Eton Action is an independent charity conceived and founded by Etonians to promote charitable activity and social responsibility among boys. Its activities consist primarily in raising money for charities other than Eton College itself. It is still run primarily by boys: an executive committee of boys governs the charity under the guidance of the chairman, secretary and treasurer, who are Masters. Trustees are drawn from current senior staff.
A large-scale fundraising event is the community fair, which usually takes place on the third Saturday in September throughout the college. A small charge is made for entry to the precincts, and there are sales of bric-a-brac, jumble and books.
Individual boys’ houses also run a variety of activities, which have in the past included cream teas, tours of the college, musical entertainments, and even a bouncy castle. The income from all these events is pooled and divided between charitable foundations and projects chosen by the committee and voted on by every boy in the school. In addition, external charities set up stalls which enable them to raise money for their own good causes. In 2016, a variety of activities ranging from a fives marathon to the sponsored shaving of a House Master’s beard raised a total of £40,300 which was divided between the Uganda Children’s Trust Fund, The Passage, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Space for Giants and Great Ormond Street.
A second annual fundraising activity is the Eton Action ‘mufti day’, on which boys and masters pay a small fee to attend school in informal dress. The day takes place in November to coincide with the BBC Children in Need appeal, which the proceeds (£2600 in 2016) go to support. Once every two or three years there is another large-scale event; recent examples have included a swimathon, a squashathon and an organathon.
The major fundraising event of the year is administered by Eton Action on behalf of the Eton College Harold Macmillan Society: a charity dinner and auction and a celebrity panel event raise money for the celebrities’ nominated charities. In 2016, over £110,000 was raised for the Teenage Cancer Trust, Tusk Trust, the Sebastian Coe Foundation and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Occasionally, fund-raising events held outside Eton but organised by Etonians are administered by Eton Action: for example, a concert held in Hong Kong in 2016 raised £10,200 for Oxfam's Syria Crisis Appeal.
Charities seeking Eton Action’s financial support must apply in writing (email is not an acceptable substitute) to the Treasurer, including details of their annual accounts. Confirmation will be sent only to successful applicants.
The contact address is: The Treasurer, Eton Action, Eton College, Windsor, Berks, SL4 6DW.
Further information about Eton Action can be found on the Charities Commission website.