Introduction – Doubling the difference and then some.

I started Reed recruitment with £75 in my pocket, but I am keenly aware that the business has continued to grow to a point where I now live in an extremely privileged position – whilst many in society are not. I believe that wealthy people have a responsibility to give and the wealthiest 1% need to be more proactive in supporting charities and making our world more equitable. Today, REED has an annual turnover of £1.2 billion with 18% of the company owned by the charitable Reed Foundation. 

What charities does the Reed Foundation support?

We aim to support as many charities as possible, no matter the cause or the size. I have a personal interest in international development, arts organisations and supporting people living with disabilities. However, we ultimately care about impact. If a charity is making a positive difference in the lives of its beneficiaries and beyond, then that’s the type of charity we’re interested in. We do this by channelling our funding through Big Give and do not invite grant applications from charities directly.

When developing relationships with our charity partners it’s a lot about trust and openness, we care about supporting organisations that are willing to be open about their successes, as well as the challenges they’re facing. 

How do you engage with your charity partners?

I still take an active role in selecting charities for the Big Give campaigns we support. It is an enjoyable process as I learn about all sorts of charities doing incredible work and Big Give covers all the due diligence on our behalf! I also follow the campaigns with great interest, especially The Christmas Challenge. I keep refreshing the website while the campaign is running as it is exciting to follow the results coming in.  I like to see which charities are meeting their targets and which charities need more help to secure their match funding.

How much match funding are you putting in this year’s Christmas Challenge?

I can’t confirm yet, but what I can say is that it’ll be more than last year, which was over £2 million. We know that charities are working in a challenging economic and fundraising climate, so we want to help bridge the gap where we can. If a charity isn’t chosen by another Christmas Challenge Champion, then we’ll try and ensure that they’re included in our list.

I would also like to encourage other Champions to increase their match funding if they can and for potential new Champions to give it a go. It is a fantastic way of leveraging support and increasing your impact fourfold.

Why do you think charities should apply to the Christmas Challenge this year?

“We know it’s hard for charities to access major grant givers and donors. Often they do not welcome unsolicited grant applications or have gatekeepers that are hard to get past. Charities can spend a lot of time writing and sending off grant applications and not get anywhere. Big Give gives charities a unique opportunity to get in front of champions who they may not normally be able to access and to have the chance to be selected for match funding. Big Give’s team provide so much additional support to help you through the process as well – it’s almost a no-brainer.”
Alexandra Chapman, Chair, The Reed Foundation

“Big Give’s Christmas Challenge is a great way of attracting new donors to your charity. Big Give markets different sectors and your charity can ride on the top of it. If your charity is helping women and girls, for example, then donors who are interested in this cause will visit Big Give’s website and come across your charity. They may have never heard of you before, love what you do and decide to support you.”
Sir Alec Reed, Founder, The Reed Foundation

If you’re interested in being supported by The Reed Foundation and Big Give, charities can apply now for the 2024 Christmas Challenge.

What is your hope for the Reed Foundation?

Our mission is wherever possible to make grants that create a multiplier effect. We not only want to increase our impact but leverage and unlock other funding as well. I would like us to introduce more innovation into philanthropy and encourage other philanthropists to increase their giving. They are underperforming as a group and have the potential to give so much more. 

Being involved in charity has always been at the heart of the Reed family and business. To date, we’ve given away millions through the Reed Foundation, as well as starting three charities, Big Give, Womankind Worldwide and Ethiopiaid. It’s still not enough for us and our goal is always to give away more and incentivise more of the country’s top 1% to be generous. It’s been a great pleasure in my life to see how The Reed Foundation has grown and I am delighted that my three children James, Richard and Alexandra are so engaged and that the next generation are becoming involved as well.

To find out more about Big Give and The Reed Foundation, watch this video.

Sir Alec Reed CBE was knighted in 2011 for his contributions to both business and charity. He was also awarded the Beacon Prize in 2010 for his “longstanding work in supporting hundreds of charities.” He is the proud founder of Big Give and remains closely involved with the organisation to this day.

Alexandra Chapman is the daughter of Sir Alec Reed and took over as Chair of the Reed Foundation in February this year. She is also the Chair of Ethiopiaid UK and a previous trustee of Big Give, she remains a dedicated supporter of the charity and its work to amplify philanthropic giving.

Big Give is the UK’s #1 match funding platform. We match donations to multiply generosity and create a lasting impact in the world. Big Give has raised over £300m for thousands of great causes through the power of match funding. Find out more.