The Foundation’s 2023 AGM saw chairman Gerry Mallon reporting on a number of key developments as the board’s new strategy begins to take shape. Among these is the vision for every Hearts fan to aspire to be an owner of the club and the setting of some key targets, including increasing the active pledger base to 15,000 pledgers and increasing the annual monetary contribution to the club to £2 million.

To provide the foundations for us to achieve these targets, a number of initiatives have been put in place. “First,” said Gerry Mallon, “we will be launching new and much upgraded technology, including a new website, in the new year which will enable us to drive forward communications with owners in a greatly enhanced way.

“Secondly, we have established a series of key target groups such as lapsed pledgers, young fans, overseas fans, and supporters who have never joined the Foundation, and over the course of the coming months, we will be in touch with them to ask them to help to drive our club forward by signing up to the Foundation. 

“In all of this, the board will be working closely with our marketing group, whose expertise has been greatly strengthened over the past months and which stands ready to support these initiatives.”

Meanwhile, membership numbers have remained consistent with that of 12 months ago, with – at October 2023 – a total of 8,556 active members. Total donations passed the phenomenal milestone of £15m in March of 2023, with £1.627 million passed to the club during the course of the financial year to June 2023. In November, another massive milestone was reached when the £16m figure was reached and exceeded.

Also at the AGM, Paul Cheshire was returned to the board unopposed for the specialist financial position, while, after an election, Gary Cowen was elected to the specialist legal post. Gerry Mallon paid tribute to Donald Cumming, who reached the maximum three terms of nine years on the board and so stepped down. “For many years,” said Gerry, “Donald has gone above and beyond the call of duty in his unstinting work in the service of Heart of Midlothian. He has been the quiet and diligent brain behind the Foundation, and his contributions in legal and governance matters for both the Foundation and the club have provided the structural bedrock for how we conduct our affairs.”