John Caudwell first started selling mobile phones, it took him nine months to sell 26 handsets – at a price of £2,000 each.
But he had faith that mobile phones would become an essential part of our lives, and by 2006 the mobile phone retailer he founded, Phones 4U, was selling 26 phones a minute.
Thanks to following that intuition, Caudwell, 68, now has a personal fortune of $3.1bn after completing the sale of his interests in the firm in 2011.
And he has pledged to give at least 70 per cent of his wealth away during and after his lifetime, signing the Giving Pledge, a promise made by the ultra wealthy to focus their attention on philanthropy.
In his pledge Caudwell, who was brought up in Stoke-on-Trent, stated: “Philanthropy gives me far more pleasure and satisfaction than making money.
“In fact, making money is now largely driven by the knowledge that I will be able to leave even more wealth behind for charitable causes when I go.”
A large part of his giving is focused on Caudwell Children, the charity he set up in 2000 to support and improve the lives of disabled children and their families.
Caudwell personally pays all the charity’s running and managerial costs, meaning all donations and grants are received directly by those who need them.
They have so far helped more than 50,000 children and families and provided services worth more than £45m.
The charity’s most recent initiative involves funding and providing autism assessments, feedback and 12 months post-diagnostic support for children aged between 4 and 11 who have been referred by a teacher or healthcare professional.
State-funded assessments can currently take more than 18 months to complete, leaving families and children without vital support.
Commenting on the new initiative Caudwell Children CEO, Trudi Beswick, said: “Waiting times for autism assessments are all too often unacceptably long, with parents regularly waiting 18 months or more for a diagnosis.
“We launched the Caudwell Children Autism Service to support our stretched statutory services and reduce waiting times to evidence that there is a quicker, more efficient and effective way to support families through this important process.
“Thanks to funding from several donors over the last six months we are now delighted to be able to offer our assessment, diagnosis and support service to new referrals at zero cost for a limited time and we welcome referrals from families across the UK.”
For more information see the Caudwell Children website or follow them on Twitter.
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