Nick Meyer (2&3 South 1962), chairman of the board of trustees of the Cranleigh Foundation and former chairman of the OC Society, explains what the Foundation is all about
l left school at the age of 17 in July 1962 and started work in a timber company based in London. After a few months I was sent to work in the London docks at Millwall which, at the time, was one of the most deprived areas of London. There were other young apprentices working there as well, some from relatively privileged backgrounds and some from poverty-stricken backgrounds. Without going into detail, I very quickly learnt some fundamental lessons in life; for example, one young man had to share a pair of shoes with his brother, another was fairly illiterate, but the company was supporting him to learn to read and write properly. You remember these lessons for the rest of your life. That is why I have spent a large part of my life trying to assist others less fortunate than myself.
Some 25 years ago the father of a young Cranleighan lost his life in tragic circumstances leaving the family in a difficult financial position. The young person concerned was in his last two years at School and Old Cranleighans of all ages rallied to support him in order to enable him to complete his education, which he managed to achieve. I think that this is an early example of Foundationship as far as the School is concerned.
The Cranleigh Foundation has a simple objective: it is to assist a certain number of young people who have suffered misfortune in their lives for a variety of reasons to obtain a rounded education at Cranleigh School, which we hope will start them on the road of life and their careers. So far, we have been fairly successful in achieving this objective but we have been restricted by the financial resources available to us.
With this in mind, we are now working towards building an endowment of £10 million by 2029 to fund ten Foundationer places in perpetuity. We have already raised £2.92m and we are planning a programme of events and campaigns to help us reach this target. In 2022, we shall be running a Cranleigh Foundation Week from 7th to 13th March, as well as hosting a Cranleigh Summer Ball on Saturday 4th June. The last fundraising ball, held in 2016, made an impressive sum of money which made a substantial contribution to the placement of a Foundationer at the School.
Through the termly levy, the Vivian Cox Society and the Virtual Christmas Fair we were able to raise £370,304 in 2021: this is a significant amount, especially given the challenges and financial constraints brought about because of the pandemic.
Whilst we fundraise, we are diversifying our income streams by opening schools overseas and increasing our enterprise activity. In addition, we continue to seek funding from partner organisations such as Royal SpringBoard and Buttle UK.
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