David Stothard, managing director, explains the role of the MAPS Benevolent Trust in light of its membership to the Association of Charitable Foundations.

It is easy to assume that all companies are alike. Although MAPS Medical is a privately owned limited company, it is owned by a trust with the purpose of distributing profits to charitable and other good causes in line with the terms of the trust deed.

For MAPS Medical, the advantage of this is that the company is not run for short-term individual shareholder profit-driven results, but to deliver a long-term sustainable return for those good causes. The trustees see the importance of re-investment in MAPS Medical to ensure that it can continue to deliver a high-quality service at a reasonable cost.

The MAPS Benevolent Trust has an established grant programme through which it distributes grant awards to charitable organisations. Each year, the trust considers the theme of its grant programme for that year and the funds available for distribution.

Support for victims of asbestos-related disease

The work MAPS Medical does with expert doctors and lawyers brings us into regular contact with people who have developed an asbestos-related disease. We see first-hand the devastating impact it can have on victims’ lives and for their families. As former solicitors who specialised in claims for occupational disease, injury and clinical negligence, both the trustees and directors are aware of the tremendous work done to help those in need by specialist support groups, and so the programme theme over recent years has been asbestos disease, particularly supporting the valuable work of asbestos support groups.

The trust has been able to give direct financial support to ten different asbestos support groups across England, Scotland and Wales. Beyond that, the trust has also supported the direct work of mesothelioma clinical nurse specialists, firstly in the Midlands and now in Wales, through Mesothelioma UK. The trust has also contributed to funding ongoing research in this area through a donation to the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.

Solidarity with the trade union movement

From their background and work, the trustees recognise the significance of the contribution of working people in the development of the law, particularly on health and safety and equality, through organised labour in the trade union movement and through political representation. The trustees have been long-term supporters of the People’s History Museum in its work to preserve and highlight the role of the labour movement in fighting for ideals such as equality, social justice, co-operation and a fair world for all.

Staff recommendations

The work that the trust does is something that MAPS Medical staff are proud of. It is also something that they are directly involved in. The trustees take staff input on causes which are close to their hearts and which they would like to support. In the last grant round, our team recommended donations were made to our local hospice, St Lukes (Harrow and Brent), and to Starlight, the national children’s charity, to support the expansion of their virtual reality distraction therapy for children in hospital. Donations have also been made to Macmillan Cancer Support and a range of other worthy causes where the trustees provide ‘match funding’ for fundraising activities undertaken by both groups of staff members and individuals in the team.

Membership of the Association of Charitable Foundations

After several years of these activities, the trustees are delighted to be able to announce that they have joined the Association of Charitable Foundations (AFC), the leading membership organisation for foundations and independent grant-makers in the UK. Associate membership of the ACF enables the trust to demonstrate its commitment to continuing and developing its work with charitable organisations, where their grants can provide practical support for the values which they believe in.

So, not all companies are alike. When you work with MAPS Medical, you know you are working with a company with an ethical cause at its core; where the owning trustees and the directors share values which guide both the strategic oversight of the company and the day-to-day work of MAPS Medical. As a doctor, you can be confident that you are working with a company that gives back into the patient care and research system.

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