Michael Oglesby

Born in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, Michael Oglesby spent his early working years in the construction industry before moving to Manchester.

Michael Oglesby

Personal story

 In 1976 Michael Oglesby  founded Bruntwood Estates, initially an industrial property business. Following the industrial depression of the early 1980s, Bruntwood shifted its real estate portfolio to office buildings, and after significant growth, today the company owns over 70 properties across Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, with 800 businesses operating in its buildings.

Despite this growth, Michael insists that Bruntwood remains "a family business, whose values and commitment to work in the community are at the heart of the company", which actively plays a part in the development of communities in northern England. "We invest up to 8% of our profits in our regions, typically in arts, community and charitable causes, in addition to donating our time, skills and expertise." From senior level involvement in helping shape the future of Manchester City Centre, through the refurbishment of a house run by an alcohol and drug abstinence service, many Bruntwood employees have helped make a difference in their communities. They support charities in the arts, education, and science in the Northwest of England.

"Employees feel good to be part of a company that behaves positively"

Michael's giving is channelled through two mechanisms: a family charitable trust and a corporate fund. The reason behind this separation is not to impose family interests on the company and to keep corporate giving aligned with corporation objectives. He explains, "My personal and family's giving is directed through The Oglesby Charitable Trust whose giving objectives are wider and cover all areas from arts to education." Established in 1992, the Trust gives away roughly £500,000 each year to about 25 charities. Individual grants typically range between £5,000 and £20,000.

Separately, Bruntwood's corporate giving is currently directed through The Bruntwood Community Fund, which is managed in partnership with the Community Foundation for Greater Manchester. The Fund focuses on causes that are aligned with the activities and interests of the company, based on its social responsibility programme. The company also encourages its employees to get involved in their communities, offering them two paid days off each year to volunteer their time to charitable projects. Bruntwood's 'Charity of the year' programme is very popular with employees, who pledge donations to the named charity, which are matched by the company. Michael believes that "employees feel good to be part of a company that behaves positively".

At the beginning of 2000, Michael turned over his role as CEO to his son Chris, but continues to serve as the company's Executive Chairman. He currently devotes approximately two days a week to the company and the remainder to civic and charitable activities. He believes that "philanthropy helps cement the family, bringing the younger generation closer to the family business and to the family legacy".

(from A Guide to Giving, 2nd edition, 2005)

This personal story is tagged under

  • Business/corporate philanthropy
  • Arts & heritage
  • Causes
  • Trusts & foundations