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  1. Impact Philanthropy
January 6, 2015updated 01 Feb 2016 10:15am

All the philanthropists rewarded in the New Year's Honours 2015

By Spear's

As is Spear’s annual custom, we like to look over those rewarded in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for their philanthropic services; it’s a snapshot of how we give, says Josh Spero

There was only one philanthropic knight this year: Sir David Verey, Lazard lifer, former chairman of the Art Fund and now chairman of the Government Art Collection. Sir David seems a prime example of how to direct business expertise, connections and resources towards good (not that M&A isn’t a fine moral occupation): under his chairmanship, the Art Fund has been rebranded, redirected and revitalised.

Jonathan Moulds, now CBE, is another financier-philanthropist: he was Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s European president and the chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch International, and he supports the London Symphony Orchestra. As chair of the Leadership Team at Arts & Business, he has been responsible for bringing in money for the arts. He also lends priceless violins to first-rate musicians.

One particularly interesting honour was for Shaks Ghosh, who awarded the CBE. Ghosh was CEO of Crisis, a large homelessness charity, before joining the Private Equity Foundation (lately merged with Impetus). At PEF, Ghosh helped to advance venture philanthropy, which is best thought of as private equity for charities: PEF invested in a charity and helped build it up, refining its model and expanding its reach. This is a newer and more controversial aspect of philanthropy, so official recognition of a key figure suggests its growing respectability and importance.

Another award for someone with a career in philanthropy (as opposed to being principally a donor) went to John Emerson. He was awarded the CBE as CEO of the Association of Charitable Foundations, the body which brings together trusts and foundations.

Also awarded a CBE was Michael Chowen, who sold Sussex Stationers, the business he co-founded, in 2004, and has been a big donor to schools and universities around Brighton. He gave ’150,000 to the University of Brighton’s project to neutralise greenhouse gases and further money to its Global Educational Outreach for Science, Engineering and Technology project. His philanthropic portfolio is broad, with gifts to small local charities (Brighton Women’s Centre) and to international ones (Hearing Conservation Council).

Further CBEs went to Nicholas Cooper, chairman of the Sterling Insurance Group, who supports RADA and the Old Vic, and May Storrie, who with her husband built up Scotland’s largest estate agent; she has had a lifelong involvement in charity and is currently a trustee of the Neurosciences Foundation.

There were OBEs for:

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Dr Helen Bowcock, who founded the Hazelhurst Trust, which supports charities in Surrey for disadvantaged young people, after she and her husband sold their software business;

Edm’e Leventis, widow of Greek Cypriot industrialist Dino, trustee of the AG Leventis Foundation (which supports Greek culture abroad), former ambassador of Cyprus to UNESCO and former trustee of the British Museum;

Dasha Shenkman, a Canadian who has long lived in London and supports the Royal College of Music, as well as funding a recital series at the National Gallery; and

Roger Whorrod, who donated ’1 million to the University of Bath in 2010; he studied there before starting engineering businesses in the Midlands.

An MBE was awarded to Philip Carne, who with his wife has supported over a hundred indigent music and drama students not just with tuition fees but also with the essentials to then start a career in the arts, like casting photographs or travel expenses. Their Richard Carne Charitable Trust is named after their son, who died aged eighteen.

Philip Carne once said in an interview: ‘People say, “Isn’t it noble what you are doing?” and well, it may be so. But it’s also intensely rewarding.’ These honours, the recipients would surely tell you, are an excellent cherry on the top – but the real reward is the effect of the philanthropy itself.

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