Download the Third Sector iPad edition

The charitable side of ... Mohamed Al Fayed

Gemma Ware

Harrods stays mum over its charitable giving, while the boss's generous donations have declined.

Within the first hour of the Harrods sale, all the Gucci shoes in the ladies department had sold out and two customers had had a brawl over a Ralph Lauren jacket. Any leftover charitable Christmas goodwill was well and truly trampled in the stampede of bargain-hungry shoppers.

And if Harrods itself does anything charitable to mark its annual sale, it ain't telling anyone. The Knightsbridge landmark does make donations to children's charities, but a spokesman refused to disclose how much.

But a quick look into the giving history of Al Fayed, the multimillionaire who has owned the store since 1985, reveals he has been a generous donor to children's charities. The Egyptian-born businessman, who also owns Fulham FC, is notorious for a string of failed attempts to gain British citizenship and some high-profile libel cases. However, he has given away millions of his £660m fortune, and in 1987 he established the Al Fayed Charitable Foundation to manage his donations.

The foundation's main beneficiaries are children's charities and hospices for disabled and neglected children in Britain, but it also supports orphanages in Thailand and Mongolia. Among the names are Francis House Hospice in Manchester, Great Ormond Street Hospital and ChildLine. In 1998, Al Fayed bought Princess Diana's old boarding school in Kent and helped found the New School at West Heath for traumatised children there.

But since Al Fayed moved to Switzerland in 2003, the foundation's spending has more than halved. In 2000, according to the Charity Commission, foundation expenditure was £896,170; in 2004 it was £429,313.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Latest Jobs

Forthcoming Events

Leadership in Campaigns

  • Tue 3 Nov 2015 - Wed 9 Dec 2015
  • London

Finance and Performance Management for Grantmakers

  • Thu 17 Dec 2015
  • London
RSS Feed

Third Sector Insight

Sponsored webcasts, surveys and expert reports from Third Sector partners


Expert Hub

Advice on risk from a specialist insurer

Managing cyber risk in the third sector

Liam Greene of Markel explains why cyber risks should be high on the risk management agenda of third sector organisations as incidents hit the headlines with increasing frequency


Expert Hub

Fundraising advice from BT MyDonate

Five low cost tips for creating compelling video content that thrives

No matter what size your budget, there are some simple tips that can help keep costs down