The GT Scholars Programme has a very clear mission – to help young people achieve their full potential. When we started GT Scholars, we knewstraight away that a social enterprise model would be exactly what we needed to help us achieve this mission.
Scroll down to find out why!
What’s wrong with the typical charity model?
Most education charities are funded by a combination of grants and fees charged to schools. Unfortunately due to limited funding, most charities are only able to provide support to pupils that go to the right school, live in the right neighbourhood, have the right income or have the right grades. This means that a young person on Free School Meals that doesn’t go to the right school or doesn’t have the right grades will not be able to gain support from a typical education charity.
A fairer charity = equal access + equal opportunity
Limited funding means that most education charities have to make tough decisions about who to spend their resources on. For example a child from a single parent home with a total household income of £17,000 would typically not qualify for support as he or she has a household income that would be seen as too high ie. above the Free School Meals threshold.
All funding is used to provide free places to young people from low income homes
GT Scholars operates a not-for-profit social enterprise model which means that you don’t have to go to the right school, live in the right neighbourhood, have the right grades or have the right household income to qualify for support. We run low cost programmes and use all the additional income to run tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programmes entirely free for young people from the lowest income homes.
1. We can’t expect funding to last forever
Social enterprises are organisations that aim to make a profit and use their profits to make a difference. We still apply for grants but we try not to rely on them. Many charities are changing their model to become social enterprises because they’ve found that grant funding and donations are not reliable. It’s not realistic to expect grants and donations to support organisations until the end of time.
2. We want to be grant givers not takers
We want to be a sustainable social enterprise that contributes positively to society and the economy and we hope that our young people can share these values.We are extremely grateful for all grants and donations that are given to us but our long term goal is to become more profitable so that we can start using our profits to support our scholar alumni as they move on to make a difference in the world.
3. We can’t reduce inequality by creating inequality
If we genuinely want to narrow the attainment gap, we need to move away from the tradition of running programmes for wealthier pupils and separate programmes for disadvantaged pupils. We believe that is actually causing greater inquality. We believe that it’s essential to create opportunities where young people from different groups can meet each other, learn from each other and support each other in achieving similar goals and overcoming similar challenges.
4. We view benefactors and beneficiaries as equals
We rarely use the words benefactors and beneficiaries. In fact, this is the only place where you’ll find these words on our website! We view our scholars, staff, volunteers, donors and sponsors as leaders, influencers and change-makers. If we are to truly embrace the idea of social equity, then we need to empower all our scholars and move away from the perception of a group of wealthy benefactors and the perception of a group of poor, needy, disadvantaged beneficiaries.
5. We know that many ambitious young people are losing out on the support they need
There are too many programmes that will only provide additional support to ‘gifted & talented’, ‘failing’ or ‘disadvantaged’ pupils. The problem with this is that a large number of hardworking ambitious children that would like to improve their prospects in life end up losing out on the support they need because they don’t quite fit the criteria. We aim to make our events and our after-school programmes accessible to all young people. We’ll never reject a scholar because he or she is not talented enough or not failing enough!
Ready to make a difference?
We’re always looking for volunteers to support us through tutoring or one-off volunteer days. We’re also looking to connect with education charities and corporate sponsors. There are so many ways to get involved!