Footballer Marcus Rashford has become the youngest person to top The Sunday Times Giving List – the annual measure of philanthropy among the very wealthy.
The ranking sets the sums donated to or raised for charity against the Rich List wealth valuation for those individuals or families.
Rashford, who also appears in the Young Rich List for the first time with a fortune put at £16m, successfully lobbied the UK Government into a U-turn over its free school meals policy during the coronavirus lockdown, ensuring children in need would receive free meals throughout the summer.
The 23-year-old was awarded an MBE in October 2020 for services to vulnerable children during the pandemic and has since formed a child food poverty task force, linking up with some of the nation’s biggest supermarkets and food brands.
Acting as an ambassador for FareShare, Rashford’s efforts triggered an estimated £20m of additional donations to the food poverty charity. This gives him a Giving Index of 125 – the £20m representing 125 percent of his net worth of £16m.
“We are delighted he’s been honoured in this way,” said FareShare chief executive Lindsay Boswell. “Marcus’ 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.”
Rashford relied on free school meals for breakfast and lunch for years during his childhood. As the youngest of five children, his mother worked three jobs to put food on the table — and it still wasn’t enough.
“My mother worked full time, earning the minimum wage, to make sure we always had a good dinner at the table, but it wasn’t enough,” Rashford told the BBC.”We bought seven yogurts for a pound, so we could at least eat one of them a day.”
The Manchester United star addressed his childhood hunger in a heartfelt letter he wrote to his 10-year-old self: “the noise your stomach has been making, will one day be replaced with the noise of crowds chanting your name.”
For the first time, donations tracked by The Sunday Times exceeded £4 billion, representing a 36.1 percent increase from the previous year.
The Sunday Times Giving List recorded nine donations of more than £100m and 71 gave at least £10m, up from 42 recorded in 2020.