Property tycoon gives fortune to charity in ‘deal with God’
Entrepreneur and Kwik Save founder Albert Gubay is bequesting his £800m property empire to charity, fulfilling a ‘deal with God’ he made as a young man. In fact, he is paying back with interest – his original prayer had been that if God helped make him a millionaire, he would give half of it back. Now, after making provision for his family, he is giving it all away.
Not content with that, at 82, his aim is to carry on building his business to a value of £1bn before he dies, when he will bequeath it to The Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation. This could generate income available for good causes of at least £20m each year.
A devout Roman Catholic, Gubay has stipulated that half the money should be spent on projects connected with the Church, and the rest distributed at the discretion of the trustees.
“I want to carry on supporting good causes, but my whole focus in the next few years is to work as hard as I can to meet my target of a £1bn charity,” he says. “Every penny wasted or lost reduces the pot available to the charity.”
Gubay founded the first Kwik Save discount store in Prestatyn, Wales in 1965. Eight years later he sold the company for £14m and moved his money into property. He also set up the Total Fitness network of 21 gyms, which he sold in 2004 for £70m.
“The charity will be fully funded on his death, but in the meantime he has already passed all his wealth to trustees who will ensure that his charitable ambitions are fulfilled. This means that whilst he is no longer personally a wealthy man, he has the comfort of knowing that he has already started the process that will lead to the fulfilment of his ambitions,” says John Nugent, chair of trustees of The Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation.
Last year, Lord Sainsbury became the first Briton to actually give away £1bn to good causes. His foundation, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, supports scientific research, science and engineering education, small-scale farming in Africa, the arts and mental health, and aims to ‘spend out’, distributing all of the money to good causes during Lord Sainsbury’s lifetime.
Scottish entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter also aims to give £1bn to good causes through The Hunter Foundation, although the recession has had a significant impact on his assets.
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