The objectives of the Glenn and Phyllida Earle Fund, set up in 2011, are to address social disadvantage, help disadvantaged young people to achieve their full potential and to work to promote, support and engage vulnerable people.
Glenn talked recently to the BBC about what attracted him to work with Sussex Community Foundation. “The thing I was struck by was the organisational leverage,” says Glenn, recently retired as Chief Operating Officer at Goldman Sachs International. “The Foundation provides an infrastructure that sources opportunities [potential grant recipients], pre-screens them, presents them to us and then monitors the use of funds and manages the endowment as well. I think there’s a natural inclination not to speak too much about ‘good works’ – a natural reticence I think in this country. I spend a lot of time in America and I think there’s a very healthy habit there to celebrate and applaud philanthropy. If people don’t know about the opportunities to make a difference, if they don’t know about organisations like Sussex Community Foundation, then they’re going to be less inclined to be involved.”
You can listen here to Glenn talk about why he’s involved.
One group funded recently was Sussex Ups and Downs (see picture right), a parent-led group that provides weekly speech and language therapy to children with Down’s syndrome. When a family receive a Down’s syndrome diagnosis for their child, it is always a challenging time. Charlie’s family was no different and support from other families in similar situations is often vital. “It was a complete shock to us and the whole of our family,” says mum Sam. “When we look back, it was the most stressful and sad time in our lives. We felt isolated and scared. We didn’t really know what the future would hold for Charlie and there didn’t seem too many people out there that could tell us. One day, I met up with a friend of a friend who told me about the Sussex Ups and Downs group and, from then on, began meeting other parents who were in the same situation. This was the point when we realised we were not alone and that there were other parents out there dealing with the same issues that we were facing. Charlie has been attending the speech group since he was around nine months old and has gone from strength to strength. It has not only provided amazing specialist speech therapy for Charlie but has supported all of us along the way. For that reason, Sussex Ups and Downs has been invaluable to us as a family and for that we will always be grateful.We feel very lucky to have Charlie and he makes us proud every single day.”