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Marcus Rashford is the youngest person to lead The Sunday Times Giving List

Howard Lake | 26 May 2021 | News

Marcus Rashford - you are a champion. Promotion for the footballer's book.

Footballer Marcus Rashford MBE is in a league of his own as he was ranked the most generous donor in The Sunday Times Giving List 2021.

The England and Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford, aged 23, has become the youngest person to top The Sunday Times Giving List. The annual publication, compiled by Robert Watts, is a measure of philanthropy by the wealthiest people and families in the UK. The ranking is based on the sums donated to or raised for charity against the wealth valuation for those individuals or families.

This year marks its 20th edition. It is published to accompany The Sunday Times Rich List, published online and in the print edition of the newspaper on Sunday 23 May.


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Cover of The Sunday Times Rich List 2021

Rashford and child food poverty

Rashford’s charitable support is all the more impressive in this context given that he appears in the Young Rich List, another element of The Sunday Times Rich List, for the first time this year. His wealth is estimated at £16 million.

His charitable giving includes his principled and high-profile campaign to ensure that children eligible for free school meals would continue to be fed regularly when schools were shut during the COVID-19 lockdown. Twice he had to challenge the Prime Minister Boris Johnson to secure that action by government. His End Child Food Poverty campaign resulted in the British Government changing its approach and committing £400 million to support vulnerable children across the UK, supporting 1.7 million children for the next 12 months.

Javed Khan, Chief Executive of Barnardo’s, said at the time: “This new scheme is a lifeline for vulnerable families who are struggling to feed their families and heat their homes this winter. It will also help prevent ‘holiday hunger’ throughout 2021.”

Acting as an ambassador for food poverty charity FareShare, Rashford’s efforts also generated an estimated £20 million of additional donations to the charity. 

This gives him a Giving Index of 125. This unusual calculation represents the £20 million raised as 125% of his net worth of £16 million. It is a little odd in that sense. For example, if inspiring others to give was part of the equation then the late Captain Sir Tom Moore might have a claim, although he was not of course ever listed in the Sunday Times Rich List.

Lindsay Boswell, FareShare Chief Executive, said: 

“We are delighted he’s been honoured in this way. Marcus’s support for FareShare over the last year — and his commitment to tackling child hunger– has simply been incredible. His own experience of relying on free school meals to eat, brings authenticity and compassion to his campaigning, and his status as a Premier League footballer, means people and politicians sit up and take notice.”

More campaigns for children

Nevertheless, Marcus Rashford’s charitable and campaigning work is far from a one-off. His latest initiative is also based on his childhood experiences. He has launched a book club to get disadvantaged children reading more, with greater access to books. He has persuaded publisher Macmillan Children’s to donate 50,000 books. He read his first book aged 17.

Video: Channel4.com

Having run campaigns to ensure disadvantaged children got enough to eat during a pandemic and have access to books, he is also teaming up with restaurateur Tom Kerridge in his efforts to teach children how to cook.

He has also written a book with journalist Carl Anka which will be published at the end of this month. You Are A Champion shows children how to achieve their dreams and is full of inspiration from Rashford’s life and tips from performance psychologist Katie Warriner.

The Sunday Times Giving List 2021

Rashford is joined by another footballer on The Sunday Times Giving List. Jordan Henderson, the captain of Liverpool, is ranked sixth, to mark his role in raising £4m for NHS Charities Together from fellow Premier League footballers through the #PlayersTogether coronavirus appeal. 

By topping the Giving List Rashford remarkably outperforms the Sainsbury family, who are serial benefactors through a network of family charitable trusts. They, listed under the name of Lord Sainsbury, were ranked second, but did donate £228.7 million, over ten times more than Rashford’s figure. But at 44.66% of their wealth, this was still well below the 125% accorded to Rashford.

Rashford finishes ahead of the Sainsbury family, serial benefactors through a network of family charitable trusts. These trusts gifted or generated for charity just under £230 million in the past year.

Third place on the Giving List was accorded to Jonathan Ruffer, whose Auckland Project is leading the regeneration of the former Co Durham mining town. He gave £62 million in 2020. 

The Sunday Times Giving List 2021

Rank  Name Wealth Donations  Giving Index (amount given to/raised for charity as % of wealth) Main beneficiaries 
Marcus Rashford £16m £20m 125.00 Food poverty, community 
Lord Sainsbury* £512m £228.7m 44.66 Arts, education, humanitarian, heritage 
Jonathan Ruffer £159m £61.9m 38.92 Community, arts, social, heritage 
Dame Janet de Botton* £200m £68.3m 34.13 Arts, heritage, humanities, education, health 
Gabriella di Nora and the Gosling family £200m £54.2m 27.09 Community, education, poverty relief 
Jordan Henderson £25m £4m 16 Covid-19 (NHS) 
Nicolai Tangen £550m £77m 14 Education, culture, arts, climate change 
Sir Chris Hohn £2.5bn £314.3m 12.57 Children’s health, climate change 
David Gilmour £136m £16.6m 12.22 Climate change  
10 Andrew Law £550m £50m 9.09 Education, medical 
11 Tony Travis* £120m £10m 8.36 Community, medical, health, environment, arts 
12 Alan Parker £2.846bn £232m 8.15 Environment, children, homelessness, human rights 
13 Sir Tom Hunter £729m £58m 7.96 Community, social, children, education 
14 Philip and Donna Berber £166m £12.5m 7.55 Education, poverty relief (Ethiopia) 
15 Gerald Ronson* £735m £54.1m 7.36 Medical, arts, education, Jewish 
16 David and Heather Stevens £236m £16.7m 7.08 Covid-19, world development, environment, children 
17 Sir Martin Laing* £194m £12.9m 6.63 Youth, children, homelessness, health 
18 Trond Mohn and Marit Mohn Westlake* £1.259bn £81.7m 6.49 Medical, sports, education, arts 
19 David Blood £250m £13.7m 5.50 Youth, sustainability, education, environment 
20 Lord Edmiston £897m £46.3m 5.16 Christian 
The Sunday Times Giving List is published with The Sunday Times Rich List

*and family. Some wealth valuations are from 2020.

Key changes in The Sunday Times Giving List

Please ensure to cite The Sunday Times Rich List as the source of information in any digital coverage. The correct URL for hyperlinks will be thesundaytimes.co.uk/richlist.  

About the Sunday Times Rich List

The 2021 Sunday Times Rich List is “the definitive guide to wealth in the United Kingdom”. It charts the wealth of the 250 richest people in the UK. 

The list is based on identifiable wealth, including land, property, other assets such as art and racehorses, or significant shares in publicly quoted companies. It excludes bank accounts, to which the newspaper has no access.

The magazine includes several interviews and features, focused on some of the leading players and personalities among the richest 250, as well as a full ranking by order of wealth.  The Young Rich List details the 50 individuals with the biggest fortunes aged 30 or under, and the magazine also includes the top 40 music millionaires

Sir Leonard Blavatnik tops The Sunday Times Rich List 2021

Sir Leonard Blavatnik is the wealthiest of the 171 billionaires in the UK recorded this year, based on his investment, music and media commercial interests. His fortune is estimated at £23 billion, an increase of £7 billion from last year.

He last topped the Rich List in 2015.

The combined wealth of the 171 UK billionaires is £597.269 billion, up £106.582 billion, or 21.7 per cent, on the total wealth of the billionaires in last year’s Rich List. 

The total is an increase of 24 from 2020, a year-on-year increase that is also a record for the Rich List.

Overall, the richest 250 in Britain this year are worth £658.089 billion, compared to £565.67 billion last year, a 16.3% gain.  

Sir James Dyson and family topped the list last year and their wealth increased by £100 million to an estimated £16.3 billion, but he drops to fourth place this year.

Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, ranked fifth in the UK, has seen the biggest rise in wealth of any Rich List name in the past year,  with gains of around £7.9 billion, largely derived from the rise in value of his ArcelorMittal steel-making business.  

Robert Watts, compiler of the Sunday Times Rich List, said: 

“This year’s Sunday Times Rich List found a record number of UK billionaires – up 24 in just 12 months. The global pandemic created lucrative opportunities for many online retailers, social networking apps and computer games tycoons. The fact many of the super-rich grew so much wealthier at a time when thousands of us have buried loved ones and millions of us worried for our livelihoods makes this a very unsettling boom.”

This is the first Sunday Times Rich List to be researched and published during a global pandemic. The vast gains in wealth for some of course contrasts with the personal challenges and devastation that the virus has brought. It has caused nearly 128,000 deaths in the UK, generated a mental health crisis, and brought economic hardship to many, with millions of people placed on furlough, many losing their jobs or businesses. In addition many vulnerable children have faced hunger. So Marcus Rashford’s top ranking on the Giving List is doubtless a highly appropriate result this year.