Columbia Threadneedle Foundation


We are acutely aware of the need to improve financial education and financial inclusion in communities throughout the UK. The Foundation supports a range of education programmes and initiatives, from grassroots school and community-based schemes to scholarships designed to improve access to higher education.

SEO Advance (Sponsors for Educational Opportunity)

Columbia Threadneedle Foundation is proud to support SEO London, a charity that prepares talented students from ethnic minority or low socioeconomic backgrounds for career success.

The Foundation supports SEO Advance, a programme that identifies, inspires and trains talented students in years 11-13, broadening their horizons through access to academic, professional and enrichment opportunities. The SEO Advance programme organises events and activities to inspire students, giving them the chance to explore options and make informed choices about their future. Activities include insight days and work experience placements; comprehensive skills sessions to develop commercial awareness and technical skills; bespoke open days at the UK’s top universities and mentoring from experienced SEO alumni and industry professionals.

Columbia Threadneedle Director and Foundation Trustee Nicolas Janvier said: “The team at SEO are doing great work at the grass roots level providing the needed exposures and helping students further develop the self-confidence, belief and skills necessary for future career success. I am proud to work for a firm that has decided to walk the walk on workplace diversity by partnering with SEO and investing in the development of diverse talent.”

Centre for Financial Capability

Columbia Threadneedle Foundation is a founding supporter of the newly founded Centre for Financial Capability, a charity whose mission is to provide an effective and high-quality financial education to every primary aged child in the UK.

Recent date from YouGov shows that almost a quarter (23%) of primary school children worry about money and 85% of children and young people believe that if you look after money, it makes you feel better.

To help children develop a positive relationship with money and build a secure financial future, the Centre for Financial Capability brings together stakeholders across the primary financial education space to effect change. It will foster innovative new delivery models and work with Government to maximise the provision of primary financial education for all. The charity’s mission is further reinforced by the 150 members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education for Young People calling for primary financial education for every child by 2030.
The Centre for Financial Capability is formed by the supporters of existing charity KickStart Money, a long-term charity partner of Columbia Threadneedle. KickStart Money is an award-winning coalition of savings and investment firms who have donated over £1 million to fund a financial education programme, delivered by MyBnk, to over 20,000 primary pupils across the UK.
Watch this video to find out more about the Centre of Financial Capability and to hear from Tammie Tang, Fixed Income Portfolio Manager at Columbia Threadneedle and a Columbia Threadneedle Foundation Trustee, who explains how we support programmes that have positive social impact.

Toynbee Hall’s Money Mentors programme

Money Mentors is a pioneering initiative that aims to improve participants’ financial confidence, increase their financial capability and reduce financial exclusion. In 2015, The Foundation committed to a three-year partnership to fund the expansion of Toynbee Hall’s Money Mentors programme to every London borough. The funding would enable Toynbee Hall to deliver 15 Community Money Mentors courses across London and implement the volunteer-led teaching and postgraduate mentoring programmes, staffed by Columbia Threadneedle volunteers.

Toynbee Hall, founded in 1884, is a community organisation that pioneers ways to reduce poverty and disadvantage and has been a catalyst for social reform in the UK for almost 130 years. It gives some of the country’s most deprived communities a voice, providing access to free advice and support services and working with them to tackle social injustice.

In the six months to March 2018 the Money Mentors programme delivered:

  • 2 ‘Teach it’ train-the-trainer courses, supporting 22 graduate Money Mentors to become Money Trainers
  • 9 courses by Money Trainers across 7 London Boroughs
  • 81 new Money Mentors recruited
  • 45 Money Mentors graduated (20 Money Mentors enrolled and will graduate next period)
  • 832 secondary beneficiaries supported by a Money Mentor

Of those impacted by the programme:

  • 91% were female
  • 41 is the average (mean) age
  • 69% live in social housing (council or housing association)
  • 58% have dependent children, 11% of which are single parent households
  • 47% are registered unemployed or unable to work
  • 61% receive welfare benefits
  • Only 19% are working full-time
  • Bangladeshi (23%), Black Caribbean (14%) and Black African (13%) make up the largest ethnic groups taking part.

“I started out as a Money Mentor at a point in mylife when my financial future had become unclear. I went from being employed full-time to being made redundant and losing my job. As a parent to two young children this was particularly worrying and the financial strain did eventually effect my health. On the Money Mentors course I learnt basic money management skills, budgeting, supermarket tricks, and how to do an income and expenditure calculation, which greatly improved my confidence and gave me the ability to better control not only my finances but my life too.

Since successfully completing the Money Mentors course I have gone on to do advice work with charities in my local community and achieved a qualification in Information, Advice or Guidance. Then this summer, Toynbee Hall gave me the opportunity to train to become a Money Mentor trainer myself. I recently started teaching my own class and I have ten learners all with different skills and abilities who are currently midway through their qualification. Toynbee Hall has given me an amazing chance; independence, confidence, resources and the ability to teach Money Mentors. I love the challenges and experience I am gaining as new Money Mentor Trainer.”

Jemimah (Money Mentor and Money Trainer), Tower Hamlets

National Numeracy Day

The Foundation became a supporter of the inaugural National Numeracy Day on 16 May 2018. The Day is an annual celebration of the importance of numbers in everyday life, bringing together individuals, employers, educators and influencers to improve numeracy. It is overseen by National Numeracy, an independent charity that helps raise low levels of numeracy among both adults and children and promotes the importance of everyday maths skills. National Numeracy aims to challenge negative attitudes, influence public policy and offer practical ways of helping adults and children improve their numeracy – in the community, the workplace and formal education.

Columbia Threadneedle Executives Undergraduate Scholarship

Since 2014 senior Columbia Threadneedle employees have been contributing to a scholarship to enable a student in need to undertake a degree at Cass Business School, City University London. The Columbia Threadneedle Executives Undergraduate Scholarship supports a student in financial need over a three-year period. The scholarship funds full tuition fees for the student for three years, and is funded by personal donations. Our first scholarship student graduated with a First Class Honours degree in 2017.

Latest Columbia Threadneedle Foundation News

8 July 2021

Supporting financial education in UK primary schools

Columbia Threadneedle Foundation is a founding supporter of a new charity, the ‘Centre for Financial Capability’. This charity will aim to provide effective and high-quality financial education to every primary aged child in the UK.
Read time - 2 min
17 June 2021

Take One Picture opens at the National Gallery

Columbia Threadneedle Foundation is pleased to support the ‘Take One Picture’ primary schools programme and exhibition at the National Gallery in London which runs throughout summer. Having supported the programme for four years, this year’s exhibition also marks the start of a new five-year commitment.
Read time - 1 min
18 December 2020

Charity partners innovate to respond in 2020

Our charity partners have re-imagined what they do to support vulnerable groups and individuals in 2020. Here we highlight just some of the creative solutions from our charity partners this year.
Read time - 8 min