The funds sector in the Cayman Islands is a big supporter of Hedge Funds Care, an international charity supported largely by the hedge fund industry. Geoff Ruddick, one of the charity’s Cayman representatives, explains more about the charity’s work.
The sole mission of Hedge Funds Care (HFC) is to support efforts to prevent and treat child abuse. HFC has two specific goals: to raise as much money as possible to fund the groups that address child abuse and to showcase the philanthropy of the hedge fund and finance industry.
HFC raises money and awards grants in 12 major cities in the US, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Ireland and the UK with approximately 35 to 40 fundraising events held annually. HFC’s grantees provide services to children of all ages and span the entire spectrum from preventive and educational services for at-risk families to forensic interviews and treatment of children who have already experienced physical and/or sexual abuse. HFC generally funds smaller, community-based organisations, where private grants have a profound impact.
Since inception, HFC globally has awarded more than 1,000 grants totalling more than $37 million. HFC maintains very low administration costs: more than 90 percent of money raised goes to funding child abuse programmes. HFC is largely a volunteer-driven organisation, with professionals from the hedge fund industry serving on the board and on local committees that plan events and evaluate grant proposals. The organisation has a staff of seven based in New York City.
The HFC Cayman affiliate was founded in 2005 and has awarded 47 grants worth more than $1.8 million to local organisations since then. Following November 2013’s Great Gatsby-themed event, preliminary estimates indicate that an additional $250,000 will be available for distribution to this year’s grantees.
2013 grantees included:
- Cayman Islands Crisis Centre—Children and Youth Programme;
- Cayman Islands Red Cross—Protection Starts Here campaign;
- Department of Counselling Services—Family Resource Centre Administrative and Programme Support;
- National Council of Voluntary Organisations—Nadine Andreas Residential Foster Home;
- Ministry of Education, Employment & Gender Affairs—Better Futures project: school-based interventions for children at risk of child abuse;
- Department of Children & Family Services/Royal Cayman Islands Police Service—Central Referral Unit; and
- Health Services Authority—Child Sexual Abuse Intervention and Treatment programme.
As a result of this funding HFC Cayman has made much progress through the organisations it supports to improve reporting of child abuse and services for victims. However, there is still much more work to be done to ensure the children of Cayman are protected from abuse.
Child abuse occurs across every class, race and creed. Unlike every other childhood cause, child abuse lacks a natural parental constituency to provide advocacy and funding and that is where HFC Cayman meets the need.
Child abuse facts
- The Caribbean has the earliest age of sexual ‘debut’ in the world with many young people being initiated into sexual behaviour as a consequence of child abuse as early as 10 years old.
- Research suggests that boys and girls, especially those living in poverty, are increasingly using sex as a source of economic exchange (exchanging sex for money or material goods), and young girls especially are at risk of being solicited for child prostitution.
- The numbers of people who have experienced behaviour that could be described as child sexual abuse can be estimated at between 20 and 45 percent.
- In the Caribbean, almost 50 percent of young women who are sexually active have reported that their first sexual intercourse was forced.
- 12 to 15-year-olds are now the main target of predatory men, who harass and abuse them, often sexually.
Making a difference
HFC grant-making is effective. There is a rigorous evaluation and due diligence process for potential grantees. In every branch and affiliate, HFC hires an academic consultant who is a child welfare expert in that area. The academic consultant trains the grant selection committee, made up of staff and volunteers, and carefully vets every grantee to ensure that they are targeting child abuse and neglect in the most effective way. Grantees provide detailed periodic reports on how funds are used and each organisation receives an annual evaluative site visit.
"The Cayman Committee of Hearts and Grant Committee are made up of senior executives and professionals from a wide range of organisations within the Cayman hedge funds community."
The Cayman Committee of Hearts and Grant Committee are made up of senior executives and professionals from a wide range of organisations within the Cayman hedge funds community including Admiral Administration, Appleby, Deloitte, dms Management Ltd, Ernst & Young Ltd, Harbour, Highwater, International Management Services Ltd, KPMG, Maples, Mourant, Ogier, PricewaterhouseCoopers, UBS Fund Services and Walkers.
This year is the 10th anniversary of HFC Cayman and the local Committee of Hearts is already busy planning the annual gala event which will be held in November 2014. The Cayman hedge funds community should be commended for its continued support of HFC which in turn helps ensure essential local initiatives continue to be funded to prevent and treat child abuse.
For further information on HFC contact Dr Kathryn Conroy, executive director & CEO of HFC globally, or Geoff Ruddick, chairman of HFC Cayman.
Dr Kathryn Conroy can be contacted at: Conroy@HFC.org
Geoff Ruddick can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hedge Funds Care, Geoff Ruddick, Charity, Dr Kathryn Conroy