Outstanding philanthropy celebrated at Beacon Awards

Outstanding philanthropy celebrated at Beacon Awards


Outstanding philanthropy was celebrated by key members of the charitable, political and media worlds at the 2010 Beacon Awards ceremony hosted at one of London’s architectural jewels, Goldsmith’s Hall in London, last week.

Of nine category winners, philanthropist Alex Reed CBE received the grand prix for his longstanding achievements in catalysing giving, most recently through The Big Give ‘matchmaking’ website that runs matched challenge funds. Reed was awarded a £30,000 prize to donate to a charitable cause of his choice sponsored Russell Investments.

On presentation of his award, Reed said: “It’s not easy to give money away intelligently. The Big Give is introducing intelligence into giving. I’m delighted to use the £30,000 as the catalyst for a £200,000 matched funding challenge on theBigGive.org.uk, to benefit the charities of other Beacon Prize winners. My thanks go to Russell Investments and congratulations to the other category winners.” 

Keynote speeches were given by Nick Hurd MP, minister for Civil Society, and Dame Stephanie Shirley, the British Government’s Founding Ambassador for Philanthropy.

The Evening Standard editor Geordie Grieg was named Beacon Ambassador for his work and support in creating The Dispossessed Fund that has created a £4.5m endowed fund to alleviate poverty in the capital, including £1.7m matched funding from the government

Nick Hurd, who went to university with Grieg, presented him with the award saying it had brought Londoners “face to face with the truths” of poverty in London and that it had “generated an extraordinary and powerful response across the spectrum of ages and backgrounds.”

At the event, members of the philanthropy community were treated to a master class in giving from enigmatic US philanthropist William S. White. president, chairman and CEO of the CS Mott Foundation, based in Michigan, who received a special joint award from the The Community Foundation Network and The Beacon Fellowship Charitable Trust which run the awards, for his contribution to UK community philanthropy.

When asked by the awards’ host, broadcaster and former Beacon Awards chair Martyn Lewis CBE, what advice he had for philanthropists on how they should behave, White gave what Lewis said was the ‘most concise’ answer he had ever had to that question.

White offered five tips: to accept that solving problems takes longer than one or two years; to listen; to be flexible and patient and to be passionate about your cause.

I am constantly reminded that solving problems takes a lot of time and a lot of listening. You need to listen and find out people’s stories and their needs,” he said. Patience was needed because “often success only comes after a few failures” and added “If someone is giving money I would hope that people would have a real passion for that cause because then they will understand it.

Michael Brophy, chair of Capital Community Foundation and long-time friend of White, presented the award and in a citation described White as a ‘one-off.’

The full list of 2010 Beacon Award winners are:

  • Community Builder: Keith and Mary Woodworth, Friends of Mulanje Orphans
  • Leadership: Dr James Partridge OBE, Changing Faces
  • New Initiatives: Angus and Michie Macdonald, The Moidart Trust
  • Young Philanthropist: Robert Wilson, READ International  
  • Effective Giving: Alec Reed CBE
  • Philanthropy Advocate: Jane Tewson CBE
  • Family Business Philanthropist: John Timpson CBE and Alex Timpson MBE
  • Judges Special Prize for Exceptional Philanthropic Activity: Benita Refson OBE, The Place2B
  • Judges Special Prize for Exceptional Philanthropic Activity: Clive Stafford Smith OBE

The winning philanthropists are profiled in the Autumn issue of the Philanthropy UK Magazine which can be downloaded below.