Reubens give charity $100m

The Sunday Times

DAVID and Simon Reuben, who head one of Britain’s wealthiest families, have given $100m (£56m) to their charitable fund.

They are the latest entrepreneurs to donate a large part of their fortune to charity – following the example of several high-profile American entrepreneurs.

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, has given away $26 billion (£14.6 billion) to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which hopes to eradicate diseases in the developing world.

The Reuben Foundation, which focuses on helping medical and educational causes, was set up three years ago – but the size of the fund has not, until now, been publicly disclosed.

The brothers are involved in the day-to-day running of the fund – making the final decision on any donations.

The brothers rank ninth in the Sunday Times Rich List with an estimated £2.5 billion fortune. Although their business empire is now centred on property investment, the Reubens made their original fortune from aluminium mining in Russia and Afghanistan.

The Reuben brothers are part of a new generation of philanthropists. Sir Tom Hunter – a friend of the Reubens – pledged in 2004 to give a total of £100m to the Hunter Foundation.

But according to observers this new generation are more demanding than their predecessors – insisting on returns on their “investment” and bringing the discipline of business to their giving.

In an interview in today’s Sunday Times, Daniel Phelan, publisher and editor-in-chief of Professional Fundraising magazine, describes this new generation as “venture philanthropists”.

He said: “Major donors want a lot more from their giving these days than just the warm, comforting glow that they have done some good. The baby boomers who grew up trying to change the world or the younger entrepreneurs who made their money in the 1980s and 1990s are not prepared to hand over large sums of money to someone else without having some kind of input into how the money is used.”