Sir Vernon Ellis
Philanthropists' Council Member
Sir Vernon has been heavily involved in supporting the arts in particular music, and has served as Chairman of English National Opera 2005–12 (President 2012–). He was Chair of Classical Opera from 1996 to 2009 (currently President); Chair of the National Opera Studio 2012–19 Chair of the Leeds International Piano Competition, succeeding Dame Fanny Waterman, 2015–19; Trustee of the Royal College of Music 2006–10; former Trustee of London Music Masters, Sacconi Trust and the Kathleen Ferrier Awards.
In 2015, he became the inaugural Chair of the Stop MS Appeal Board. This aims to raise £100m over ten years towards MS research and at the half-way point in 2020 when he retired from this role, the appeal had raised £50m.
He has long been interested in how to increase levels of philanthropy in the UK. He took part in the Philanthropy Review in 2011–12. He is leading a major initiative with Beacon Collaborative to bring new philanthropy into Arts and Culture through its impact on health, education, wellbeing and the community.
In 2001 he established the Vernon Ellis Foundation to channel his personal giving. Up to 2020, this has distributed almost £9m. An early major donation was as the lead private support to the restoration of the London Coliseum. The focus now is on the impact that the arts can make on wellbeing, education and the community. Also, through his Foundation, he hosted around 80–90 concerts a year between 2005 and 2017 at his London home in support of musicians’ and music organisations’ development and other fundraising events. In 2013, he was awarded the Beacon award for Cultural Philanthropy.