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Sackler Trust announces suspension of new UK donations

Sackler Trust announces suspension of new UK donations

The Sackler Trust has today (25 March) announced that it is to halt all new giving in the UK following the recent claims in the press that the family’s fortune is linked to the opioid crisis in the US.

The Sackler family has received negative publicity accusing it of links to the manufacturer of opioid painkiller OxyContin, Purdue Pharma. The publicity has seen a number of museums and galleries placed under pressure not to accept the Sackler Trust’s support, with the National Portrait Gallery and the Tate among those reportedly announcing that they would be rejecting the Trust’s donations as a result.

The Sackler family have denied the allegations and today published a statement on the Trust’s homepage from its Chair Dame Theresa Sackler, on behalf of the Trustees, announcing their decision.

It reads:

“I am deeply saddened by the addiction crisis in America and support the actions Purdue Pharma is taking to help tackle the situation, whilst still rejecting the false allegations made against the company and several members of the Sackler family.

The current press attention that these legal cases in the United States is generating has created immense pressure on the scientific, medical, educational and arts institutions here in the UK, large and small, that I am so proud to support. This attention is distracting them from the important work that they do.

The Trustees of the Sackler Trust have taken the difficult decision to temporarily pause all new philanthropic giving, while still honouring existing commitments.

I remain fully committed to all the causes the Sackler Trust supports, but at this moment it is the better course for the Trust to halt all new giving until we can be confident that it will not be a distraction for institutions that are applying for grants.”


Image: Tate Modern

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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