Jonathan Ruffer DL

Beacon Award for Philanthropy in Arts and Culture

City investor and Christian evangelist Jonathan Ruffer describes himself as ‘very Goddy’ with a calling to philanthropy, but only in the last five years of his 30-plus year giving career has he found an approach that feels comfortably right.

“It is about the preposition. It is not about doing good ‘to’ people, or ‘for’ people but doing good ‘with’ people. That is my talisman.”

To that end Jonathan is working to regenerate the depressed North East community of Bishop Auckland, 30 miles from where he was brought up in Stokesley, North Yorkshire, a former mining heartland where the unemployment rate is more than twice the national average.

He is now in charge of a grand plan for putting Bishop Auckland on the global map by creating a world class centre for Spanish art and has created Kynren – meaning family – a £30m spectacular night show, funded from the investment man’s own pocket.  Kynren’s first telling in 2016 attracted 100,000 visitors paying £40 a ticket that will be re-invested. It engaged 1,000 local volunteers as characters and 1,500 are in the pipeline for the next show.