Sackler Trust halts donations in UK

pharmafile | March 26, 2019 | News story | Manufacturing and Production Sackler Trust, arts, culture, donations, funding, gallery, sackler 

The Sackler Trust has announced it is suspending all new donations in the UK amid negative publicity linking the family’s fortunes to the opioid crisis in the United States.

The move comes after the National Portrait gallery turned down a £1 million gift from the Sackler Trust. The Tate group of galleries later said it would no longer accept donations from the trust.

The Sackler Trust has given £60 million to a variety of organisations since 2010. However the family faced criticism after photographer Nan Goldin, who became addicted to oxycodone after ebing prescribed the drug for a painful wrist.

Dame Theresa Sackler, Chair of The Sackler Trust commented: “I am deeply saddened by the addiction crisis in America and support the actions Purdue Pharma is taking to help tackle the situation, whilst still rejecting the false allegations made against the company and several members of the Sackler family.

The current press attention that these legal cases in the United States is generating has created immense pressure on the scientific, medical, educational and arts institutions here in the UK, large and small, that I am so proud to support. This attention is distracting them from the important work that they do.

The Trustees of the Sackler Trust have taken the difficult decision to temporarily pause all new philanthropic giving, while still honouring existing commitments.

I remain fully committed to all the causes the Sackler Trust supports, but at this moment it is the better course for the Trust to halt all new giving until we can be confident that it will not be a distraction for institutions that are applying for grants.”

Will Gompertz, BBC Arts Editor added: “The Sackler Trust has gone from being a respected and generous philanthropic donor to the arts to being something of a headache for those it supports.

Arts bosses and their trustees have been weighing up if the financial benefit of a Sackler gift is worth the reputational risk (and associated hassle that comes with it).

The National Portrait Gallery, and the Tate have both decided it is not. For those institutions who were still unsure what to do, the announcement today by the Sackler Trust that it will “pause” all donations forthwith has made the decision for them.”

Louis Goss

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