David Forbes-Nixon: “Follow your passion. Your philanthropy has got to be relevant to you.”

David Forbes-Nixon

David Forbes-Nixon worked in the City for 34 years as an investment banker and fund manager. He recently stepped down as Chairman and CEO of Alcentra Group, one of London’s leading asset managers, to focus on his mission — ensuring children and young people with learning disabilities and/or autism can access high quality education and employment.

David’s work, via his David Forbes-Nixon Charitable Foundation, has been inspired by two things: by his youngest son Charlie who has learning and physical disabilities; and by his mother Jacquelin Forbes-Nixon who died of multiple myeloma, a bone marrow cancer, at an early age.

Charlie is my absolute inspiration. He’s really the reason why I set up my foundation in the first place,” said David.

“Through his eyes, I saw how poor the provision for both education and employment is for disabled people in the UK.

“I’m a big believer in following your passion. Your philanthropy has got to be relevant to you. And an obvious thing for me was supporting education and employment opportunities for young disabled people.”

The DFN Foundation’s other major strand of work is on funding research into advancing cures and improving survival rates of myeloma.

“My mother died of this terrible bone marrow cancer called multiple myeloma, and it broke my heart when she died at a very young age.

“And I thought how could I best contribute something to try and find a cure for this disease? So I donated £1 million to Myeloma UK and the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) to set up the Jacquelin Forbes-Nixon (JFN) Research Fellowship.”

Under Dr Martin Kaiser, the ICR research team has undertaken clinical trials using different cocktails of drugs, which are showing extremely promising results already. In one trial, 70% of the patients with a highly aggressive form of myeloma are still in remission three years after starting the clinical trial.