Twelve years ago we started the charity in the UK with the initial aim of supporting scientific and community research to help the most vulnerable children have the best start in life and the greatest opportunity to realise their potential. Today we are global.
Sarah Brown founded the charity in 2002 as PiggyBankKids, and we set out then to support inspiring professionals to continue their inspirational in saving and transforming children’s lives. We believed then, and still do, that when good health and education professionals work together great ideas will emerge to improve skills, services and outcomes. We have supported many such ideas with exploratory first grants, so that their potential can be explored.
Our first project back in 2002 has grown to become our flagship health initiative. We created the Jennifer Brown Research Fund to invest in the best medical research for safe pregnancy and premature birth, and to explore how community projects could also help support vulnerable pregnant mothers and their babies and children.
The Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory established at the University of Edinburgh started with a small team of brilliant young scientists, overseen by a dedicated team of clinical experts from the New Royal Infirmary Edinburgh. The Laboratory team found early success with academic publication and awards to recognise their work. We continue to support the Laboratory as one of our flagship projects and it goes from strength to strength. You can visit the Laboratory web page here.
We have also met with some great successes in our Small Grants programme ranging from Granny School (the refresher course for first time grandparents) to Learning Care Pathways for Disabled and Vulnerable Mums to Playaway Bus (a mobile centre for health visitors to talk to mums whilst kids play on board).
Our fundraising is supported by a network of individuals across Britain, often moved by their own personal experience. Our volunteers have taken part in fun runs and more arduous challenges, and each year we participate in the Edinburgh Marathon, the Great North Run and now the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 cycling sportive.
We also hosted some memorable fundraising events including football tournaments at Hampden Park Stadium and Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge. We held a wonderful dinner at Chequers hosted by supermodel and business woman, Elle Macpherson, where we auctioned a number of piggybanks decorated for us by such luminaries as JK Rowling, President Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama and the much loved children’s illustrator Quentin Blake.
We celebrated our 10th anniversary with a rooftop festival at Shoreditch House, London, hosted by Sarah Brown, Jim O’Neill, Kim Cattrall and Soho House’s own Nick Jones. Entertainment came from the elegant Ballet Black, Aquabatix in the open air pool and a new one-off play written and performed by Caitlin Moran and Stephen Mangan.
We hold an annual fundraising Quiz Night hosted by the law firm Reed Smith each year over the years have been blessed with some hilarious hosts, Clive Anderson, Jon Culshaw (twice!), Katy Brand, David Baddiel, Rob Brydon and next up is Ronni Ancona.
Before we retired the Piggybank theme we hosted a children’s decorate a piggybank competition with children’s newspaper First News, judged by Editor Nicky Cox, children’s charity campaigner Callum Fairhurst and actors Arabella Weir, David Tennant and James Corden.