As the Matthew Good Foundation passes a major milestone of £1million given to non-profits since it was founded by John Good Group in 2011, employees at the John Good Group have voted for two Yorkshire-based charities – Clean Planet and HER Breast Friends – to receive surprise donations of £5,000 each.
Left to right: Michelle Taft (Matthew Good Foundation), Adam Walsh (John Good Group CEO), Pam Trays (HER Breast Friends Chairman), Tracy Keenan-Smith (DAN Shipping), Jayne Beck (HER Breast Friends).
In the first year of the Matthew Good Foundation’s launch in 2011, it gave away a modest £2,111 through its first employee giving programme, but as donations from the Foundation’s biggest funder, the John Good Group and other donors have grown at pace, so has the Foundation’s goals and activities.
Today, the Foundation offers a complete range of grant-making and support programmes designed to amplify the voices of small and local non-profits, whilst empowering businesses and their employees to get involved in philanthropic activity.
Each year, the Foundation now facilitates grants and support for hundreds of non-profits, with close to £300,000 granted in 2023.
As the Foundation hits the milestone of giving £1million to good causes since their launch, they are putting the charities and non-profits they support at the heart of their celebrations. In December 2023, the Foundation entered a shortlist of its recent beneficiaries into an employee vote at the John Good Group. The winners, receiving £5,000 each, were picked from two categories important to the John Good Group’s philosophy: People and Planet.
Planet Category winner: Clean Planet, North Yorkshire
The winner in the Planet category was Clean Planet, a charity set up by hobbyist diver, Stephen Smith, who lives near the mouth of the River Tees at the top of North Yorkshire. Horrified by the amount of lost and abandoned fishing gear, termed “ghost gear,” which he discovered when diving around the coastline, he decided to take the problem literally into his own hands, removing and recycling the gear himself piece by piece.
In the year that has passed since Clean Planet won the employee vote in John Good Group’s Grants for Good fund and received a £3,500 grant, Stephen has managed to attract further funding to buy a dedicated boat and take a trained team further out to sea, saving marine life from the risks ghost gear poses and even directly rescuing marine life caught in the gear.
“I’m quite speechless, I wasn’t expecting that! Thank you for the donation, it will help us so much. We do rely on the kindness of Foundations and things like that to keep us going, because we make no money whatsoever on this. Every penny that we raise goes into trying to remove this hazard from me the beaches and sea.”
Stephen Smith, Founder – Clean Planet
People Category winner: HER Breast Friends, Hull & East Yorkshire
The winner in the People category was HER Breast Friends – a small Hull and East Yorkshire-based charity supporting local people affected by breast cancer, offering practical help with advice, a wig bank and a bra bank, and emotional help with wellbeing days and group support from local peers.
HER Breast Friends has been supported for a number of years by DAN Shipping (a subsidiary of the John Good Group) employee Tracy Keenan-Smith through their employee giving programme, which allows individuals to direct significant amounts of charitable funding to charities that are close to their hearts. In recent years, HER Breast Friends have regularly received £2000 – £4000 annually through the programme.
Tracy, along with Michelle Taft, Executive Director of the Matthew Good Foundation and Adam Walsh, CEO of the John Good Group paid the team at HER Breast Friends a visit, where they surprised them with the good news.
“Thank you for this amazing donation! We are planning to move into our new, bigger premises next year and this will go towards helping us make them even better, providing more wellbeing services for people affected by breast cancer. Our new premises will allow us to deliver all of our current activities and services in a new dedicated space, including more rooms for our Buddleia Therapies and also for counselling sessions. We’re so grateful to Tracy for nominating us and to all the John Good Group employees who voted for us to receive this donation. Thank you so much!”
Pam Trays, Chairman – HER Breast Friends
More than half of the £1million granted since 2011 by the Matthew Good Foundation was granted in the last three years, as growth in funding has accelerated. The increase in funds has been mainly attributable to a significant increase in funding from the John Good Group, who last year won the award for Best Social Impact at the Yorkshire and Humberside Family Business Awards.
“£1million of donations have gone to amazing and heartwarming causes up and down the country and beyond. I’m delighted for all the present and former John Good Group colleagues who have played their part in this achievement, as it is them that direct much of the giving, facilitated by the Matthew Good Foundation.
“This celebration represents so much more than a number; it’s a symbol of the positive change we can create for our communities and the environment when we put our collective minds to it. With the momentum provided by the Matthew Good Foundation, I’m confident that it will not be long until we are celebrating the £2million milestone!”
Adam Walsh, CEO – John Good Group
With the generous support secured from the John Good Group, the Mathew Good Foundation has been able to put in place a strategic plan with the goal of upscaling its ambitions to improve conditions for organisations of all kinds across the small non-profit sector.
“In the current climate, the small but high-impact charities and non-profits like the ones we have supported with these surprise donations are vulnerable. They need our help more than ever to close the funding gap that exists between them and much larger charities. Many businesses now understand this, and the Matthew Good Foundation hopes to help more businesses develop highly impactful community programmes like that of the John Good Group.”
Michelle Taft, Executive Director – Matthew Good Foundation