Ajaz Ahmed, founder and CEO of AKQA, has been honoured with the Spear’s 2022 Impact Award recognising the impact of his philanthropic contribution and charitable fellowship ajaz.org.
Edwin Smith, Editor-in-Chief of Spear’s, said: “Ajaz Ahmed has been a steady, quiet philanthropist for some time. With his work and rapid progress on ajaz.org in the last year, he is taking his giving to the next level, in a thoughtful and considered way. Spear’s is delighted to recognise this work with the 2022 Impact Award.”
The Spear’s Impact Award is given to an individual who has brought about a major positive impact on the world, or a specific group, community, cause or organisation – either through giving, philanthropy, impact-investing or some other means in the last twelve months.
Ajaz Ahmed said: “I am deeply humbled by this recognition which encourages me to redouble the impact we can make. I dedicate the honour of this award to my extraordinary parent’s warmth, patience and kindness.”
Nicola Brentnall, CEO of ajaz.org said: “This is what we are here to do – to support, to walk alongside, to energise, respect and inspire. I look forward to planning ahead and how we can take this further in 2023.”
ajaz.org supports a diverse range of charities and organisations working with families and children who face immediate practical challenges such as health issues, putting food on the table and finding a safe place to live. Charities supported include Little Village, The Cottage Family Centre, The Parent Rooms, The Bodie Hodges Foundation and Candlelighters.
The partner charitable organisations do miraculous work for people who need a hand or feel alone. It is wonderful to see the importance of their work recognised through the Spear’s Impact Award 2022.
Announcing the award, Edwin Smith Editor-in-Chief of Spear’s said: “Our winner has established a vehicle to substantially increase and target his giving. He took the time and effort to seek good advice and decided he could be most effective by containing his philanthropy in the UK. With a laser-like focus on children and families in crisis, he has created a portfolio of local, direct, superbly effective charities working around the UK. He has provided an example and a source of genuine thought leadership for British philanthropy.”
Beyond the financial support and mentorship gifted by ajaz.org, each charity also received a specially commissioned art piece highlighting the impact of their charitable work.
In his acceptance speech, Ajaz Ahmed said:
“A mother diluting her milk with water, so there’s enough to feed her small children.
A family sharing bathwater because they can’t afford to heat it.
A ten-year-old child asks if she can exchange the previously owned toy that she’s just been handed, for a bag of rice she’s just spotted in the corner of the room, to make her mum happier at home.
These are not stories from a faraway and ancient land. These are the truths from children and families in the UK today, the world’s fifth- largest economy. We live in a remarkable, inspiring country with a wealth of wisdom and treasured knowledge, but sometimes a poverty of distribution.
All too often, Greater Awareness does not equal Greater Understanding.
Sir Winston Churchill said: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
Everyone in this room is a Trustee – a Trustee for humanity and a Trustee for our planet.
If the meaning of life is to discover your gift, the purpose of life is to give it away.
This award will encourage me to redouble our efforts for the many causes we are privileged to serve through ajaz.org.
Thank you to Edwin and the Spears judges for this incredible recognition. I dedicate this honour to my phenomenal mother Sughran and my remarkable late father Khowaj who always gave the most but, at the time, had the least to give.
I would like to thank the wonderful Nicola Brentnall, my guide, for her significant depth of knowledge and expertise across the spectrum of issue areas we support. I would also like to thank the brilliant Sam Kelly and Raj Chaim for the extraordinary support they provide to me and our teams at AKQA every day.”
Ajaz is a Trustee on the charitable boards of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Virgin Unite. Ajaz has previously served as a Trustee on the board of The Prince’s Trust, Prism The Gift Fund, the Design Museum and the Institute of Contemporary Arts.