Top businessman Graham Wylie has launched a pioneering children's charity which plans to raise millions for deserving causes in the region.
Mr Wylie, the founder of Sage, has launched a new charitable foundation, The Graham Wylie Foundation, with a pledge that 100% of all donations will go to charity causes across the North East.
The foundation is one of a rare few charities anywhere in the world to hand 100% of donations to deserving causes. This is because Graham will be meeting all running, staff and administration costs to ensure every penny raised and donated goes to his aim of helping, inspiring and educating children across the region.
The charity will be inviting grant applications from groups, organisations and charities from across the whole of the North East for projects which will benefit underprivileged or vulnerable youngsters for years to come. Projects and causes to be funded could include medical equipment, new buildings, support workers, sporting and youth groups.
Graham said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to announce the launch of the new foundation.
"I have been quite lucky in my life both personally and in business, and have always been a charitable person, helping out the Children’s Heart Unit Foundation (CHUF) in Newcastle and other charities .
"I wanted to give something back and create a legacy for myself and help children and young people in the North East to get the opportunities that I have had.
"I want to help, educate and inspire children in the North East. My young daughter is a heart patient and has had open heart surgery three times, so going through that particular episode has really inspired me to take up the foundation."
Seven years ago, one of Graham’s twin girls with his wife Andrea, from Jarrow, needed open heart surgery as soon as she was born. Kiera is now a happy, healthy little girl.
To thank the medical staff who saved his daughter’s life, Graham became patron of the CHUF, bringing on board Ant and Dec, and Alan Shearer, and carrying out extensive fundraising activities.
Now, Graham, who has fought testicular cancer, will further step up his efforts to give back to the North East community, by helping to provide assets and services which will improve the lives of vulnerable children and young people across the region.
Mr Wylie said he is going to personally cover all the costs of running the charity, but could not say how much it will be worth, saying there is no 'number or limit' on grants and costs. Although he did say in the first two months of setting up the foundation it has cost him several hundred thousand pounds.
He added: “While I’ve been heavily involved in the past in raising money for, and donating to, charities across the region, the aim of the Graham Wylie Foundation is to create a new way of giving, which will benefit children in our region for generation after generation after generation.
“We’ll be giving grants to fund equipment, buildings, staff and assets, which will benefit groups of children or young people and which will continue to do so well into the future.”
Graham is well known across the region as the founder of Sage and the Technology Services Group (TSG). He is also the owner of the Close House golf resort in Northumberland and owns a string of racehorses.
Graham added: “I was brought up in the North East. It’s where I set up business, it’s where I live and it’s where I’m bringing up my own children, so it’s incredibly important to me to launch this Foundation, enabling me to give back to the region in a very significant way.”
The Foundation is already receiving high profile backing. Footballing legend Alan Shearer said: “I wish the Graham Wylie Foundation the best of luck on their launch. To help, educate and inspire the underprivileged and vulnerable children and young people of the North East is a cause I would be proud to support.”
To be one of the first to support the Graham Wylie Foundation, text INSPIRE to 70300 to donate £3.
To request a grant from the foundation visit: http://grahamwyliefoundation.org.uk/