Meet some of the philanthropists who are making it their mission to give something back. Words by Sophia Charalambous



John Caudwell

The British billionaire is behind Audley Square in Mayfair, a residential development to feature penthouses with eight bedrooms.

The 66-year old, who lives in Mayfair, sold Phones4U for £1.24 billion. He is now estimated to be worth £1.576 billion.

Caudwell set up the national charity Caudwell Children, which organises the annual Butterfly Ball and Float Like a Butterfly Ball.

He was also one of the first Britons to sign up for Bill Gates and Warren Buffer’s Giving Pledge, calling on billionaires to commit at least half their wealth to charity during their lifetime.



Batia Ofer

Batia, the daughter-in-law of the late Sammy Ofer, Israel’s richest man, is a London-based philanthropist working to help a number of different charities.

Chair of the Art of Wishes, a patron of Make-A-Wish UK and Israel, she has been involved with the charity for more than ten years.

Batia, who moved to London in 2013, also oversees the Idan and Batia Ofer Foundation, supporting education and fostering peace in the Middle East.

She also sits on the board of the US Middle East Project, aimed at achieving a dignified settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Sri Prakash Lohia 

Lohia is known affectionately as the “Maharajah of Mayfair” as he has spent around £50 million on renovating a Georgian mansion in Mayfair.

India-born Lohia moved to Indonesia in the early 1970s and it was there that he and his father started a yarnspinning company.

He is now the co-founder and chairman of Indorama Corporation, a diversified petrochemical and textile company, with his worth valuing at around £5.402 billion.

Known for his philanthropy, he donates to the construction of hospitals and medical centres, as well as sanitation infrastructure. Lohia is also looking into how to make his business practices more eco-friendly with processing and recycling.


Sir Len Blavatnik

Despite making his wealth in the areas of investment, music and media, Ukraine-born Blavatnik’s philanthropic conscience led him to pledge $200 million last year to Harvard Medical School – the largest donation the school has ever received.

It is his philanthropic pursuits that led to his knighthood in 2017.

His lucrative Warner Music Group made £442 million profit on £4 billion sales in 2017-18 and Blavatnik is currently estimated to be worth around £14.37 billion.

Also, he has been involved in a Russian oil company, which he sold for $7 billion, and just bought Theatre Royal Haymarket for £45 million.


Anil Agarwal 

India-born Agarwal decided to join his father’s business making aluminium conductors instead of going to university.

Today he controls Vedanta Resources through Volcan Investments, a holding vehicle with a 100 per cent stake in the business.

Alongside another couple of companies, which Argawal has a stake in, he is worth around £10.57 billion.

Agarwal created the Vedanta Foundation in 1992, building hospitals, schools and infrastructure, conserving the environment and funding community programmes that improve the lives of millions.

Inspired by Bill Gates, Agarwal, who has a Mayfair home, has also pledged to donate 75 per cent of his family’s wealth to charity.


Ben Goldsmith

English financier and environmentalist, Goldsmith, 38, and his former wife Kate are understood to have a joint fortune of more than £300 million.

He is the founder and CEO of Menhaden, which invests in energy and resource efficiency.

Goldsmith has previously co-founded the sustainability focused investment WHEB, whose private equity business split away in 2014 and now trades under the name Alaina Partners.

His philanthropic work takes place through his family’s foundation, the JMG Foundation, which he chairs. He is involved in activist environmental philanthropy, and is a trustee of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.


Tessy Antony de Nassau

Tessy is a social entrepreneur, business woman, philanthropist, public speaker, activist, and mother.
She is the founder of the global consultancy Finding Butterflies Consultancy. 
Her commitment to education can also be seen in her foundation – Professors Without Borders – that brings top-level educators and global experts to the doorsteps of students worldwide.
Tessy is an ambassador for UNAids (Global Advocate for Young Women and Adolescent Girls) and is the patron to UNA-UK.
She received the Woman of the Decade award from the Women Economic Forum in January 2017, the Humanities medal for spreading humanistic ideas worldwide and the Global Empowerment Award for her work in Africa. 
She was named “Leader of the Year 2019” by the Leadership Academy in Luxembourg.


Sir Chris Hohn

An English investor and hedge fund manager, Hohn started The Children’s Investment Fund Management (TCI), making long-term investments in companies globally.

Profits generated were proportionately allocated to The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, aimed at improving the lives of children in poverty and developing countries.

It has grown to be one of the largest charities in the UK.

In 2014, he was knighted for his services to philanthropy. An early programme was to improve care for paediatric AIDS, and the foundation played a role in increasing the number of children treated for HIV.


P.N.C. Menon

The Omani billionaire, who was born in India, is the founder and chairman of Sobha Ltd.

After dropping out of college, he left India for Oman to develop his interior decorating business, and he named his company Sobha after his wife.

Sobha, which recently unveiled its global HQ in Mayfair, is an Indian multinational real estate developer for both residential and contractual projects.

In 1994, a year before he started Sobha Ltd, Menon established the Sri Kurumbu Educational and Charitable Trust, in which he adopted two villages in his native Kerala.

In the villages, he helps families with low incomes and provides education to children from 2,500 poor families. Menon and his wife are also part of the Giving Pledge.


Lakshmi Mittal & family

India-born Mittal, 68, who made his money through steel, is close to taking control of his first steel plant in India.

ArcelorMittal is currently the world’s largest steel maker. The Mittal Foundation, based on Berkeley Square, is committed to the advancement of education.

Mittal and his wife partnered with the government of Rajasthan to set up a university, the LNM Institute of Information Technology in Jaipur.

They’ve also donated £15 million to Great Ormond Street Hospital, the largest private contribution the hospital has ever received.

He also founded the Mittal Champions Trust, which supports Indian athletes who show world-class potential.


David & Simon Reuben

The Reuben Brothers came to Britain in the 1950s, originally making money from carpets, property and metal, including the Russian aluminium industry.

Today they are leaders in private equity, real estate investment and development, and debt financing. They are currently estimated to be worth around £18.664 billion.

David (80) and Simon’s (77) real estate holdings include Mayfair’s £300 million Burlington Arcade and a £132 million block in Piccadilly.

Their philanthropic arm, the Reuben Foundation, was founded in 2002 with the aim of making essential contributions to the advancement of healthcare and education around the world.


Sri and Gopi Hinduja

The Hinduja family, which includes Gopi, 79, Sri, 83, Prakash, 73, and Ashok, 68, controls more than 50 companies with a total turnover of nearly £40 billion a year in 2018.

Their current estimated wealth sits at £22 billion. The four men own connected London homes in Carlton House Terrace, bought from the Queen in 2006.

The Hinduja group has stakes in oil, gas, IT, energy, media, banking, property and healthcare, as well as Hinduja Automotive.

The Hinduja Foundation aims to transform the lives of the underprivileged through health and education while promoting and preserving Indian heritage and culture.


Mona Khashoggi

Saudi-born Mona’s love of art started at a young age with her parents who had 16th and 17th century antique furniture.

Today, the art collector has co-founded the Mansoojat Foundation, a UK charity founded to revive and preserve the traditional ethnic designs and costumes of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

A prominent patron of the arts, Mona sponsors young Arab artists, and has served as the Middle East Ambassador to London’s Art14 Fair and Photo London.

She was also part of the events committee of the English National Ballet, Save the Children, Barakat Trust, MAP (Medical Aid for Palestine) and the Al Madad Foundation.



This article was originally published in the Mayfair Times.

Main picture (left to right): P.N.C. Menon, Selma Day, editor of the Mayfair Times, and Gopi Hinduja.

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