Mark Anderson set up the Anderson Foundation to ensure that money raised at charity functions made it to those who needed it most, and now spends almost all of his time overseeing the Foundation’s endeavours.
Mark initially arranged fundraising events for different charities each year which included the NSPCC, Variety Club Great Britain, Breast Cancer and Help for Heroes. Before long, however, the Foundation’s focus shifted to supporting the National Autistic Society.
Asked why the NAS in particular, Mark explained:
“Before agreeing to raise money for a charity, I’d visit their office to get a complete understanding of how they operate and whether the Anderson Foundation’s ethos would align with theirs.
“It was during a visit to the NAS that I met their staff, saw their motivation and got a real grasp of what life with autism is like for both children and their families.
“Since then we have forged a long relationship which has had a positive effect on the lives of those living with autism.”
Another strong relationship was also made between Mark and the Chief Executive of the NAS, Mark Lever. Mark was upfront that the Foundation’s charitable efforts had not always been optimised to reach those who really needed it and so any relationship with a charity would have to see the money being raised spent on those who the organisation seeks to help.
Because of this, Mark Anderson suggested he combined his construction and property development background to bring forward a new method of charitable support.
Using his links with local authorities in Essex, Mark obtained planning permission for a state-of-the-art 13-acre school and enterprise campus for young people with autism, situated in Chigwell, Essex.
The NAS Anderson School, which opened in September 2017, now goes further than ever to enrich the lives of young people living with autism. It gives them an education in life beyond the national curriculum which is completely bespoke to each pupil.
Mark’s lifetime desire has been to help people less fortunate and to make a real difference in the community.
When asked where he sees the future of the Foundation, Mark says:
“Over the years we have built up such an amazing, loyal and generous group of supporters. My aim is to continue to use this to assist our chosen charity by providing them with support which is bespoke to their needs and thus optimising all future monies raised going forward.”
“The relationship the National Autistic Society has with the Anderson Foundation is incredibly important to us. The new NAS Anderson School in Chigwell will enable us to provide life-changing education and employment opportunities to autistic children and young people.”
Mark Lever, Chief Executive, National Autistic Society