50 Years of Giving

50 Years of Giving

wohl-50-yrsFifty years ago the Maurice Wohl Charitable Trust was established, signifying the beginning of a philanthropic legacy which has made its mark in the worlds of medicine, science, religion, culture, education and welfare. Under the umbrella of this Trust and other Foundations established subsequently, Maurice and Vivienne Wohl devoted their energies to helping their fellow human beings in the UK, Israel and other countries.

To commemorate 50 Years of Giving, the Wohl Legacy has awarded anniversary grants to seven organisations. All organisations receiving grants have been chosen because their work and aims epitomise Maurice and Vivienne Wohl’s philanthropic vision and their passions in life.

The 50 Years of Giving Competition Grants: Arts and Medicine

Maurice and Vivienne’s commitment to the art world was manifested in their superb collection of art and their support of UK institutions. They also had a growing interest in advancing healthcare with an emphasis on medical research. To mark the Wohl Legacy’s 50 Years of Giving, leading institutions in the UK art world and in the field of medicine in Israel were invited to enter separate competitions to receive an anniversary grant. Due to the extremely high quality of the applicants two awards were made in each category.

The Jewish Community

Maurice and Vivienne Wohl were a deeply religious couple who took their responsibilities as Jews very seriously. The reach of their dedication to the UK Jewish community is illustrated by the wide range of facilities and projects bearing their name today. In this anniversary year, the Wohl Legacy is marking this commitment by awarding three landmark grants to Jewish communal organisations.

The National Gallery, London: The Wohl Galleries - renovation of the 19th Century and Impressionist Galleries

Maurice and Vivienne Wohl’s historic association with the National Gallery began in 1990 with the endowment of the Wohl Room and continued when they were made honorary members of the Gallery’s Patrons’ Group at its inception in 1994.

This world-renowned fine art gallery is home to a collection of over 2,300 Western European paintings by major artists from the 13th to early 20th century.

Continuing Maurice and Vivienne’s benefaction, the Wohl Legacy is providing a grant to facilitate restoration works in the 19th Century and Impressionist Galleries (Rooms 41-46). These rooms, among the most visited in the National Gallery, are part of the original 1830s Wilkins building. The renovations will safeguard this internationally important collection, which includes works by artists including Monet, Renoir, Seurat, Degas, Cézanne and Van Gogh. They will also provide optimum natural lighting for the public to view and appreciate these great works of art.


Royal Academy of Arts, London: The Wohl Entrance Hall - the Burlington Project

The Royal Academy of Arts (RA) is recognised throughout the world for its history and the quality of its exhibitions and collections, which span five centuries of British art and architecture.

In 1999, Maurice and Vivienne Wohl’s love of art and appreciation of the RA inspired them to endow the Wohl Central Hall in Burlington House.

With this latest anniversary grant the Wohl Legacy is enabling the most significant change to the RA since it moved to Burlington House in 1867. The Burlington Project will see the restoration and redevelopment of the existing Burlington Gardens site as well as the creation of a link to Burlington House to form a united, cohesive campus.

The new public central link between the buildings and the renovations will create both the access and space needed for the RA to offer a more enriching and welcoming visitor experience, with new amenities including learning facilities, public areas with information on events and exhibitions, and additional galleries for displaying art works.

Most importantly, it will give the RA the scope to support an expanded public programme, allowing it to engage with a wider  audience.



Royal Academy image © Thomas Alexander Photography

Hadassah Medical Organisation and Sheba Medical Centre, Israel: The Wohl Institutes for Translational Medicine

Maurice and Vivienne Wohl were passionate about investing in medical research, knowing that the right projects could have life-changing consequences for their fellow human beings.

However, a major challenge facing medical research today is how to make use of findings emerging from scientific studies for the benefit of patients. The field of ‘translational medicine’ allows researchers and clinicians to take advantage of advanced technologies and knowledge to translate the achievements of research from bench-top to bedside.  Through interdisciplinary collaboration the enormous advances in biomedical science and emerging technologies can be transformed into new therapies to treat diseases.

The Wohl Legacy believes that investing in translational research is vital to truly understanding disease mechanisms. This, in turn, will lead to the development of the most effective and targeted therapies for complex (multi-gene) diseases, such as cancer and degenerative conditions, and will enhance the emergence of personalised medicine. For this reason the Wohl Legacy is providing grants to aid the establishment of two centres of excellence in this field: the Wohl Institutes for Translational Medicine at Hadassah Medical Organisation and at Sheba Medical Centre. These two facilities should provide a dramatic stimulus to translational medicine in Israel to help meet global clinical needs.

Hadassah Medical Organisation

Sheba Medical Centre

Jewish Care, London: Independent Living Apartment Complex

The creation of the enormously successful Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Campus at Jewish Care in Golders Green was the main legacy project funded by the trustees after Maurice and Vivienne’s deaths.

Jewish Care’s vision to create a ‘community within a community’ for the elderly and those in need was a concept which could have come from Maurice and Vivienne themselves and is a fitting memorial to the couple.

Within the campus, demand for apartments at Selig Court, Jewish Care’s first independent living scheme, has been huge, prompting the charity to identify new opportunities for developing this much-sought-after model of housing and care for older people. Independent living apartments give residents who have some care requirements the opportunity to live in their own home, with a support package tailored to their needs and the security of 24-hour carers on site if needed.

To enable Jewish Care to meet this demand, the Wohl Legacy is now providing a further grant to enable the development of 32 independent living apartments on the charity’s existing site in Hendon, subject to planning permission. Alongside the individual apartments, plans include an enclosed garden and a lounge and dining area which will also accommodate a synagogue.



Nightingale Hammerson, London: Dementia Wing Hammerson House

Both in their private and public lives Maurice and Vivienne committed much of their energies into welfare causes.

With a growing ageing population, welfare organisations such as Nightingale Hammerson are now striving to meet a changing need. Elderly people who are physically frailer, with a growing proportion suffering from dementia, need a different kind of care and more specialised accommodation.

In 2009, trustees of the Maurice Wohl Charitable Trust provided a grant to create a new dementia wing at Nightingale House.

To mark 50 Years of Giving, the Wohl Legacy has awarded a further grant to Nightingale Hammerson to enable significant expansion of their Hammerson House complex.  This will increase the capacity from approximately 90 to more than 120 places, and be purpose-built to cater for current needs while also being adaptable to future care demands.  Design features which have been found to help dementia sufferers will include smaller localised communal spaces with sensory rooms, reminiscence areas, multi-media rooms and lounges.


Work Avenue, London: The Wohl Enterprise Hub

‘Helping people help themselves towards making a living’ is the highest form of charity according to Maimonides and a philosophy which Maurice and Vivienne Wohl espoused.

Work Avenue, an employment and business charity operating in London’s Jewish community, epitomises this philosophy. It serves 2,500 people annually by working across the spectrum of the community, enabling people to become financially self-sufficient.

To meet the increasing demand for the charity’s services, the Wohl Legacy is partnering with Work Avenue to create the Wohl Enterprise Hub, comprising 6,500 square feet of shared workspace, meeting rooms, training rooms, offices and a café. The new facility will provide a state-of-the-art infrastructure to enable Work Avenue to support an estimated 6,000 people annually. It will also reiterate to the community the importance of helping people into jobs and sustainable employment.