Jason Leonard speech summary Jan 2017 House of Lords
House of Lords reception – Jason Leonard presentation
23rd Jan 2017
The ATLAS Foundation
“Rugby saved me when I was young and gave me wonderful opportunities as an adult. I want to give back, give opportunities to others and save kids from the worst of life.”
Why ATLAS? Because its taking the weight of people’s problems onto our shoulders.
Why international work? There are plenty of good UK charities, I don’t want to compete with them. I saw lots of deprivation as I travelled, I know how much good we can do internationally. We work through a network of Rugby Champions who have good local knowledge and can watch over the use of our funds.
What have we done so far? After event costs, raised £200k in our first year and pledged £150k to projects globally. These provide food, medicine, education and rugby coaching to thousands of kids. For instance we train teachers in Morocco, fund school rugby coaches in India and build sports pitches in South African townships. In the future we want more projects, for more kids, in more places.
Community rugby club support
What can Atlas do for community rugby clubs and for members of the wider “rugby family”?
Gift Aid – Not all clubs can get the gift-aid tax advantages of charitable registration. Even those that could, sometimes have committees who don’t have the time for the admin to make it happen, and the cost of annual audit can outweigh the gift aid benefits.
Example – Richmond Rugby Club. The Richmond Heavies went on tour and came back wanted to support a really deserving kid and talented player whose parents had recently died. Atlas created a Richmond Fund that their members could pay into, at about £10 per month each, and Atlas claims the gift aid which adds 25%. We hold the money and don’t take any admin fee. When the Richmond gang have enough in the pot they instruct us to pay a grant over to a former club member in South Africa who makes sure the money goes where it should.
Example – Club fundraising. As Atlas is a separate legal entity to your club, money raised by us and granted to your club could help with matched funding bids. So if you’re building a new changing room or raising money for a tour or tournament, personal donations can be made to a club fund under the Atlas umbrella, gift aid is added at 25%, and Atlas makes a grant to your club for rugby development purposes. If matched funding is available elsewhere then the net gain over a straight donation to the club is 50% – i.e. the gift aid 25% doubled up through matching.
Speed – Sometimes you want things to happen fast and as long as its rugby-related, Atlas can set up a fund for you in minutes.
Example – The Cooper family. Their lovely son Ed died suddenly late last year, aged only 18. He had recently been on rugby tour to South Africa and felt moved to buy his opposite number a Springboks jersey. When his family wanted to set up a memorial fund they called us, and it was ready the same day for them to send to Ed’s friends and all who knew and missed him. Of course this gets 25% extra gift aid too. His family can now work with us to find a fitting tribute to Ed, probably some support for disadvantaged kids where he toured in South Africa.
These tragedies do happen, and we hope that we are here for you when they do. Thankfully its not always kids, sometimes its an older club stalwart and if you want to raise money to establish a fitting memorial, as long as its rugby related then we can help.
If you like to make a donation, our look at our personal funds you can do that at our online giving site: mydonate.bt.com/charities/theatlasfoundation
If you’d like to discuss the possibility of a personal or club fund, please contact our CEO, Sally Pettipher.