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The staff of the Financial Times have chosen The Global Fund for Children, a pioneering charity helping some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children, for our 2012 seasonal appeal.

Thanks to the generosity of our readers, the FT’s seasonal appeals have raised more than £9m for good causes since 2005. We aim to do even better this year.

The GFC’s conviction is that even small amounts of money, when given to enterprising local community leaders, can make a lasting impact on children’s lives. To this end, since 1997 the GFC has invested about $26m in 500 grassroots organisations in 78 countries.

The FT’s worldwide staff, who voted for the GFC as this year’s charity, were particularly impressed by the fund’s vision and dynamism.

Over the next six weeks, a team of FT correspondents, led by Orla Ryan, will report on the GFC’s activities in west Africa, Haiti, India, Brazil and the UK. Some of the social entrepreneurs they have met have inspirational stories to tell about how they are bringing practical help and – just as importantly – hope to destitute children.

This year’s seasonal appeal is already off to a racing start, thanks to a highly successful photographic auction in London that raised £56,600. Together with matching funding from Pearson, owner of the FT, and the GFC’s sponsors, the total raised in one evening came to £169,800.

The GFC has received $2.3m of corporate matching pledges. They include: $1m from Mount Kellett Capital, the private equity firm founded by Mark McGoldrick; $500,000 from The Sarah and Ross Perot Jr Foundation; $500,000 from Hillwood, a global property development company chaired by Mr Perot Jr; $100,000 from Indus Capital Partners, an investment firm cofounded by David Kowitz; $100,000 from Earthport, a financial services company; and $100,000 from Crown Family Philanthropies.

As in previous years, we will also be auctioning off lunches, with the FT’s star writers and columnists, generously hosted by some of the world’s leading restaurants.

This year, Nicholas Lander, our inventive restaurant critic, has dreamt up a new fundraising scheme. Sommelier in Your Cellar will be auctioning the services of leading wine experts.

You will be able to find details of both auctions and read our reporting of the GFC’s activities at www.ft.com/seasonalappeal. We hope you will rally behind a great cause.

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