunity stemming from economic disadvantage. Education was seen as a sustainable pathway to prosperity and the idea behind the charity was that by pooling resources and investing strategically in proven educational programmes consistently over time, the impact of our collective giving would be greater than the sum of our individual giving.

Joined up giving is helping shape a more diverse and inclusive society

The numbers speak for themselves. Since the beginning, by joining forces, we have helped over 40,000 children and young people to reach their potential through education. Over 1000 parents and guardians have been given a helping hand to become their child’s first and best teachers, giving their children the best start on their educational journey. 

Thanks to this collective effort, basis.point has allocated over €5.3 million to educational programmes to reduce inequalities and help young people to achieve their life potential irrespective of their background and to live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives.

Transforming the lives of young people through philanthropy

Whilst the numbers are impressive, it isn’t until you hear first-hand from participants and alumni of our partner programmes that the true impact of collaborative giving hits home. Diversity and inclusion are key tenants of our strategy and our programmes support children from marginalised and disadvantaged communities to reach their potential.  Never was the actual impact of our collective giving more in evidence than at the recent Showcase 2023, where our education partners had the opportunity to talk impact. 

Grace shared her personal story of how participation in the Foroige NFTE programme took her from a dark place, of low self-esteem, lack of belief and brink of becoming another school dropout statistic, to a place where she exudes self-confidence, has genuine belief in her own ability and has what every young person should have, “Agency”.

We also had the privilege of hearing from Aaron who participated in the BITC mentoring programme as a 5th year student in CBS Westland Row. He was paired with an employee from KPMG, who encouraged and guided him through his senior cycle. Aaron completed a higher certificate in computing at NCI and stayed in contact with his mentor. The real magic happened years later. He applied for a payroll position in KPMG. His mentor put in a good word for him. He was successful in his application and is now moving on up the KPMG ladder and is giving back by mentoring himself at his alma mater CBS Westland Row.

Aligning values in mission driven purpose partnerships

Effective ESG partnerships can be challenging to establish and maintain, due in part to differing priorities, objectives and values of partners, lack of trust and resource limitations. basis.point work to overcome these challenges by establishing clear and open communication channels, set common goals and expectations, match the cultures of partner organisations, and provide a governance structure that ensures accountability and transparency.

The long-standing nature of our relationship with patron organisations allows us to build and establish trust. By adopting this approach, we can create shared value and our partners achieve meaningful progress towards their ESG goals.

Over the past few years, in addition to cumulative giving through recurring annual donations, basis.point have introduced a number of patron organisations to titled partner programmes. BNY Mellon recently committed to a 3-year Digital Citizenship Programme with Teen-Turn, JP Morgan Chase are working with Foroige, introducing the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) programme with a mentoring overlay, to young people in North Inner City Dublin, HSBC have a 21st century employability programme in the Kilkenny region, also in partnership with Foroige and IPUT have recently committed to a wonderful internship programme Time to Grow, with BITC.

Each of these partnerships have also had additional benefits for employee engagement with greater scope to volunteer directly with our educational partners.

The impact of collaboration

Examples of the power of partnership abound when we look at the success of alumni from the Teen-Turn programme. Diana Hrisovescu moved to Ireland as a 10 year old immigrant from Romania and later attended Larkin Community College in Dublin 1. She first encountered Teen-Turn at ‘Inspire Fest 2018’, and continued to participate in their programmes, completing work placements, weekly after school sessions, senior cycle grinds and groundwork clubs for her incubation business.

She is currently studying Computer Science and Business at Trinity College Dublin, and in addition to her numerous awards and achievements she is the youngest person listed on The Independent’s ‘30 under 30: The Young Guns of Irish Business.

She attributes her success to the support from Teen-Turn throughout her journey. In her own words “Learning how to get where you want to go in life is good. Believing in your ability to do it, is better. Having people who will be there for you along the way is the BEST”.

Partnerships are an essential component of meeting a number of social sustainability obligations. Maples who are a longstanding Prestige Patron have opted to work with us at a number of levels. “Our corporate partnership with basis.point encompasses the three pillars of financial giving, pro bono support and volunteering. And many of those who can’t volunteer choose basis.point for their individual giving”. Eimear O’Dwyer, Co-head Funds & Investment Management.

The benefits of prioritising sustainability and ethical practices

Companies that prioritize sustainability and ethical practices are beginning to see the impact feed through to employee engagement and financial and economic rewards.

As the charity of the Irish funds industry, we are excited to deepen our relationships with as many member organisations as possible. By 2025 we aim to raise and commit €7.5 million to education, to ignite the dreams and career aspirations of young people in every county in Ireland, ultimately helping 60,000 young people to reach their potential through education.

The discussion and metrics around ESG is gaining momentum. Corporates, and individuals alike, are grappling to come to terms with their social impact. basis.point fills a void and simplifies this task. We offer a unique conduit for an industry to come together, to pool resources to make a genuine difference to the lives of those living with disadvantage.

In doing so, collectively as an industry we are doing what is ethically right whilst at the same time securing a long-term sustainable talent pool of diverse, educated, and inclusive young people.

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Edel O'Malley

Edel O’Malley joins the basis.point executive team as CEO and will focus on fundraising, strategic grant initiatives and the development of the charity. A graduate of UCD, Edel has over 20 years’ experience as a senior fundraiser in charities such as Children’s Medical & Research Foundation and more recently Irish Red Cross, where she was responsible for leading the development and strategic direction of the Fundraising, Marketing & Communications functions.

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Joanne Shaw

Joanne Shaw joins the basis.point team to help with brand development, donor communications and marketing initiatives. A graduate of UCD and ESCP Europe, Joanne brings a wealth of experience across the broad range of marketing disciplines and has previously helped Nokia and Lufthansa develop customer loyalty programmes.

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