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Philanthropy Sector celebrated in New Year’s Honours List

Beacon looks at the ways in which individuals in the Philanthropy Sector have received commendation from the Queen for their services. This article demonstrates the vital role that philanthropy is playing in the civil society response to COVID.

Ringing in the start of 2021, the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List has been published in the London Gazette. The list celebrates the exceptional service carried out by individuals throughout the previous calendar year and beyond.

In total, there have been 13 individuals honoured with mention of their services to philanthropy by the Queen this year, out of a total of 2,734 recipients. Their awards reflect extraordinary efforts in response to the pandemic, as well as their long-term focus on a wide range of issues in the UK and internationally.

The recipients in the New Year’s Honours List join other philanthropists and charity workers who received commendation as part of the October 2020 cohort, including:

Kofi Adjepong-Boateng, CBE – Chair, Economic Justice Programme & Open Society Foundations;

Fran Perrin, OBE – Founder & Chair, 360 Giving;

Paul Barry-Walsh, OBE – Founder & Chair, Fredericks Foundation;

Hera Hussein, BEM – Founder & CEO, Chayn.

Below, we spotlight an array of recipients in – and aligned to – the Philanthropy Sector, whose recent work has had a transformative impact in people’s lives.


New Year’s Honours List: 2021 Recipients

Caroline Mason, DAME – CEO, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. For services to the Charity Sector, particularly during the COVID-19 response.

As head of Esmée Fairbairn, sector leader Caroline Mason was pivotal in leading the Foundation’s new strategy throughout 2020, tackling climate change, COVID-19 and growing inequality.

I am delighted to accept this honour on behalf of all the excellent people that I work with everyday at Esmée and of all the amazing charities and social enterprises that, against the odds, provide so much inspiration and hope.”


Guy Weston, KNIGHT – Chair, Garfield Weston Foundation. For services to philanthropy and to charity.

Guy Weston has led the Garfield Weston Foundation as Chair for many years and has driven a significant increase in donations. The Foundation now distributes over £80m annually to an array of causes across the UK.

“The honour recognises the tireless effort, expertise and advice Guy has devoted both to the Foundation and the charities it has supported during his 20-year Chairmanship and 35- year role as Trustee.” [Press release, Garfield Weston]


Richard Ross, CBE – Chair, Rosetrees Trust. For services to philanthropy during COVID-19.

Richard Ross qualified as chartered accountant before becoming the Chair of Rosetrees Trust. For many years, his Foundation has invested in groundbreaking medical research, often encouraging other philanthropists to invest alongside him.

Last year, he oversaw the support of 24 medically-related COVID projects. Additionally, he led valuable work with food banks, homelessness charities and the National Theatre.

“It’s a real honour [to receive this award], made possible by a marvellous Rosetrees team, outstanding researchers and my parents who created Rosetrees.”


Carol Mack, OBE – CEO, Association of Charitable Foundations. For services to charity.

Carol Mack has been a champion for more and better philanthropy since joining ACF in 2004. Under her leadership, ACF set up a Funders’ Collaborative Hub last year to facilitate a closer alignment of funders in the COVID response.

“Our members have truly stepped up to the plate in their response to this awful pandemic and I see this award as a reflection of the importance of the role that foundations play in supporting civil society.”


Grant Gordon, OBE – Founder and Chair, The Childhood Trust. For services to philanthropy, particularly during the COVID-19 Response.

Throughout 2020, Grant Gordon led The Childhood Trust in their relentless efforts to ensure that London’s less fortunate children did not fall through the cracks in COVID responses. He has also co-founded Thrive@Five to create a collective impact model for early years development. 

It is a real honour to receive this Award, which is testimony to the commitment by the staff and trustees of The Childhood Trust, in particular during the COVID-19 crisis. The whole team, supported by the generosity of our donors, has worked tirelessly to support London’s most disadvantaged children, listening to and responding to their needs.”


Larissa Joy, OBE – Chair, Social Business Trust and Foundling Museum. For services to the Charitable, Voluntary and Social Enterprise sectors.

Larissa Joy has worked tirelessly to direct the Foundling Museum in their efforts to help disadvantaged children via the Arts. At Social Business Trust, her leadership position has helped social enterprises to scale-up the impact of their missions. She also co-founded Thrive@Five with Grant Gordon (above).


Lyn Shears, OBE – Co-founder, Shears Foundation. For services to charity.

Lyn Shears co-founded The Shears Foundation in 1996, which has since distributed over £12m in grants. Shears backs charities in North East England, the birthplace of Go Ahead, of which late Trevor Shears was Finance Director.


Moira Sinclair, OBE – CEO, Paul Hamlyn Foundation. For services to charity and to the Arts.

Last year, Moira Sinclair oversaw a doubling in the Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s grant-making budget, allowing them to extend support to over 600 charities, CICs and individuals. The Foundation is mission-driven to pursue social change towards a more just and equitable society.

“In a year when so much has been asked of so many, I am honoured to receive this OBE. I know how lucky I am to do a job I love, and to work with and for a sector that plays such a vital role in our society. This will only spur me on to do more, to continue to advocate for the resources and support that are needed to address inequalities and create social change.”


Patricia Napier, MBE – Chair, Baynards Zambia Trust. For services to Zambian communities.

Patricia Napier has had a long association with Zambia ever since she undertook VSO there. She co-founded Baynards Zambia Trust in 1997 to support rural Zambian communities in education, farming, women’s empowerment, and HIV/AIDS prevention. As Chair, she takes a holistic approach to communities, working alongside a local Zambian Foundation as a delivery partner.


Read more about the philanthropic response to COVID throughout 2020 here.