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What is OVO Foundation?

OVO Foundation is our charity. It exists to make a difference in 3 important areas: education, youth poverty, and access to energy.

We set up OVO Foundation in 2014 to expand OVO Energy’s charitable giving and bring caring closer to home.  

It’s a big world – and there are many brilliant projects and partners out there – so we are focusing on 3 key areas that really resonate with everyone at OVO. The plan is to tackle issues that are right on our doorstep as well as bigger global concerns, concentrating on projects that focus on education, youth poverty and access to energy. 

Want more detail? Let’s take a closer look at OVO Foundation’s key focus areas:


Education

OVO Foundation is keen to support local projects that open pathways for children from underprivileged or underrepresented backgrounds, and help them discover their true talent and unlock their potential. By providing young people with the confidence, skills and knowledge, we hope to inspire them to become great leaders. 

OVO Foundation looks for charity partners that support young people and, know that education, support and mentoring at a critical time in a young person’s life can help turn things around before they reach crisis point. The team at OVO also runs monthly coding clubs at our offices and mentors in primary and secondary schools to help children reach their full potential.


Youth poverty

OVO Foundation supports charities who’re developing innovative ways to lift young people out of poverty and help those who’ve experienced homelessness find their feet. For us, it’s about turning poverty into potential, giving a leg up, a confidence boost and the skills to eventually live and work independently. 

Homelessness is all too often born out of youth poverty – and there are many stages where positive intervention can help stop a young person from ending up on the streets. As well as funding partners who’re focused on reducing homelessness and youth poverty, we've launched our own pioneering project called Future Builders. It's a radical new approach to youth homelessness where we support young people to renovate derelict Council houses they will actually live in while giving them the training and support they need to gain an apprenticeship or full-time work.


Access to energy

OVO Foundation views energy as one of life’s essentials and is passionate about supporting projects that provide people with access to reliable, renewable and sustainable energy. Last year, OVO Foundation successfully funded a Cool Earth project to introduce energy efficient stoves to communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which resulted in 50 per cent reduction in firewood use.

This year OVO Foundation has partnered with Energy 4 Impact, a non-profit organisation working to extend access to energy in Africa, to launch a pioneering new project to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in schools and health clinics in Kenya. The  groundbreaking new project works in two of the least developed counties in Kenya, Turkana and Kilifi, to install at least twenty solar PV systems in schools and health clinics that currently lack adequate electricity supply. The selected institutions in these two counties are among the least likely to be connected to the grid, and therefore decentralised off grid projects are the solution to introducing local people to electricity supplies.

 

Is OVO Foundation a registered charity?

Yes. The OVO Charitable Foundation (“OVO Foundation”) is a registered charity – its charity registration number is 1155954. Though our Foundation is an extension of our beliefs and values, it is independent and regulated by the Charity Commission. Find out more about what it means to be a registered charity on the Charity Commission website.

 

How is OVO Foundation funded?

When OVO customers make a monthly donation, we match that amount - doubling our power to make positive changes. We also cover all administration and staff costs, so 100% of the donations go straight to our amazing projects.


More than just money 

Our aim is to do more than tick a CSR box by donating to charity. We share ideas and expertise, multiplying the impact we can make. Head of OVO Foundation and CSR, Gaby Sethi explains: 

“Our approach to providing grants is different to many other charitable foundations. We're innately curious, so we want to understand the root causes of the problem before we decide what or where we should fund. This approach means that we research important issues so we can work out where the funding gaps are and identify projects where we can have the biggest positive impact.”


Doubling every donation

If you’re an OVO customer, OVO Foundation is a great way to give to charity – because OVO Energy will match every penny you choose to donate. 

How to donate 

When you switch to OVO or renew your contract, we’ll ask if you’d like to make a donation. You can also start donating anytime during your contract or change your donation amount in My OVO


Every penny donated is spent on projects 

OVO Energy covers all of OVO Foundation’s running costs. That means that 100% of every donation is spent on making a difference – so as well as doubling your donation power, you can be certain that your money is working hard to deliver positive outcomes. 

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Which charities does OVO Foundation support?

OVO Foundation supports 4 local good causes, and partners with a diverse range of charities on a project-by-project basis.

If you’ve been with OVO for a while, you might know that we’ve supported rainforest preservation charity Cool Earth since 2010. Working together, OVO Energy and Cool Earth have protected a huge 100,000 acres of rainforest – you can see what else we’ve achieved in the ‘OVO and Cool Earth - a 5 year roundup’ blog.

However, as OVO has grown, so have our charitable ambitions.
 

How does OVO Foundation choose projects to support? 

With so many brilliant projects and partners out there, it can be hard to choose who to help first. To help us focus, we’ve identified 3 key areas that really resonate with everyone at OVO Energy: education, youth poverty, access to energy. 

To narrow things down further, we then research key issues in each area, as OVO Foundation Manager Gaby Sethi explains: 

"Our approach to providing grants is different to many other charitable foundations. We're innately curious, so we want to understand the root causes of the problem before we decide what or where we should fund. This approach means that we research important issues so we can work out where the funding gaps are and identify projects where we can have the biggest impact on people's lives."
   
Following the 2015 publication of a research we commissioned into youth homelessness in the UK, we developed our own programme called Future Builders - a radical new approach to youth homelessness, supporting young people to renovate derelict council houses they will actually live in while giving them the training and support they need to gain an apprenticeship or full-time work.

We also recently partnered with  Energy 4 Impact, a non-profit organisation working to extend access to energy in Africa, to launch a pioneering new project to install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in schools and health clinics in Kenya. 


OVO Gives Back charities

As well as project-by-project partnerships, OVO Foundation also funds and runs an annual programme called OVO Gives Back. It’s powered by OVO Energy’s employees. Each year, they nominate and vote for four local charities to support through volunteering and with grants from OVO Foundation’s £100,000 ‘Community Chest’.

In 2017/2018, we’re supporting: 

 

Avon Wildlife Trust

The Avon Wildlife Trust aims to protect and promote wildlife in the area of the former county of Avon – now Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. 

 

Young Bristol

Young Bristol helps 8-25 year olds achieve great futures as productive members of society through community youth clubs, educational and life-skill programmes, and outdoor activity centres.  
 

Windmill Hill City Farm

Windmill Hill City Farm is a green oasis in south Bristol, with animals, a garden, cafe, play area and community bike shop. It provides recreation, education and therapy using food, farming and the environment. 
 

Centrepoint

 

Centrepoint in London finds young people a safe place to live, provides health assessments and plans support for their individual mental and physical health needs – helping them on their way towards independence.

Discover why these very worthy charties were nominated and what projects are planned in this blog

 

How do I donate to OVO Foundation?

When you switch to OVO or renew your contract, we’ll ask if you’d like to make a donation. You can also opt to donate in the middle of a contract.

You can sign up at any time. You can opt in when you first join OVO, or once you're on board, you can start donating via My OVO. You'll also see a reminder when you renew your contract - where you can opt-in, or if you're already donating, change the amount you give - OVO will match it, penny for penny.
 

How to donate to OVO Foundation if you haven’t joined OVO yet

At the moment, we’re only set up to accept donations from OVO customers, so is it time to consider switching? As well as the opportunity to get involved in OVO Foundation, you’ll get great value energy and a simpler energy life. See if you’ll save on the quote and switch page.