In 1997 our co-founder, Angus McCallum, having watched Superman 3 on a flight to the USA, put together a paper outlining the concept of the scheme (a form of salami slicing!), which at that time was to be called the Small Change Company. The idea emanated from the infamous American bank scam devised by 2 computer boffins that took the dimes from peoples bank accounts! We both wondered what might happen if we could make this scam legal by offering employees the opportunity to put aside their pennies each time they were paid and give them to charity. There were after all a lot of pennies being paid to employees in the UK.
An exciting thought and we agreed that if ever we should both find ourselves out of a job then we would work together to explore how this could become a reality. Well in April 1999 following the acquisition of Sedgwick, insurance brokers, by Marsh & McLennan for whom we had both worked for many years we left and got to work!
In October 1999 after lots of consultation and a name change Pennies from Heaven was founded and in mid 2000 our Founder Member, Barclays Bank PLC implemented the scheme. Year on year the number of employers adopting the scheme grows and in 2013 another milestone was achieved when at the end of September we exceeded the distribution of our 250,000,000 penny. Employers operating the scheme range from companies, pension schemes, local authorities, NHS Trusts and a large national charity. We really are ‘up up and away!’
(Regrettably, Angus died from a brain tumour in 2003, however he always wanted his project to continue forever and the small team at Pennies from Heaven intend to keep growing the numbers of people in the workplace donating their pennies)
Anthony Law. Founder. Pennies from Heaven