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:
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|