We are immensely grateful to the Trustees of the Ernest Hecht Charitable Foundation for their recent grant to Mildmay Mission Hospital.
In view of the coronavirus pandemic's dramatic impact on the fundraising income of so many charities, the Trustees met recently to consider the possibility of further funding to charities with whom the Foundation has had a long relationship. Contract funding from the NHS amounts to roughly 80% of what we need to run our UK hospital, so donations from charitable foundations like this are vital to ensuring its continuing operation.
As the restrictions caused by the pandemic are eased, the Foundation's wonderful £50,000 donation will be invested in our core services and facilities as we plan for the future, eventually restarting our Day Therapy Services when it is safe to do so.
The Foundation was set up in 2003 by Ernest Hecht, one of England’s major independent book publishers. Ernest Hecht was Managing Director and owner of Souvenir Press Ltd, one of the few remaining independently owned major publishing houses in Britain. He was also a legendary figure in the UK publishing industry and was awarded the first lifetime achievement award at the British Book Awards in 2001. He died in 2018, after 67 years of successfully leading the field in independent publishing.
Ernest Hecht was honoured by the Queen in her birthday honours list 2015 by being appointed to the Order of the British Empire – O.B.E – for services to publishing and charity. Various tributes were made to him on his death, including obituaries in The Guardian and New Statesman.
Now in its 68th year, Souvenir Press continues to provide an extraordinarily eclectic programme that includes five Nobel Prize-winners (two for literature), that nestle alongside pioneering books on rock ‘n’ roll, football, and disability, often by writers with alternative viewpoints who challenge conventional wisdom.
These wide-ranging interests continue to be reflected in the Trustees’ charitable decisions. The Foundation’s primary objective is to support the work of UK registered charities by awarding grants that benefit the disadvantaged and promote the advancement of the arts and education. It awards grants that will make a difference in a particular field, especially for the vulnerable, the young, and the elderly.
The Foundation's previous generous donation to Mildmay in early 2020 has enabled the development of an extension/garden room to increase the usable space within the hospital. We will be breaking ground soon on this project, and, once completed, to demonstrate our lasting gratitude for his foundation's support, the new space will be named in honour of Mr Hecht.