The Wolfson Foundation celebrates £1billion of donations

·2-min read
St Paul’s Cathedral is among those to have benefited fromthe charity’s fundraising  (PA)
St Paul’s Cathedral is among those to have benefited fromthe charity’s fundraising (PA)

A philanthropic charity based in London which has helped fund projects in the capital ranging from cancer research to the restoration of the country’s oldest synagogue is celebrating this month after hit £1 billion of giving.

The Wolfson Foundation, which was set up in 1955, has also supported the restoration of the library at St Paul’s Cathedral, the provision of musical instruments at the Royal College of Music, and equipment for a cafe and sewing project for Afghans in Hounslow.

Other grants intended to improve civil society have gone to education, science and culture, including money for what the charity describes as “exceptional students, researchers and healthcare professionals”.

The funding has been spread nationwide but significant sums have been invested in London where beneficiaries include the Bevis Marks Synagogue in east London - the oldest synagogue in Britain - and the Royal Marsden’s Oak Cancer Centre.

Paul Ramsbottom, the chief executive of the Wolfson Foundation, said the charity was pleased to have topped £1 billion of donations but wanted to increase its giving at a time when philanthropy elsewhere appeared to have been falling.

He added: “The need for funding for research and education is more important now than ever, and so – as well as taking stock and congratulating our many partners who have done remarkable things with our funding – we also pledge to continue and expand our work.

“We have always sought to make wise decisions, based on expert, rigorous peer review; and ... it is thrilling to know that, from rural village churches to mighty research institutes, Wolfson funding has touched virtually every community in the UK and enriched countless lives.”

The Wolfson Foundation was founded by Sir Isaac Wolfson.

He described himself as a ‘Jewish boy from the Gorbals’ after being brought up as the child of a Russian immigrant living in Glasgow, but went to create the vast General Universal Stores mail order business. He died in 1991. Colleges at both Oxford and Cambridge universities are named after him.

Other projects funded by the foundation he set up include one of the earliest centres for climate research at the University of East Anglia in the 1970s and equipment for research into electric flight propulsion.

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