The Phoenix Masters’ Association – Purpose?

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David Pearson IPM Marketor 18.9.17

The Phoenix Masters Association (Lord Mountevans’ year) was formed as all Past Masters Associations are for the purpose of maintaining social interaction.

But a number of us, and I’m always very suspicious when people start that way, because the number could be “one”,  but in this case is at least ten and probably more, wondered whether our Association could have more purpose than just being a social club for retired Masters.

A sub-committee of five members was formed,  Mark Chambers, Pewterers;  Tim Haywood, Mercers; Bill Mahoney, Plaisterers; Liz Green, Framework Knitters;  and myself as Chairman, and after considering a number of ideas decided to focus first on supporting the prospective Lord Mayor Charles Bowman in his charitable efforts. Charles was Aldermanic Sheriff in our year and acts as our Vice President. It should be made clear that we do not intend to ask our members to help raise charitable funds as we all do that already through our own Companies and in innumerable other ways and all of us would have dug deep in our own pockets in our year as Master.

However, we can offer more in terms of pro bono efforts, using our collective skills and experience as well as our extensive networks.

Charles has received our offer of support with great enthusiasm and wants us to see how we could strengthen the City Giving Day as well as support his chosen Charity, the Samaritans, in its efforts to introduce a new mental health programme for the Financial Services and Related Industries. We have met with Caroline Wright of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal office and with Nikki Bayliss of the Samaritans, and we will continue to develop our ideas with them. We are also entering a float in the Lord Mayor’s Procession jointly with the Samaritans and the Cook and the Butler, thanks to the efforts of PM Joiner & Ceiler, Mark Snelling.

At the same time the Lord Mayor’s Office is for the first time setting a programme of supporting the Lord Mayor’s charities over a three year rolling period. The Samaritans is a particularly interesting choice as it was started in St Stephen’s Walbrook, the Lord Mayor’s church, and the initial funding came from the Grocers, Charles’ mother Company.

Based on discussions with members of recent Past Masters Associations we think we are probably breaking new ground with this initiative. It is worth mentioning that at the same time there is an initiative led by the Mercers and others to develop Pan-Livery activities. We are in touch with that committee to ensure that our activities are complementary to theirs and do not cut across them. It may just be that a zeitgeist has appeared to encourage cross livery cooperation beyond dinners and trips.

What is City Giving Day?

Launched in 2014, City Giving Day (CGD) is an annual event that unites the City of London through its charity and community partnerships. It gives businesses and other organisations around the Square Mile and beyond the opportunity to promote and celebrate the good work that they do.

Companies involved in CGD use their foyers, receptions, restaurants and meeting rooms to showcase their charitable and community work, letting their staff and visitors know about the difference they are making and the lives they are changing.

In 2016, 211 organisations, both large and small, took part in CGD with activities ranging from table tennis competitions and bake sales to mentoring events and static cycle rides from London to Paris. This year that number will undoubtedly grow but not perhaps as much as the organisers would like.

With more and more organisations taking part each year, CGD is set to become a key date in the City’s calendar.

How could the PMA get involved?

Through our personal contacts we could seek to boost the number of participating organisations.   I have the list of participating companies and if you know of a company that has an active charitable programme but is not on the list let me know and I will contact the Lord Mayor’s Appeal staff to find out what contacts they have had. We can then discuss a strategy to seek to bring them on board.

It is simple to take part.

It makes an impact.

It is good for business, employees and our communities.

“City Giving Day has a tremendous track record mobilising the City to give back to the communities in which we operate and society at large.” Xavier Rolet, Group CEO, London Stock Exchange Group.

“City Giving Day is just what the City has been waiting for.” Matt Sparkes, Head of Corporate Responsibility, Linklaters LLP.

The prospective Lord Mayor, Charles Bowman has the vision that one day City Giving Day could be the equivalent of Red Nose Day or Comic Relief and not just showcase the City of London but all the major centres of business and correct the impression that the City is just a bunch of greedy bankers.

Last year the Fishmongers and the International Bankers were involved. Why don’t we all plan to involve our Companies next year?  Those with a Hall could throw it open to the public to demonstrate their philanthropy. Perhaps they might also host the rest of us homeless Companies to do the same.

There is also a Long Long Lunch served by three restaurants in St Swithins’ Lane. Let’s get a group together to attend that next year and show our collective support. In fact if you’re interested this year Liz Green and I are going and if you’d like to join us come and see me afterwards. The date this year is 26th September and next year the 25th September.

The other day I attended the City Giving Day Countdown Breakfast at Mansion House. I told the current Lord Mayor Andrew Parmley of our ideas. He said, “If you crack that you’ll find a lot of PMAs interested as many of them attend their social functions and then ask ‘Is that it?‘ ”