The biennial Beacon Awards celebrate innovative philanthropy in the UK, and we were delighted to be there to see one of our most influential donors receive an award. Hedge fund manager David Harding and his wife Claudia recently established £600k fund with Oxfordshire Community Foundation, adding a local element to their extensive portfolio of charitable giving.
Supported by J.P. Morgan Private Bank, the City Bridge Trust and the Pears Foundation, the Beacon Awards highlight key trends in philanthropic giving and pioneering developments, including the growing trend for donations of money together with time, expertise and social capital to support initiatives all around the UK. The glittering awards ceremony, held at the J. P. Morgan building on London’s Embankment, was hosted by stalwart journalist Kate Adie and celebrated inspirational charity givers who have brought about lasting social change.
During a film shown at the event, guests learnt how OCF supporter and Beacon Award winner David Harding had used advanced mathematics to beat the financial markets, making him a fortune through his company Winton Capital Management, now one of the world’s largest hedge funds. Consistent with his approach to his professional life, David is committed to the notions of risk and the application of data within his philanthropic giving.
Through the David and Claudia Harding Foundation, the Hardings have given patronage to projects that raise awareness of maths and science in Cambridge and Berlin, funded research in the academic world, and have gifted an important new maths gallery to the Science Museum in London. His philanthropy has had a significant impact on projects in the fields of cancer research and sustainability development.
In 2014 David and Claudia established an investment fund with Oxfordshire Community Foundation, leveraging a 50% donation boost through government match funding scheme Community First. This allows them to give to a variety of grassroots community projects happening close to their home in Oxfordshire, which help them use their philanthropy as what David calls “a counterweight to growing inequality”. He says of his philanthropy: “Giving money has been surprisingly satisfactory; you meet people you wouldn’t meet and enjoy experiences you wouldn’t have otherwise enjoyed.”
Collectively, the 17 Beacon Fellows have donated over £300 million to philanthropic causes, across a mix of local and global organisations, large institutions and grassroots charities. The full list of winners can be found here.
Beacons awards Chair Gay Huey Evans commented: “Every day UK philanthropists are having an impact on people’s lives and making our communities better places to live, but they are also creating philanthropic legacies, many of which will endure for decades and centuries to come. Beacon exists to celebrate these philanthropists and spread the word about lessons that can be learned from their success.”