ThinkForward to join Epic Foundation Portfolio

We’re delighted to announce that this year ThinkForward has been selected to join the Epic Foundation portfolio. After receiving a record 1,900 applications from 110 countries around the world, Epic Foundation has selected us as one of their 10 new Epic Portfolio organisations. ThinkForward will be added to a list of now 30 organisations that are making a difference for children and young people around the world and that donors can choose to support through Epic.

Founded in 2014, is a global not-for-profit startup based in New York City. Epic Foundation bridges the gap between a new generation of individual and corporate donors and organizations supporting children and youth. They develop new tools focused on enhancing how donors select, monitor and experience their impact. Their vision is to disrupt the philanthropic industry by combining passion and expertise with game-changing technology and partnerships.

“Through our portfolio of rigorously vetted social organizations, we are connecting the next generation of donors with charities that are saving lives and empowering children and youth globally.” said Alexandre Mars, CEO and Founder.

“We have used our passion, our energy and one of the most advanced selection methodologies to review the applications: I am confident that the resulting 2016 Epic Portfolio includes some of the finest NGOs and social enterprise around the world,” Nicola Crosta, Executive Vice President of Epic Foundation.

Stemming the NEET tide

Debate around the shocking number of NEET young people and youth unemployment is inevitably focused on what the government is going to do NOW.  That’s important, but it makes no sense for all our efforts to be concentrated on emergency flood relief.  Just as urgent are solutions further up stream, because regardless of when we see an upturn in the economy, another generation of disengaged young people is waiting in the wings.

According to government figures, almost 400,000 children missed at least a month’s worth of lessons in the school year 2010/11, with those on free school meals or with special educational needs, around three times more likely to be persistently absent.  Of pupils who miss between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of school, only 35 per cent manage to achieve five A* to C GCSEs, including English and maths.

Many are children like Luke, the subject of a short online film that gives us a glimpse of his world.  Luke has aspirations.  He wants to be a vet.  What is heartbreaking is that at just eleven he already senses that somehow that is a step too far for someone like him and that he probably won’t make it.

What can we do for Luke?  A lot.  Early intervention programmes, backed by PEF, look beyond the classroom to resolve challenging circumstances at home, work in schools to give mental health support, and provide near peer mentors, all with the aim of improving attendance and academic attainment in areas of deprivation.

In addition, ThinkForward, PEF’s latest breakthrough programme assigns ‘at risk’ 14 year olds with their own ‘super coach’ who works with them right up to age 19, giving them a personalised action plan, workplace mentor, introductions to business networks and work opportunities.

My dream is that we can get to young people like Luke before they stop dreaming.  While of course we must do everything we can to for the current cohort of young people without work, let’s not leave it all so late for Luke.

Shaks Ghosh, Chief Executive, Private Equity Foundation