Julia and Hans Rausing commit £16.5 million to tackle COVID-19


Elika Roohi and Charles Keidan


Philanthropists Julia and Hans Rausing announced that they are giving £16.5 million to charities and causes in the United Kingdom working to fight the COVID-19 pandemic – the largest UK pledge to date from individual donors in the fight against coronavirus.

Out of the sum pledged, £5 million has already been donated to the COVID-19 Urgent Appeal from NHS Charities Together, a national campaign to support staff and volunteers in Britain’s National Health Service caring for COVID-19 patients with a further £9 million pledged but not yet allocated. The £5 million grant is the biggest donation from a family or individual that NHS Charities Together has received so far, according to Chief Executive Ellie Orton.

‘Staff and volunteers within the NHS are making huge sacrifices every day to care for those unwell and this is a rallying cry to inspire others to support these national heroes and provide vital support for those in need,’ said Julia and Hans Rausings in a statement.

The funds going towards NHS Charities Together will be used for well-being packs for NHS staff and volunteers such as food delivery and other essentials; covering the cost of travel, parking and accommodations; and anything else required by health personnel in the vanguard of the fight against COVID-19.

NHS’s Charities Together’s Orton commented that such a significant donation had inspired it to set a more ambitious goal. ‘We have increased our target to £100 million and we hope others join the appeal to support the awe inspiring work being carried out by NHS staff and volunteers up and down the country to fight this pandemic.’

The news is being welcomed by the UK’s Association of Charitable Foundation (ACF). Director of External Affairs Richard Hebditch said that ‘This news is another example of what we’re seeing from foundations who are responding quickly to the current crisis. Foundations are looking to be flexible about timetables or grant requirements, or are establishing new funds and grants. Many will be looking to foundations at this time, so it’s heartening to see how so many are already acting on this.’

Commitment to fight COVID-19

The Julia and Hans Rausing Trust is among a growing number of funders who are responding in the face of a fast-spreading global crisis. This week, European infrastructure bodies Donors and Foundations Networks in Europe (DAFNE) and the European Foundation Centre (EFC) released a statement on COVID-19, pledging flexibility for their grantees and partners. So far 45 leading foundations across Europe have signed on.

In the UK, several foundations have made donations in the fight against COVID-19, including commitments from two of the Sainsbury’s Family Trust – £2.5 million from the Indigo Trust founded by Fran Perrin and a further £2 million committed by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, chaired by her father Lord Sainsbury. It also follows the UK’s largest foundation, the Wellcome Trust, which joins others in making $125 million available.

Julia and Hans Rausing Trust

The Julia and Hans Rausing Trust commitment has also highlighted a growing trend among funders to use donor advised funds to manage giving at scale. The Trust is not a formally registered charity, nor a member of the Association of Charitable Foundations. Its funding is directed through the Master Charitable Trust, managed by Hoares private bank on behalf of wealthy clients. Master’s is a registered charity reporting direct to the UK Charity Commission.

Since its formation, Julia and Hans Rausing’s funding has provided over 220 grants totalling more than £200 million. Funding is given to organisations working within three main areas: Health and Wellbeing; Welfare and Education; and Arts and Culture.

Elika Roohi is digital editor at Alliance magazine, and Charles Keidan is executive editor.

Tagged in: Covid-19

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