GeeWizz founder Gina Long MBE has spent more than 35 years campaigning and fundraising for local and national charities and causes. In that time, she has helped raise well in excess of £3 million.
Gina’s passion, enthusiasm and commitment to charity has been long-admired from the world of celebrity, sport, media and charity. But something was missing, she wanted to know exactly where every penny of the money she raised was going, and how exactly it was helping to make a difference.
The GeeWizz Charitable Foundation was created to help children, young adults and their families, living with a disability, and those affected by cancer, particularly Sarcoma.
Gina first started fundraising when she was just 13 when she organised a 24-hour swimathon in Ipswich and raised £1,300 for children with special needs. Outside of voluntary fundraising and charity campaigning, Gina has had a career heading communications for global companies, along with working in the media. She is also a freelance journalist, writing a monthly charity column for both the EADT and EDP.
In 2011, Gina founded Sir Bobby’s Online Charities Auction, in memory of her great friend and former England football manager Sir Bobby Robson. The auction boasts incredible money-can’t-buy experiences, donated by a wealth of national and international celebrities.To date, the now-named Ultimate Charity Auction has raised more than £985,000 and supported a number of charities including the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Breast Cancer Now, EACH, West Suffolk Hospital and Ipswich Hospital. For more information on the auction, please click here.
Away from fundraising, Gina is a ‘farmer’s wife’ living on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds with her husband Andrew. She has two children, Samuel and Alexandra, and five stepchildren James, Charles, Georgina, Thomas and Olivia. She is also a Patron for the Ipswich and Suffolk Business Club.
Gina was delighted to have been awarded an MBE for her Charitable Services in East Anglia in the New Year’s Honours List in December 2015.
Mark Gaywood was appointed the first ever Chairman of the GeeWizz charitable foundation in February 2018 – bringing a level of business acumen and charity experience to the role.
Mark has been a long-term supporter of the fundraising of Gina Long MBE and continued this desire to change local lives together from the moment GeeWizz was formed.
He, and his wife Debra, kindly agreed to be official Friends of GeeWizz and Momentum Pensions, the company he founded and is now group chairman of, was a main sponsor of our Glitter Ball in 2017.
A former board director for two international banks, Mark shares GeeWizz’s values around transparency and integrity and we look forward to a long and fruitful time under Mark’s chairmanship.
A third generation farmer, Andrew Long was born and bred in Suffolk and is delighted that a large proportion of the money raised by GeeWizz will remain in the county and region.
Andrew shares his wife Gina’s desire to give something back to their local community, and to ensure that funds raised goes to the individual or family targeted.
He was also instrumental in helping launch the Classic Cars by the Lake for St Nicholas Hospice Care, held at Hall Farm, Fornham St Martin.
There are clear public benefits of GeeWizz’s purpose. Disabled children will be provided with wheelchairs and other healthcare equipment paid for with funds raised by the organisation. Those affected by cancer will benefit from the funding of research being carried out into the illness and similarly from the purchase of healthcare and medical equipment.
The families of those affected in this way will also benefit. Institutions such as hospitals or universities will benefit from the broader application of equipment purchased using funds donated by the organisation. There will be a wider public benefit in terms of raising awareness and providing important health messages relating to the research being funded.
GeeWizz’s purpose will benefit disabled children, children affected by cancer and their families and carers, and the wider public as a result of funding relating to cancer research.
GeeWizz will help those with disabilities, but this is specifically addressed by the Equality Act. Regarding children, it is a reasonable social policy objective, and legitimate aim, to improve the health of children.
The trustees will consider a broad, non-exhaustive list of criteria in relation to the accordance of funds. No funds will be provided directly to individuals, their families or carers. Instead, funds will be allocated to organisations such as schools, hospitals or the providers of medical equipment.
In relation to the funding of cancer research, the organisation will liaise directly with the institution carrying out the research (or proposed research) and work with them in order to ensure the most suitable allocation of funds. The trustees will meet quarterly in order to consider applications, nominations and potential candidates for funding and decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, when all supporting statements and relevant documentary evidence has been considered.
Criteria evaluated will include (but will not be limited to) age, circumstances, family situation, availability of funding from other sources, geographical location, vulnerability of particular individuals and the amount of funding available to the organisation. Along with the criteria outlined in the organisation’s objectives, the trustees will then be able to make reasonable decisions regarding the allocation of funds in accordance with the charity’s constitution.