12th February 2018
Pioneering philanthropist, Ian Marks, who founded the leading independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF), has died peacefully at his home in Margaretting, aged 85.
Tributes have been paid to Ian as a man of vision and determination who changed the landscape of local charitable giving by setting up ECF in 1996.
It was one of the first organisations of its kind in the UK and its aim was to improve the lives of people in Essex by giving support to voluntary groups and charities working at a grassroots level to help those most in need in the county.
Ian Marks CBE DL, inspired many people with his ambition to create a permanent financial resource for the voluntary sector in his home county and, even as ECF went from strength to strength, his mantra was unwavering, “There is still so much more to do.”
He was born in South Woodford and apart from his national service, worked and lived in Essex for all his life.
After graduating from Cambridge, he joined the family confectionery firm, Trebor, which relocated from Ilford to Colchester in 1979. He rose to become its managing director and then, in 1980, its chairman. He was made a CBE in 1993 for services to the food industry.
In 1989 Trebor was sold to Cadbury and Ian went on to devote his life to philanthropy.
Ian’s wife Angela, who shared his vision of galvanising the community to tackle social issues affecting Essex, was unstinting in her support and helped make his philanthropic ambitions become a reality.
When he stepped down as chairman of ECF in 2003, Ian took on the role of president, in recognition of his achievements in establishing such an important resource for the people of Essex.
Since it was founded 21 years ago, ECF has awarded more than £31 million in grants from the charitable funds that it manages on behalf of individuals, families, companies and public agencies who want to make a difference in their local community.
Ian was a modest man who strongly believed that the success of ECF was not down to him alone. It was thanks to those who believed in his vision and everyone involved over the past 21 years; trustees, vice presidents, staff, volunteers, donors and voluntary groups, all working together for the good of Essex.
(L to R: Lord Petre, Jennifer Tolhurst: the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Ian Marks CBE DL, Caroline Taylor chief executive of ECF and ECF's chairman Jonathan Minter DL)
ECF's chairman Jonathan Minter said: “Ian was a philanthropist who was passionate about helping to improve the lives of others less fortunate. His efforts to establish ECF led to the development of one of the leading charitable organisations in Essex. He was our greatest champion and we will forever be grateful for his foresight and generosity and his enthusiasm for our work, which will continue to drive and inspire us to do more.”
Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF said: “Essex Community Foundation and Ian Marks will always be inextricably linked. His vision and wise words of inspiration will live on through the continuing work of the Foundation and the charitable fund that we manage in Ian and Angela’s name.”
Lord Petre, a founding trustee of ECF and who was appointed as the foundation’s president last year, said: “Without Ian there would not be a Community Foundation in Essex. Initially, people were sceptical about the idea, but Ian’s faith and quiet persistence to engage others and gain their support, was unwavering. Since then, many thousands of people living in communities across Essex have benefited from his vision and inspirational leadership.”
Jennifer Tolhurst, the Lord Lieutenant of Essex and Patron of ECF said, “Ian was a true Essex man and had a passion for this wonderful and diverse county. He managed the family business was a champion for the voluntary sector and local community projects. His charitable work extended outside of Essex, across the UK and the world. He was a valued Deputy Lieutenant and will be greatly missed by all who had the good fortune to know him”.
Laura Warren, ECF's first chief executive, who worked with Ian Marks to set up the foundation said: “Ian started it all. Without his belief, that it is local people who have the power to bring change to their own communities, Essex would not have what it has now, a Community Foundation with funds now totalling £40 million, to support local causes in perpetuity. It was my good fortune to be appointed by Ian to spend 15 years as ECF’s founding CEO; he was an inspirational leader - visionary, demanding, enthusiastic, fun, and the most supportive Chairman one could have wanted. He was a very special man.”
Ann Pettifor also penned a tribute to Ian Marks CBE DL, noting the crucial part he played in building and supporting the Jubilee 2000 movement, which persuaded world leaders to cancel the debts of more than 30 low income countries.To read this in full, click here.
Fenella Hardie, Holdfast Credit Union, said: "Our condolences on the death of Ian Marks. Holdfast Credit Union and in particular school children and young people in and around the Witham area and beyond have benefitted from the generosity and vision of the Foundation he established."
Wendy Clarke, My Post Office, said: "So sorry to hear of Ian Marks death as I’ve often passed on my respect and thankfulness that ECF was set up in Essex that didn’t have such a foundation. Keep up the good work in Ian’s name."
Cards and letters of condolence can be sent to the family via the funeral directors, T Pennack & Sons, 1-3 Maldon Road, Great Baddow, Chelmsford CM2 7DW.
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