The footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaigning to raise money for the fight against food poverty has resulted in him topping The Sunday Times Giving List for the first time.
The Manchester United striker also becomes the youngest person to top the list, published for the 20th time today.
The annual measure of philanthropy among the super-rich ranks the sums donated to or raised for charity against their estimated wealth to rank them according to their generosity.
The Sunday Times reported that the 23-year-old striker’s fortune stood at £16m, but his high-profile lobbying campaign to ensure children eligible for free school meals were fed when schools were shut during lockdown raised an estimated £20m for the food poverty charity FareShare.
This gave him a Giving Index of 125, because the £20m represented 125 per cent of his net worth, putting him top of the list.
Lindsay Boswell, chief executive of FareShare, said: “We are delighted he’s been honoured in this way.
“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 was followed on the Giving List by the Sainsbury family, whose network of family charitable trusts gifted or generated for charity almost £230m in the past year.
In third place was the investor Jonathan Ruffer, who donated £63m in 2020. His Auckland Project has been helping regenerate the former mining town of Bishop Auckland, County Durham.
A second Premier League footballer, Liverpool FC captain Jordan Henderson, also made this year's list due to his fundraising efforts.
Henderson came in sixth place following his role in raising £4m for the NHS from his peers through the #PlayersTogether coronavirus appeal.
This year marks the first time donations tracked by The Sunday Times exceeded £4bn to total more than £4.3bn, marking a rise of more than 36 per cent on the previous year's £3.1bn.
In a statement, the publisher said Covid-19 had fuelled the giving spree, with £520m in donations going to cover PPE supplies, the alleviation of food poverty and community support. This went some way toward filling the estimated £10bn funding shortfall felt in the charity sector as a result of lockdown and other measures during the pandemic.
Donations were also more widely spread than ever before, according to The Sunday Times Giving List, with 182 different people on the Rich List making donations of £1m or more over the course of the year, beating the record of 177 set in 2016.
In addition, the list recorded nine donations of more than £100m and 71 people gave at least £10m, up from 42 recorded in last year’s list.