Beacon Awards 2017

Beacon Awards 2017

News (International, UK)

Britain has a wonderfully rich history of giving.  In fact Britain today is defined by the generosity of our predecessors. You don’t have to go far to see a hospital, social housing estate, a museum or gallery, theatre, public park, school or university that wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for philanthropists.

Philanthropy still has a huge role to play in society today and judging by this year’s Beacon awards it’s alive and well. This year’s winners include some of the top names from the worlds of fashion, sport, arts and finance. They are all truly inspirational and make a significant impact with their generosity.

Iconic fashion designer and campaigner, Dame Vivienne Westwood won for her work with Cool Earth, the charity working alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction. Dame Westwood has used her influence in the fashion world to engage others with Cool Earth’s cause through deliberate and well-structured campaigns. She has championed Cool Earth’s charitable work far beyond the catwalk.

Martin Lewis, the campaigning broadcaster, journalist and founder of the UK’s biggest consumer website, won for giving away over £17m of his own funds in the last five years including pledging over £2million to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute he founded and chairs, and £2million to Citizens Advice Bureau. As well as being a consumer champion he is fast becoming a philanthropy champion.  

Dame Kelly Holmes, DBE is a double Olympic champion and founder of the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, a charity supporting young athletes as they transition away from sport and use their skills and experience to transform the lives of disadvantaged young people.

Tom Ilube, voted number one in the 2017 Power list of 100 influential black Brits, helped co-found Egg, the first major internet bank; and Garlik, an identity protection company. He set up the African Gifted Foundation to help transform the lives of girls in Africa through education – specifically, in science and technology.

All the winners show why I’m proud of UK Community Foundation’s association with the Beacon Awards. I am especially pleased to see the introduction of a new award this year, for local community philanthropy, as this is exactly what we encourage. The winners are a particularly inspiring couple; Helen and Peter Wilde who set up an endowment fund with Quartet Community Foundation after retiring. The couple support arts and community organisations such as Home Start, helping families with young children learn to deal with life’s challenges; and One25 that supports Bristol’s street sex workers to build lives away from violence, poverty, and addiction.

All types of philanthropy are crucial contributors to a caring society and I hope the Beacon Awards will encourage more donors to think about how they can best give back and make an impact with their generosity. I’d like to thank the sponsors of the Beacon Awards 2017, JP Morgan, City Bridge Trust and the Pears Foundation for all their support in making sure we all hear these incredible stories. 

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