Farewell from Foundation’s retiring Chair

After 3 years in the role of chair of the Hymans Robertson Foundation, and 26 years with Hymans Robertson LLP, Clive Fortes retired in March 2023. In this blog, Clive talks about his time with the Foundation and what challenges the Foundation will face in the future.

“I joined the Foundation Board of trustees in 2018, and when approached to be chair, in 2019, I was delighted to accept the opportunity to help bring a sharper focus to the mission and remit of the Foundation.

I would also say that one of the best and early decisions the Board made in recent years was to appoint a CEO, and we found the perfect person with Marcella Boyle. Marcella brings a wealth of experience in developing and delivering effective and inclusive strategic partnerships, and she is a passionate advocate for the communities that our partners support.

My main goal as chair was to focus on strategy, and supporting our charity partners in the areas where we and they could have the most impact. I felt we should have a stronger relationship with our partners, and in turn, they should have a strong relationship with each other. It was also important to recognise that our partners brought valuable skills they could share. To this end, we helped MyBnk set up in Scotland, and connect to our network of partners, recognising MyBnk’s expertise in creating and delivering innovative, high-impact and high-energy financial education programmes.

Among our best achievements has been the support we were able to offer our charity partners during the Covid pandemic. Because we are a small charity, with strong lines of communication with our partners, we were able to respond quickly to their concerns about young people having difficulty accessing services and be agile with extra funding requests. We then used what we had learned to create the Foundation Bursary which provides direct support to charities working with our most vulnerable communities and people, and has helped many young people with food, clothing, travel, and IT costs, and therefore helping them into training and employment.

Going forward, the Foundation’s main challenge will be dealing with the balance between demand and supply. The current cost of living crisis has shown us the increasing need in our most vulnerable communities, and we must manage our limited resources and focus our time and energy on those areas where we can be of most use.

I leave the Foundation in the safe hands of its CEO, trustees, and staff, and wish the new chair Gill Tait every success. My last piece of advice would be to always think about the impact we make, the very real difference we can make with every decision we take, and that for a relatively small organisation, we punch above our weight, and will easily meet our 10-year strategic goal to distribute £2million to vulnerable communities and young people by 2026.”