Being ready to offer a rapid response takes time and an open mindset. It is precisely because Mark Davies has an established relationship with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust Charity that he was able to pick up the phone and ask what they needed as soon as the COVID-19 crisis hit in the UK.
One-week into the crisis and the hospital had already arranged three distribution centres to provide wellness packs for frontline NHS staff. What they lacked were marquees to house the operations. Mark was able to provide the money needed immediately to plug this gap.
Another organisation, North West Ambulance Service, were in need of personal protective equipment for their volunteers. Once again, Mark was able to fund this need and keep the teams safe and operational.
For Mark, philanthropy is about developing relationships with the organisations he supports, so they can turn to him in times of need. Those relationships are forged over time and through open dialogue.
“Our relationships with organisations are usually focused on specific projects which helps to build strong partnerships, we are able to pick up the phone to each other whenever we want,” he says.
“It is the underpinning trust that allows us to be dynamic and responsive,” he explains. “It has taken years to create this trust; it does not happen overnight”.
Together with his wife, Mark runs his family foundation, which is funded by his property company. The foundation is run along the same lines as the business, with plans and budgets to provide long-term support to organisations, usually on a three-year cycle with the goal of making them operationally relevant and sustainable.
His focus is on the North-West, and Manchester in particular where he was born and still lives. He supports local charities delivering services to local communities.
In addition to funding, Mark engages with the leaders of these organisations and is keen to be a part of debate on new ideas and ways of working. He also encourages other charitable organisations to collaborate as on certain issues it is important to build partnerships.
Mark rarely talks about his giving, but sees it as an integral part of his life.
“If you can, you should,” he says.
It was this commitment to giving that enabled him to provide emergency support exactly when and where it was needed most.