Maggie Evans was a vibrant young literary agent from Oxford, much loved by her wide circle of friends and family. Tragically, after a short but intense illness with depression, she took her own life aged just 29. Her parents and brother created this fund in her name, and work with OCF to make grants that will help children discover a love of books.
Maggie had started a promising career in publishing, which matched perfectly with her love of books and the arts more generally. She was an avid reader and championed children’s books and literature from other cultures. Thanks not least to her Hungarian mother Kati she had excellent language skills, with a degree in Italian, and was fascinated by the challenges of translation (including some famously challenging poets!).
It is these passionate and creative elements to Maggie’s personality that her family and friends were so keen to commemorate after her life ended so suddenly and incomprehensibly. At first Oriel College, Oxford, where her father Bob was a fellow, generously managed donations from friends and family in her memory.
Bob, Kati and Maggie’s brother David cast around for a way to secure and perpetuate this fund. In due course a good friend recommended that they talked to OCF, who could take good care of the funds, and in addition give them access to a 50% match that would add a further £60,000 to the £120,000 already raised.
Following the community foundation model, these funds are invested in an endowment fund that provides a significant and regular yield, which is then used to make grants. In the meantime, the value of the fund is building for the future.
The funds have been used to create Maggie’s Day, an annual celebration of children’s literature at the Story Museum in Oxford. On the day, schoolchildren take part in storytelling and illustration workshops that bring books to life. Previous events have seen Michael Rosen take part as the Pied Piper of Hamelin, and the Story Museum’s artist-in-residence Neill Cameron facilitating a cartoon workshop.
Now the trustees of the fund are looking for new projects, including an annual internship at the Story Museum, and activities for children with special reading needs. With these initiatives, the family hope that Maggie and her story will continue to be remembered.
“Through her fund, Maggie herself has inspired others and provided opportunities to share the things that she loved. We will continue to tell her story.”
- In-memoriam ‘charity-in-a-box’ helping family and friends remember Maggie and her spirit
- Over £100k of donations received to a private fund, which was then transferred to OCF and benefited from a 50% boost via match funding
- Literacy and literature through books and reading
- Exploration of different cultures and other languages through stories and their translation
- A safe and well governed place to keep the funds raised
- Access to significant match funding and professional investment management