The aim of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Foundation is to honour the memory of Douglas Adams, creator of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series and co-founder of h2g2.com, by promoting an agenda of which we hope he would have approved, in the UK and all around the world.
How Will We Do This?
Douglas Adams was an insatiably curious man. Conversation with him ranged far and wide and his fictional and factual writing did indeed reflect the title of his third book Life, the Universe and Everything. He loved ideas and words and thinking and debate.
He was a great lover of language; he admired writers like P.G. Wodehouse who revelled in the use and choice of words. He was also a real wordsmith in his own right, working and reworking sentences, a perfectionism which was part of the reason for his particular attitude to deadlines!1
He also had a great enthusiasm for new and emerging technologies and was a famous Apple Mac fan. Long into the night did the debates with the PC-minded programmers at The Digital Village2 last! Some of his most brilliant writing was about the far-reaching impact of digital technology.
It is our intention, then, that the Foundation will advance communication skills, starting with the acquisition of basic literacy and then looking beyond that, helping people of all shapes and sizes to develop the tools to share in the worlds of ideas and creation that Douglas so delighted in himself. We have drafted our aims pretty widely and if you would like to read the formal objectives of the Foundation, you can find them at the bottom of the page.
No doubt many opportunities will present themselves in the years to come and we hope that the wider Hitchhiker community will become closely involved in our work to build a world-class Foundation which makes a real difference to many lives.
The Foundation has taken the first step and is a Registered Charity with the Charity Commission in the UK (Registered Charity No: 1149839) and a Company Limited by Guarantee at Companies House in the UK (Company No. 8002251).
As we get started, the plan is for the Foundation to give donations to other organisations that further the Foundation's aims; it is not the intention at this stage to create an operating charity. In particular, we hope to work with small charities where a relatively modest amount of money will make a significant difference. Primarily we are looking for charities focusing on basic literacy skills - reading and writing for whatever age group - and globally! But we are also interested in organisations which foster literacy in a broader sense too.
The good news is that the Foundation has, thanks to the kindness of a few donors, already raised several thousand pounds. This has enabled us to start working with charities already and fund a number of exciting projects. The organisations which will be the first recipients of donations are:
We would welcome further recommendations but we have to stress that as we get going the decision about who to support and why will be the responsibility of the Trustees and will, of course, also be determined by how much money we are able to raise.
As you can see, our ambitions are large, but small steps to start with!
h2g2 and the Foundation
The Foundation owns a non-dilutable share in Not Panicking Limited, which in turn owns h2g2.com, and, when there are any, 4.2% of the profits of Not Panicking Ltd will be given to the Foundation. The Foundation will also raise funds in its own right.
In addition, the h2g2 community will provide one of the Foundation's Board of Trustees. Currently the community representative is Solnushka, so feel free to contact her with any questions or your suggestions for institutions, charities or programmes you think might be eligible for the Foundation's support.
The Board of Trustees
Alongside Robbie Stamp (Chairman) and Alyson Larholm of Not Panicking Ltd, the founding Trustees are:
James Thrift, Douglas Adams' brother, who says, “I am so excited to be involved with the Foundation, and to be a step closer to Douglas' vision for h2g2.com.”
Bill Bachle, a very experienced fundraiser, who amongst others has worked with The Great Ormond St Children's Hospital, Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation and the Gorbachev Foundation.
Polly Adams, Douglas' daughter.
In addition, founding Advisory Trustees include Stephen Fry, Terry Jones, Ed Victor (Douglas' Literary Agent) and founder members of The Digital Village, Richard Creasey, Ian Charles Stewart and Richard Harris.
The Formal Objectives
Taking as their inspiration the life and work of Douglas Adams, the objects of the charity, which will operate not only nationally but also internationally, shall be:
The advancement of education, especially but not limited to, the promotion of communication skills – verbal, written and other, including the use of information and communication technologies – at all levels from beginning to advanced and the provision of access to education, especially but not limited to, in literacy, for all without restriction of class, caste, gender, sexuality, age, political opinion or religious affiliation.
The advancement of the arts and science including but not limited to:
The promotion and encouragement of high standards, innovation and creativity in all forms of the written and spoken word, whether fiction or non-fiction.
The promotion and encouragement of high standards, innovation and creativity in all branches of science and its applications and especially in information and communication technologies.