The Openwork Foundation

The Openwork Foundation celebrates 40 years of making a difference


The Openwork Foundation is celebrating 40 years of making a difference, during which time it has donated £20.8 million, helping more than 476,000 vulnerable people.

Originally created in 1981, as part of Zurich Community Trust, The Openwork Foundation achieved independent charitable status in 2019, and organises the fundraising and community projects undertaken by our staff and advisers. 

The money raised – which includes funds matched by the business to create a 50% uplift in donations – has enabled the Foundation to make more than 1,500 grants to charities across the UK and overseas, supporting vulnerable children and young adults.

Regular monthly donations from our partners, advisers and staff are a major source of income each year and accounted for 70% of income last year as the COVID-19 pandemic hit fundraising plans.

The funds raised by the Foundation are distributed in the form of charitable grants to national, local, and overseas projects nominated by advisers and staff.

The Foundation’s first grant of £150,000 enabled learning disability charity, Mencap to create an education centre for people with learning difficulties at Dilston Hall in Northumberland.

In recent years it has supported Youth Adventure Trust, to empower young people to fulfil their potential and lead positive lives, funding places for young people from Swindon to attend the three-year Youth Adventure Programme.

More than £2.2 million has been raised from the annual Cycle Challenges, which have taken place every year since 2000, seeing participants cover a total of 185,000 miles – many in developing countries. The Foundation can support UK registered charities helping communities overseas and one highlight included building a school from recycled shipping containers in the Philippines.

Sam Tesch, Openwork Foundation Manager said: “Every year we are blown away by the support the Openwork advisers and staff give to the Foundation and I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved in the past 40 years.  Last year was particularly challenging for everyone, and we definitely felt it as a charity.

“The generosity from the advisers and staff at Openwork has allowed us to continue to make a difference to the most vulnerable in our communities.  

“While many events this year are still unable to go ahead as planned, we have a great calendar of virtual and individual activities for people to get involved with. I’d like to take this opportunity to personally thank everyone for their continued support and kindness.”

Plans for 2021 at The Openwork Foundation include participating at a range of key national fundraising events such as the London Marathon, as well as organising several bespoke events, including:

  • South Downs at Night Trek - 26 June 2021
  • Charity Evening and Auction – 30 September 2021
  • Your Day and Your Way – Throughout 2021 - an opportunity to support in your chosen way – a local run, quiz, race night, cycle, cake bake.


The Openwork Partnership focuses on growth with new leadership roles