This year the subject of education in the UK has dominated our headlines, from strikes, to the cost-of-living crisis, to Ofsted inspections. These news stories have rarely been positive. Yet, the work of Achisomoch Aid Company (AAC), although rarely publicised, tells of an organisation and its clients that values our schools, and quietly works to give them all the support we can. At AAC, we have been dedicated to enabling our members to support schools within our community for almost five decades. In the last four years alone, more than £1 million was donated from our profits to our local schools, offering them a lifeline to continue providing an education for their students.
AAC is of course a name familiar to many within the kehilloh, as a platform for an individual’s maaseh kesofim and to help maximise giving to tzedokoh. AAC allows our clients to deposit all their tzedokoh money in an account with us and then make grants using either vouchers or online – similar to the way that they use their bank account. Our service enables donations to be made efficiently, without any compromise on robust compliance. AAC manages virtually all the paperwork of one’s charitable affairs and, for Gift Aid donors, increases the value of charitable donations.
Every year, in the run up to Pesach, AAC trustees distribute any surplus that the charity makes from its charges to Jewish schools in NW London and to Gateshead Yeshiva: a “Pesach Jackpot” supporting our educational establishments. This year, we distributed a record of more than £400,000. This was a 10% increase on last year, which at the time, was a previous record for AAC.
To give more support to our schools, AAC has also partnered with Chomesh L’Chinuch, an innovative, shul-based solution to supporting our schools through challenging times, that has been welcomed and endorsed by numerous prominent local rabbonim. Under this scheme, Shul members are encouraged to prioritise and allocate one-fifth (a ‘Chomesh’) of their tzedokoh distributions to the local schools attended by the children of their Shul. Participating shuls have now raised over £1.5 million for schools throughout Northwest London. AAC helps clients participate in this initiative by offering an option for users to automate this process directly from their AAC accounts.
This year, AAC has also relaunched its “referral programme” which gives even more needed assistance to our schools. The referral programme is an incentive scheme in which new clients that open an AAC account in conjunction with their school will get £50 extra credit (for annual deposits of over £2000). Furthermore, 50% of the commission charged on their account will be given to that school. The initiative offers a way for each parent to give their chinuch contributions, as well as giving extra support to their schools. Some organisations have earned more than £15,000 a year from this scheme.
AAC is determined to maintain their focus on supporting local schools. The loud, pressing news stories of issues facing schools today is a national crisis. AAC, however is combating that by giving significant help, in its quiet, community-minded way.