Sean Connery Foundation to donate millions in Scotland and the Bahamas in memory of Edinburgh-born actor
The Sean Connery Foundation, announced to coincide with the second anniversary of the James Bond star's death, will focus on supporting education and ocean conservation projects in the two countries. It is expected to distribute an initial £6 million in grants by the end of this year.
St Andrews University, Dyslexia Scotland, the Scottish Youth Film Foundation and the Scottish International Education Trust, which Sir Sean established in the 1970s, will be among the initial beneficiaries. Stephane Connery, the stepson of the Edinburgh-born actor, will chair the foundation.
He said: “After two years of reflection, research and discernment, we have chosen to focus on the communities that Sean loved and on issues that reflect his beliefs, passions, and legacy. Above all, Sean believed that education was a force-multiplier and was most concerned that children from disadvantaged backgrounds, like his own, be given opportunities to succeed.
"Thanks to Sean’s gift, we dearly hope that our family’s grant making will help young Scots and Bahamians, along with our oceans, to thrive.”
The funding for St Andrews University, which previously worked with Sir Sean on a film charting its history, will help pay for its Scottish Oceans Institute to bring together postgraduate and undergraduate students from Scotland and the Bahamas for a new research project. The Scottish Youth Film Foundation’s funding will support its education work in schools, outreach projects that reach students in need and its annual festival. A new Sean Connery Dyslexia Initiative, to be run by Dyslexia Scotland and Edinburgh City Council, will allow hundreds of children with dyslexia or learning difficulties to access specialist teachers and tutors at home and school.
Bahamas-based projects include Lyford Cay Foundations, an out-of-school “enrichment programme”, the Bahamas Reef Environmental Educational Foundation, the Cape Eleuthera Foundation, which aims to develop a new generation of leaders in social, environmental and economic stability, Girl Rising, which focuses on the education and empowerment of girls, and Swift Swimming, which works with schools to provide water safety lessons and ocean literary workshops.
The Connery family has previously announced support for Race Against Dementia, which was set up by former motor racing champion Sir Jackie Stewart, and community development initiative Lend a Hand Bahamas.
Jason Connery, Sir Sean’s son, said: “We’re so pleased to announce the organisations receiving grants from the foundation in honour of my father's legacy. Each group is doing such important work with integrity, excellence and commitment. These are the values my dad passed on to us.”
Edinburgh City Council education convener Joan Griffiths said: “This is an amazing gift, which is resulting in a significant increase in our support for individual learners. We’re also increasing staff training and developing groups for parents, so they feel more confident and informed about how to support their child’s needs.”
Dr Julie Oswald, senior lecturer at the Scottish Oceans Institute, said: “We’re very excited to receive funding from the Connery Foundation for marine science in the Bahamas. We will teach students from the UK and the Bahamas in an environment that allows for mutual cultural exchange and appreciation while addressing critical questions for marine conservation.”
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