FUNDRAISING NEWS: Why We Give

Ron Dennis McLaren F1 team boss and co-chairman of Tommy's, the baby charity (shown with wife, Lisa)

How did you first get involved with Tommy's?

I am very fortunate. I am passionate about my business interests, not just the sport but all the other activities the group is involved in as well. It has made me very wealthy. But there was a moment in the period leading up to when Lisa and I lost a child where I would have just given it all away. What I do with Tommy's is the fulfilment of a promise I made to myself to pay something back to the people who tried to save our child's life, and I know Lisa feels the same way.

Do you feel you have succeeded in your goal?

Whenever you get involved with something like this, you ask yourself "Can I really make a difference?

In the past 10 years, Tommy's has raised and distributed more than £20 million, and the research we fund is critical to reducing the number of deaths.

What other causes do you support?

As well as Tommy's, McLaren supports White Lodge, a local charity for handicapped children in Woking where we're based. We prefer to focus our efforts locally and on a national charity rather than responding piecemeal to the five to 10 applications for help that we receive a week.

So you don't consider new approaches?

We have set aside a budget to assist some of the smaller local charities.

We also usually try to help Make a Wish, when people have a desire to meet a racing driver or see Grand Prix cars.

What kind of approach works best with you?

You respond best to people you know who write personally asking you to support their cause.

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