Philanthropist pledges Foundation will change lives for ‘centuries to come’

Philanthropist Steve Morgan has pledged that the charitable Foundation that bears his name will continue changing lives for ‘centuries to come’.

The founder of Redrow was talking on the 20th anniversary of the Steve Morgan Foundation and said he was more determined than ever to keep helping improve the lives of vulnerable people in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales.

In 2020 the Steve Morgan Foundation handed out a record-breaking £27m to hundreds of charities struggling with the impact of Covid-19, helping more than 2.2 million people in the process.

Mr Morgan said: “I’m incredibly proud that we’ve reached our 20th anniversary. The Steve Morgan Foundation is about the millions of people we’ve been helping for two decades and will continue to help for centuries to come.

“2020 was the biggest year in our history because of Covid-19 and I’d like to think it was a case of ‘cometh the hour, cometh the Foundation’.”

In total the Foundation distributed a record-breaking £27m  – including £10m from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport as part of the Community Match Challenge Fund – but Mr Morgan said it was the pace at which the money was distributed that was so crucial.

“We allocated £20m to more than 125 charities in just 59 days,” he said. “I don’t think any other Foundation came close to giving away that amount of money so rapidly. It made a massive difference to some of the most vulnerable people in society when they needed help the most.”

It was back in 2001 that Mr Morgan set up the Steve Morgan Foundation soon after leaving Redrow for the first time.

He recalled: “Before leaving Redrow I gave my last three years’ salary to the Alder Hey Hospital where they were raising funds for a children’s oncology unit.”

In 1998 he helped raise a further £365,000 for the appeal by leading a trek across the Pyrenees, attempting to be included in the Guinness Book of Records. One of the patients in the existing oncology ward was a four-year-old cancer patient called George who ended up changing the direction of his life.

“On the day we were setting off for the Pyrenees a group of children came to Liverpool Airport to wave us off,” he explained. “The ward sister pulled me to one side and said, ‘I’m not sure that George is going to be with us by the time you get back’. On the second day of the walk it was driving a blizzard. It was freezing cold and it was thinking of George that took us through that day.”

George tragically died but was partly the inspiration behind the entrepreneur founding the Steve Morgan Foundation in 2001. The Foundation supports charities that help people with physical or learning disabilities, the elderly, and the socially disadvantaged in Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales.

Five years later Mr Morgan was watching the 2006 FA Cup final between Liverpool and West Ham United at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff when he had a tap on the shoulder.

“I turned around and it was George’s dad,” recalled Mr Morgan. “He said he was so proud of everything we’d done for George. That meant so much.”

Since 2001 the philanthropist has gifted over £300m to the Steve Morgan Foundation to secure its long-term future.

As well as helping thousands of charities the Foundation is the largest donor in history of the type 1 diabetes charity JDRF, having donated £7m.

The Steve Morgan Foundation has also built a new Maggie’s Centre in Clatterbridge Merseyside and will build a second Maggie’s Centre at the Royal Liverpool Hospital at a cost of more than £5m.

“We’ve also funded over 90 minibuses which has enabled thousands of vulnerable people to get out and about,” he said.

“Sometimes you look back and think how quickly the last 20 years have gone but the Foundation is well placed and well funded to help those that need it for centuries to come.”

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