‘The 10 year anniversary of the Quintessentially Foundation and the success of raising £11 million for charity has dominated our year and spurred us on to make our events bigger and better than ever,’ says Ben Elliot, co-founder of Quintessentially, the luxury lifestyle group and global concierge service set up in 2000.
Founded in 2008, the Quintessentially Foundation, chaired by Elliot, is the philanthropic arm of the business, working across the whole membership demographic, primarily HNW, international individuals with a strong connection to philanthropy. ‘Since we began work our members have wholeheartedly got behind our endeavours,’ he says. ‘Philanthropy is an important part of our culture, but also of our member’s requirements.’
The Foundation has worked with a very broad range of charities, partnering with more than 45 organisations over the past ten years, with the aim of improving education, health and welfare within disadvantaged communities. ‘We are always open to see where we can be of the biggest help to a charity partner,’ says Elliot. As a result, Quintessentially are able to curate one-of-a-kind fundraising events and also work on the ground, with both members and staff volunteering regularly.
‘We are always focussing on new ways in which to engage our supporters, be it through the events we run or by engagement to a particular charity,’ says Elliot. ‘We need to hit on the right of concepts –where people are engaged and grow with that project. It is up to us to find those projects and jet fuel them to the next level.’
Recent fundraising events to support charity partner The Felix Project, include team members taking part in the London Marathon, volunteering at the depot, a 10th Anniversary bike ride, Daylesford Dash and the upcoming annual Fayre of St. James’s. The Felix Project was set up to address the mismatch between the huge excess supply of good, quality food and the need for it by those living on the margins of our prosperous country, Elliot explains. ‘There’s more than enough good food to go around. Felix’s mission is to get it to the right people and our foundation has raised over £600,000 to help them do just that. I’m working closely with Justin Byam Shaw, the charity’s founder to lobby the government to take steps to address this crisis. We hope to instigate measures to divert at least 100,000 tonnes of additional surplus food to those in need.’
A rickshaw rally through India last November made up of ‘85 intrepid racers paraded a fleet of Quintessentially Indian vehicles 500km across Rajasthan to 101 brightly painted elephant sculptures, all in aid of raising £1.5 million for our partner charity: Elephant Family,’ Elliot recalls. Another was a 500km cycle from Innsbruck in Austria to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia – taking on the highest mountain in Austria and raising a total of £430,000.
An important mentor in Elliot’s life was his uncle the conservationist Mark Shand, who founded the charity Elephant Family, which Quintessentially supports today. ‘When Mark said he would do something or asked you to follow him, you did it. He was an inspiration.’