The charity works towards a vision where all children and young people are given the best start in life by improving their employment chances. It took action at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 to launch Digital Boost, a free of charge volunteering platform uniting digital experts with leaders of small businesses and charities through 1:1 mentoring calls, interactive webinars, workshops, and skills resources.
As the programme grew, the charity realised the potential ability of the platform to deliver services along with the charitable benefit. It identified a need to ask for expert support across the legal, tax, and accounting landscape.
Shoosmiths, alongside EY, answered the call and provided pro-bono advice on F4S on legal corporate issues and corporate, VAT and tax related matters respectively.
James Gare from MHA Monahan’s provided additional support advising the charity on accounting related matters.
The Shoosmiths team was led by corporate partner James Klein, alongside Senior Associate Bryn Jones and Associate Olivia King. IP Legal Director Mark Kramer and Charities Principal Associate Robert Nieri provided further specialist support.
James said: “The mission of F4S aligns well with Shoosmiths’ commitments to social mobility; in October 2020 the firm launched its Social Mobility Action Plan, in conjunction with the Social Mobility Pledge, which combines socio-economic research across the UK office network with localised recommendations.
"Shoosmiths provides key support to the technology sector nationally and supports a number of industry events and organisations including SVC2UK, Digital Boost, Global Tech Advocates, and Tech London Advocates. As part of our offering, it is important for Shoosmiths to advise those charities on a pro-bono basis which we believe are making a real difference by utilising and leveraging technology for the benefit of others."
The EY team was led by Partner Joanna Santinon, alongside Senior Manager Chris Williams and Managers Dan Ryan and Nik Wotton.
Joanna said: “EY has a long-standing relationship with the F4S charity. Their entrepreneurial approach and passion to support the next generation aligns strongly with our own commitment to support young people in their future careers through initiatives such as our Smart Futures programme, run by EY Foundation.
“Social mobility, innovation and the use of technology to assist entrepreneurs in what has been a challenging time for the global economy is a key priority for EY. Being able to support F4S in their most recent Digital Boost programme has been very rewarding and we’re looking forward to continuing to build our relationship with them, utilising the skills of the EY team to benefit those who need it most.”
Michaela Eschbach, Managing Director of Founders4Schools, said: "Both Shoosmiths and EY have provided fantastic support to Founders4Schools. The work carried out by both teams has been instrumental to the project. The teams have provided unrivalled levels of support and worked round the clock to ensure we were able to deliver on time. The support provided by MHA Monahans was invaluable in understanding how to translate everything into the accounts. I look forward to maintaining and extending the relationships in the future."