Charity's income rockets 230-fold after record donation

A City financier has given £230m to a charitable foundation run by his wife, in what is thought to be the largest ever donation by a Briton in a single year.

Chris Cooper-Hohn, 40, gave the sum to venture philanthropy organisation the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, which aims to help children in the developing world by applying business rigour to development issues. The donation took the charity’s income from just over £1m in 2004/5 to more than £230m in 2005/6.

The foundation’s expenditure for 2005/6 was less than £6m, which included nearly £3m to the Clinton Foundation’s HIV/AIDS initiative, despite the large influx of cash. Gerry Elias, a friend and advisor to Cooper-Hohn and his wife, Jamie, said the discrepancy arose because of the speed at which the foundation had acquired income.

“The nature of the industry is that money is made rapidly but there is no lack of enthusiasm at all to apply the funds,” he said. “Jamie never expected to have the resources she now has but we are gearing up to take on more projects.”

Cooper-Hohn founded hedge fund the Children’s Investment Fund, one of the most successful in the City, having $10bn under management less than five years. It is understood that he donated £50m to the charity on a previous occasion.

Elias said it had been a “difficult decision” to make the size of the Cooper-Hohns’ donations public, but it had been taken to inspire other potential philanthropists.

He said: “In an ideal world they would be would be anonymous givers. Giving is what makes them get out of bed in the morning and makes Chris perform at the fund.”

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