In 2005 Matt, along with best friend James Macdonald, set up the charity Pass It On Africa (PIOA) with the aim to support education in Africa by providing funds for school building initiatives. Matt ran Pass It On Africa from 2005 - 2017.

"PIOA has been a huge part of my life. Our motivation came from a trip to the Nairobi slums in Kenya and in particular our encounter with the Tenderfoot self help school. Our original goal was to run a marathon to help buy all of the schools students a pair of shoes. Due to the terrible conditions in the Westlands area, many children were getting infections though cuts on their feet. We soon discovered that the school desperately needed to build a 6 classroom block to meet the demands of the communites children, a third of whom were orphans, who wanted to go to school."

James and Matt thus went about setting up a charity and raising as much as they could, however they could. 

"We were a fearless in our early 20's, so setting up a charity did not daunt us. If I knew then all that was involved in running a charitable company I would have probably chickened out but I'm pleased to say that in this instance, a little bit of ignorance pathed the way for one of the best experiences of my life."

Fast forward several years and their ambition expanded into supporting 5 school build projects in Kenya, Ghana, The Gambia and Uganda respectively and the team grew into a core of half a dozen dedicated volunteers who all shared one passion. In 2005 James and Matt set up the For the time that the charity ran they awarded £340,000 in grants to these projects, providing an opportunity for 1000's of African children to have access to a primary education. 

The video above shows the first phase of the Dreamlands school projects in Ghana that was completed in 2014 and was project 2 of 5 for Pass It On Africa.



Running a marahton in 2004 dressed as Batman and Robin inspired Matt and James to create their own Superhero themed Brighton fun run, the HEROES RUN TM. The event is now a Brighton institution and see's 1000's of men women and children dresed as their hero run our 5km or 10km course every May on the seafront. Not only has the HEROES RUN TM helped PIOA raise the majority of its money but 25 other charities have also benefittied from the race, helping them to collectively total over £160,000 in fundraising.


In 2017, having felt like they had taken the charity as far as they could, the team decided finish Pass It On Africa.

Video below: A big thank you to James Wainman who made this short film about The HEROES RUN.

"The goal of Pass It On Africa was always be able to support education in as effective a way as possible. We had a lot more time in our early 20's to commit to the work but as our lives have inevitably become more complicated our spare time to run the charity have become ever reduced. In the last 13 years we have worked with several charitiy partners all doing similar work to us. I began to read a lot about Effective alturism and came to the inconvenient conclusion that perhaps, given that Pass It On Africa was never going to grow into a professional outfit with employees (I wanted to be an artist too much), the best way to do good may just be to help other charities with the time I had available to be charitable. Their resources are infinately larger than PIOA's and therefore so is their ability to idenfify need effectively. The most important lesson I have learned running a charity is that it is not just how much you raise, or even what percentage of that goes to charitable causes but how effective the causes themselves are at alleviating suffering."

So in 2017, when all of their projects were finished and Pass It On Africa came to an end, the PIOA team gave the HEROES RUN event to the charity RISE UK so that the event could continue to support charitable causes. Matt still creates all the design / artwork for the race and helps RISE put in on and in return RISE give Matt free places in the race that he donates to charities that work in international development.

"HEROES RUN was by far PIOA's biggest fun raiser. Having organised the race for 13 years, I can help RISE deliver the event effectively (and hopefully raising lots of money for their worthy causes) but I can also give other charities the chance to raise funds through runner sponsorship generated from my donated places. In this way, HEROES RUN can hopefully continue to do good for years to come."



PIOA's influence...

"I am so fortunate to have this experience. PIOA has helped me understand my position in the world, not only as a human being but also as an artist. Having graduated from a illustration degree in 2003 I always considered myself a draftsman but not really an "ideas man". Running a charity (and all the stress that goes with it), visiting 3 beautiful African countires and creating fundraising campaigns in the process has given me something to say. My paintings are not "for charity", they are for me and about my experiences, but these happen to have been shaped "by charity" so it is impossible to separate the two."


If you would like to read more about the work Pass It On Africa did, click on one of the previous annual reports below.