Leading philanthropist awarded The Rothschild Medal

Thursday 17th May 2012

Peter De Haan has been awarded The Rothschild Medal in recognition of the outstanding contribution he has made to nature conservation over the last eight years.

The support provided by De Haan has enabled an extraordinary range of schemes to support the natural heritage of the UK and beyond, as well as bring people closer to nature.  Highlights include investment in an innovative peatland restoration programme that is to be implemented around the world, pioneering marine conservation, as well as engaging thousands of young people in environmental issues through performances with the National Youth Theatre.

Through a philanthro-capitalism model, De Haan has provided Wildlife Trusts, included those of Kent, Leicestershire & Rutland, London and Yorkshire, with major focused financial support and strategic advice.  Having donated £3.1million, Peter De Haan and the Peter De Haan Charitable Trust is the largest individual donor to The Wildlife Trusts.

De Haan’s funding of the UK Peatlands Programme, for example, began in 2009.  It has been an inspiring exemplar of bringing decision-makers, land managers and scientists together to show how restoring these amazing wild places benefits both nature and makes a significant contribution to combating climate change.  De Haan is credited with bringing the UK peatlands back from the brink.

Working under the IUCN umbrella through the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, De Haan identified that the main barrier to peatland restoration in the UK was co-ordinated action across different communities.  The programme concludes this summer having produced a comprehensive report on the state of the UK’s peatlands, and calls for the complete restoration of this valuable habitat.  Such has been the strength of the advocacy campaign, this ambitious call has been agreed by the devolved governments of the UK.  The next step is to apply this exemplar across the world to reverse climate change, particularly in the peatlands of Indonesia, Russia and Canada.

In 2010 and 2011 De Haan’s Trust instigated a series of new projects with an Environment Challenge Match Fund that distributed £150,000 to a number of organisations in the UK, conserving or creating habitats that support bees and invertebrates, restoring fresh waters to good condition and assisting in the establishment of Marine Protected Areas.

About the Rothchild Medal
The medal is sponsored by Charlotte Lane, daughter of Miriam Rothschild and granddaughter of Charles Rothschild - it was created in the spirit of this remarkable father and daughter.  Talking about her father Charles on Desert Island Discs in 1989, Miriam Rothschild said:  “Before his time people thought you had to conserve rare species and he realised that it was the habitat you had to conserve not the species.  You had to preserve the wood in which the animals lived or the meadows in which they lived.”

The medal in The Wildlife Trusts’ Centenary year
The second Rothschild medal was awarded at The Wildlife Trusts’ centenary celebration at the Natural History Museum on Wednesdasy 16 May.  The Wildlife Trusts’ centenary has provided a focus for reflection on the generosity and leadership of founder Charles Rothschild and the need for philanthropy to support our work protecting wild places and bringing the natural world into people’s lives.

On 16 May 1912 a banker, landowner, naturalist and scientist named Charles Rothschild got together with like-minded enthusiasts to whip-up support for a radical idea: to identify and protect the very best of the UK’s wild places.  Thus began the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves which would later become The Wildlife Trusts movement – the first time that anyone had come up with a vision for nature conservation.

Sponsor of the medal, Charlotte Lane, says:
“My grandfather Charles was an extraordinary man.  He’d be so delighted that his vision for our natural heritage has blossomed under the aegis of The Wildlife Trusts today.  I’m sure he’d find it hugely exhilarating that places he treasured, like Woodwalton Fen, are now part of a wider vision for landscape recovery.  Peter De Haan’s contribution to the same cause has been equally far-sighted – he’s a truly worthy recipient of this medal.”

Speaking about the Peatlands programme and being awarded the Rothschild Medal, Peter De Haan says:
“The government must take notice of this initiative which has the potential to hand down a serious environmental legacy to future generations.  I’m going to keep on at them until they do!  It’s an honour to be awarded the Rothschild Medal, I’ll treasure it forever.  As well as continuing to support Wildlife Trusts, in the future I plan to launch a major campaign to engage young people in this vital work.”

Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, says:
“We must not underestimate the significance of the decisions made by philanthropists like Peter.  At a time when society is at a crossroads and needs to invest in our natural capital more than ever, it is important to acknowledge people who are contributing not just substantial resources, but also ideas and intellect to the movement.”

Simon Bentley, Chief Executive of Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, says:
“Peter De Haan has been brilliant for Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and we have benefitted greatly from the committed support of his Charitable Trust, which has enabled us to build capacity on a sustained basis. As a result we have grown and developed core areas of work plus a wonderfully diverse range of exciting and innovative projects delivering fantastic benefits for local people and local wildlife.  The ‘light touch’ approach of The Peter De Haan Charitable Trust has consistently demonstrated real trust and confidence in us to get on with our ambitious programmes of protecting and enhancing the wildlife and wild places of Leicestershire and Rutland for everyone.”

Rob Stoneman, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, says:
“Peter’s personal commitment to the environment and his generous support of the cause is clear from the tremendous financial support his charitable trust has provided.  Behind the scenes, though, Peter also brings his business acumen to bear helping the various organisations he funds to become more efficient and use their funds more wisely.  I have no doubt that Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is vastly stronger and more effective because of Peter’s support.  He has enabled us to get involved in marine wildlife conservation and take forward wildlife-rich living landscapes on the Pennine Fringe, on limestone grasslands and along Yorkshire’s main rivers.”

John Bennett, Chief Executive of Kent Wildlife Trust, says:
“Peter has given Kent Wildlife Trust around £375,000 to cover the launch of our marine work funding full-time our first marine officer Bryony Chapman for six years.  He made a direct and irreplaceable contribution to the development of our 2,300 acre woodland complex supporting as a stand-alone funder land purchase and providing match funding for a major HLF restoration project of £1.7m.

“Peter’s support came swiftly, was focussed and he imposed simple reporting requirements.  When we were hoping to make a major strategic land purchase in a hurry, Peter’s Trust backed our bid at short notice to the tune of several £100,000s.  Unfortunately we were out-bid at auction. Peter’s interest moved to Trusts needing significant, direct support to help their growth.  This was how he made a valuable contribution to the strength of the partnership.”

Carlo Laurenzi, Chief Executive of London Wildlife Trust, says:
"Peter de Haan gave us an enormously generous grant over a number of years. His significant contribution allowed us to expand our conservation work on, for example, climate adaptation and policy development.  He gave a huge boost to the management of the Trust’s top 12 reserves such as Saltbox Hill, a wonderful chalk grassland Site of Special Scientific Interest.  Peter also provided core funds to allow the CEO and Executive Assistant to develop a number of initiatives including: working with local authorities and central government; developing new areas of work, such as Olympics engagement, and London Wildlife Trust's role in the establishment of the UK-wide Peatlands project - of which we are very proud."

Notes for editors:

Peter De Haanwww.pdhct.org.uk

Peter De Haan is a businessman and philanthropist.  He is the founder and Chairman of The Peter De Haan Charitable Trust and the Chief Executive of leading creative network IdeasTap.

In autumn 2009, after noticing the lack of opportunities for young people at the start of their careers as his children graduated, Peter decided to launch online arts charity IdeasTap.  Now an independent charity with over 63,000 members, IdeasTap helps young creatives at the start of their careers.  In spring 2010 in response to the financial crisis Peter pioneered an innovative model of collaborative working for UK arts charities dubbed Under One Roof, whereby organisations share premises, resources and ideas in order to expand.

Previously, as Chief Financial Officer at Saga, Peter gained vast experience in direct and affinity marketing across areas of holidays, publishing and financial services.  Selling his share stake in 1999, Peter set up various businesses and the charitable trust, now specialising in youth, arts and environmental projects. The Peter De Haan Charitable Trust has donated over £18,963,000 to the benefit of over 520 organisations since it was constituted in 1999.

As an advocate of the philanthro-capitalism model, Peter was recently quoted in the Government White Paper on Giving.

The National Youth Theatre, in 2010, launched a three-year ‘Environmental Trilogy’ of national, large-scale, mass participatory productions; S’warm, SLICK and Flood.  Exploring the notion of science informing art, these unique projects have grown in scale and spectacle each year in the run up to 2012.  The Environmental Trilogy has positively engaging thousands of talented young people and the communities at large that the productions are staged in with issues of climate change, global warming and sustainable energy.

http://vimeo.com/33734827 The Wildlife Trusts have assisted in the thinking behind the trilogy and used the performances to raise awareness about the message.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature Peatlands programme – for more information see http://www.iucn-uk-peatlandprogramme.org/commission/findings

Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust’s osprey project: http://www.ospreys.org.uk/

The image available for use with this news release is granted on a one-time use basis, in association with this release and the photographer, Chris Taylor, must be credited.

Caption: Rothschild medal sponsor, Charlotte Lane, with recipient, Peter De Haan.

Tagged with: Centenary & anniversaries