AlphaWeek Q&A: Alternatives For Children
Stuart MacDonald of Bride Valley Partners and Marc de Kloe of Theta Capital discuss the launch of A4C's new UK chapter.
AW: Stuart, you’re the trustee of the newly formed UK chapter of Netherlands-based Alternatives for Children. Tell us a little about how you came to be involved with A4C.
SM: I encountered Alternatives 4 Children through the annual Legends 4 Legends conferences in Amsterdam. This extraordinary gathering runs like a conventional alternative investments conference, but with a difference: the hundreds who attend all know that they are not there just to network and to learn from distinguished speakers like Sir Michael Hintze and Leda Braga, but also to support this quite refreshing charitable venture.
AW: What attracted you to the organisation?
SM: Alternatives 4 Children makes direct and effective interventions in peoples’ lives. Having served as Trustee or in an Advisory capacity for several charities, community and arts organisations over the years, I was struck by the straightforward nature of this charity’s work, the positive motivation of the people involved and its no-nonsense efficiency. I was impressed by the way in which the money raised is transmitted to its beneficiaries, without the administrative overheads often found in the charitable sector. A4C is a wonderful way to leverage our professional networks for a very good cause and to “give something back”; we hope that the British alternative investments community will lend this good cause the high level of support that it deserves.
AW: Marc - how involved is A4C’s leadership in the projects it donates to?
MdK: One of the things we decided at the outset was that we wanted to have a hands-on approach to the projects we donate to. We want to bring our investment knowledge and skills to encourage the best use of funds. In essence, we treat our selection of projects like “startup” fund of funds. We act as a key donor, with influence over how the money is spent and on what. In addition, we want specific reporting and transparency with a focus on certain impact criteria that we define. We often stage the money flows so that if they don’t live up to expectations, they don’t get further funding. On the other hand, we also help professionalise what they are doing so that when they do the right things, we introduce them to other potential sources of funds, or we have also had cases where others have donated or matched our donation because of our involvement.
AW: What type of projects does A4C support?
MdK: All of our projects have a strong focus on education. I think it is hard for any of us in the finance world to deny that education makes a difference. This is the way we want to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of people.
We currently support five projects in Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania and two in India. The best way to get a feeling for our projects is to read about them in our annual report or to sign up for our newsletters where we provide regular updates. We often produce case studies to demonstrate the effectiveness we have on children. We will also encourage donors to visit the projects as we will help coordinate field trips to help you get a real feeling for the results we achieve.
AW: Finally, Stuart, give us some details about the launch event for A4C UK.
SM: The event will be held on Tuesday, June 4th at Eversheds Sutherland’s London office starting at 5.30pm. You can register for the event here.
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