Think Big, Start Small!
Think Big, Start Small
"A fabulous forum for people to share interests and ideas"
"A landmark occasion"
"What an inspirational but, most importantly, FUN night!"
It would be an understatement to say that our evening of "philanthropic inspiration" was enthusiastically received. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. But if you weren't there, I can sum it up in three words: plus ca change.
I'll explain. On the one hand, this was quite different to anything we had attempted before. Guests were greeted by great vats of caipirinha. We invited not only Fellows, but friends and family too. Filled to capacity, the atmosphere buzzed at a distinctly higher voltage and many people just did not want to leave. In such a setting, it seemed natural that younger voices led the discussion, while Fellowship sages supported discreetly from the wings.
On the other hand, so much was reassuringly familiar. Some things we'd never change: the warm welcome extended to faces old and new, the ease with which people mused and munched and mingled, Jason Chaffer's open-handed hospitality. Moreover, the motivation behind the event could not have been more orthodox: inspiring and empowering young people to become a force for good in society encapsulates the Fellowship's mission. Even the name of the evening "Think Big, Start Small" echoed "pebble in the pond", the Rank Foundation's motto. As they say, plus c'est la meme choseÃ‚Â¦
The discussion itself focused on three topics. The "founders" workshop considered how to start a charity. Antonia and Tessa Packard, who masterminded the event, spoke about establishing a bursary fund at Marlborough. Antonia's achievement setting up the Sara Charlton Foundation further demonstrated that with conviction and energy, young people can make and are making a real impact.
A second group, ably led by Tom Motchman, discussed how small but regular efforts could be just as effective. This underlined once again the value of the Community Action Placement, which all Fellows complete during their Sixth Form; it often initiates long-term relationships with Rank charities, to which Fellows later return as students and as working adults. Tom's own long-standing involvement with the Essex Boys and Girls Club is a fitting example.
Finally, Adam Grodecki and I rather whimsically took "adventurers" for our title. It proved a good choice: one Fellow related his plans to build a swan-shaped raft and then pilot it down the length of the Thames! As founder of studenthubs.org, Adam was able to speak from years of experience of connecting young people to charities and campaigns, but even he was impressed by the originality of that as a fundraising challenge.
From campaigning against domestic violence to leading an inner-city children's choir; from educating students about the dangers of cults to improving women's literacy in a Nicaraguan shanty town; from working with combat stress victims to cycling in aid of those with brain injuries, the sheer range of causes and activities is matched only by the passion of their champions. Designed to help and encourage young people to cast a pebble in the pond, "Think Big, Start Small" highlighted how many in the Fellowship already are.
"Think Big, Start Small" was organized by Antonia and Tessa Packard, Adam Grodecki, Tom Heasman and Max Kirby. It was held at Manchester Square Partners on 21 November. Thanks to Jason Chaffer, Tim Young, Tom Motchman, Ros McNulty and Jen Smyth for making the occasion a success.