History of the Beaverbrook Foundation


When the novelist William Gerhardie asked Max Beaverbrook whether Max was not an abbreviation for Maximilian, Beaverbrook replied simply 'No, Maximultimillion.' Money, and the making of it, dominated Beaverbrook's life; and one of his greatest legacies was the creation of the Beaverbrook Foundation, a grant making organisation set up under his direction in 1954.

Of course, Beaverbrook had long been a benefactor to a great number of institutions. In Canada alone, he had set up the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton in 1959; had funded, amongst other projects in Newcastle, an ice rink, the town hall and theatre; and had donated, over many years, large sums of money to the University of New Brunswick, of which he was the Chancellor.

But the creation of the Foundation allowed a structured organisation to monitor and continue gifts long after his death. Funds are distributed to many areas, often focussing on those charities that reflected Beaverbrook's many interests.

Significant Appeals and Donations

Since the inception of the Foundations significant donations have been made, benefitting nearly 800 different charities.

From 1994 to 2010 the trustees focussed the Foundation’s charitable giving in the restoration of Beaverbrook's country house and gardens at Cherkley Court, near Leatherhead, for the benefit of the public.

Current grants and programmes include:

Battle of Britain Memorial Trust Wing Appeal The Foundation continues its support for the important memorial at Capel le Ferne, in Kent. This Appeal is for a very exciting new development providing a visitor learning centre on the site. National Motor Museum, Beaulieu Under the Beaverbrook Partnership the trustees are supporting the development of the film and video archive and general archive. This partnership helps the Museum in caring for and documenting their valuable and important collections.
Blond McIndoe Research Foundation The Foundation's support has enabled the BMRF to refurbish a laboratory into a state of the art Materials Chemistry Laboratory; allowing the BMRF to develop a range of engineered and carefully regulated materials that can be applied to a wound or site of trauma to enhance healing. London's Air Ambulance To support the development of the LAA's Institute of Pre-Hospital Care.

Some of the most significant donations include:

1978 £100,000 to University College Oxford to endow a fellowship in English in the name of the late Lord Beaverbrook
1978 £100,000 to Liver Research Unit Trust, Kings College Hospital to set up a lectureship chair
1979 £250,000 over ten years to RNLI for the Sir Max Aitken lifeboat
1979 £200,000 to The Sir Max Aitken Museum Trust
1982 £350,000 over ten years to RNLI for the Sir Max Aitken II lifeboat
1984 £100,000 The Generation Appeal – medical research at the Paediatric Research Unit into the causes, prevention and treatment of congenital and inherited abnormalities, the ultimate aim being a generation free from genetic disease
1984 £100,000 to the Jubilee Sailing Trust
1986 £50,000 to the Royal Air Force Museum
1986 £200,000 to Sir Max Aitken Museum Trust
1986 £400,000 over four years to RNLI for the Max Aitken III lifeboat
1989 £50,000 to Winston Churchill Memorial Trust – the Lord Beaverbrook Award
1990 £50,000 to Sir Max Aitken Museum Trust
1990 £30,000 to Ocean Youth Club
1991 £100,000 to Battle of Britain Memorial Trust
1997 £75,000 to Battle of Britain Memorial Trust for wall at the Battle of Britain site at Folkestone in memory of Sir Max Aitken (opened on 11 July 1999)


One of the areas that the Foundation has increasingly concentrated on has been supporting small charitable projects. We recognise that it is often more difficult to raise a few thousand to refurbish a church hall than it is to raise millions for a major public building, and our experience shows that it is often the small donations to the small charities that make a big difference.

Charities that have benefitted in the last year from this side of our grant making programme include:

Beaulieu House Blue Cross
Campaign for Drawing Carers First
Cartoon Museum Catholic Children's Society
Charlotte Straker Project Coffee Tots
Earl Mountbatten Hospice Elephant Family
Fire Fighters Charity Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance
Lullaby Trust Maritime Archaeology Trust
Meningitis Research Moorfields Eye Charity
MS Society Naomi House Childrens Hospital
National Autism Society Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice
Royal Marsden Hospital Salvation Army
St Gregorys Foundation The Children's Society
Tildy's Trust Waterside Foodbank
World Sight Foundation BASMOM – Typhoon Haiyan appeal and Iraq crisis
Docklands Settlement Downs Syndrome Association
Key4Life National Osteoporosis Society
SSAFA The Haven