UK’s most generous donor urges wealthy ‘to step up and give more’

Chris Hohn, who has been named the most generous philanthropist in the UK, has called on the wealthy to boost their support for good causes.

Hohn is this weekend being named the UK’s most generous philanthropist in The Sunday Times Giving List, which has been compiled with Charities Aid Foundation and is being published as part of the newspaper’s Rich List, focusing on the wealth of the 350 richest people in the country.

The hedge fund manager has topped the rankings by giving away more than 15% of his current wealth through structuring his firm Children’s Investment Fund so that profits go to its foundation.

According to the Giving List he gave away more than £755m in 2021, which is £2.1m a day or £86,000 an hour.

In a message to wealthy individuals, he said: “If they could understand, even on a simple level, the joy they could have by sharing it [their wealth], I think they might all be happier people”.

He added: “Even for those who are into philanthropy they are only giving away a half per cent of their wealth. They’re not really doing more than tokenism.”

A top concern of Hohn is climate change which he described as “the greatest crisis of our times” as poor countries are struggling to grow food now because of heat waves, flooding and extreme temperatures”.

The Sunday Times Rich List this year reveals that seven of those ranked game more than £100m over the last year and 42 gave £10m or more. In addition, 90 gave £1m.

Others listed include musician Elton John, who gave just under 7% of his wealth to HIV/Aids, medical, humanitarian and arts charities.

“The effect of high-net-worth individuals giving is extraordinarily beneficial and I applaud it,” said Charities Aid Foundation chief executive Neil Heslop.

He added that Hohn “is an example of the trend we are seeing, someone who has already given a great deal yet continues to respond to the world around him by giving more”.

“The cost-of-living crisis and rising inflation continue to increase costs for charities and many more are relying on their vital services, at a time when the general public are reducing their donations. It is more important than ever that those who can afford to give, encourage others to join them in giving more”, said Heslop.

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