Two years after Sir Sean Connery passed away, his family has established a foundation to support institutions and organisations in the two countries the late James Bond star called home – Scotland and The Bahamas.
The Sean Connery Foundation has been created by his estate with the goal of accelerating positive change in areas of interest and importance to Sir Sean and his family. Thea emphasis will be on education and ocean conservation with a plan to commit £6mn this year through strategic grantmaking.
Stephane Connery, his son and Chairman of the Sir Sean Connery Foundation, explained:
“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 grantmaking will help young Scots and Bahamians, along with our oceans, to thrive.”
Holly Gordon, formerly Chief Impact Officer at Participant, has been chosen as the Founding Executive Director of the foundation.
The foundation plans to commit £6 million in grants by the end of 2022, including to the following organisations: St Andrews University, Scottish Youth Film Foundation, Scottish International Education Trust, Dyslexia Scotland, Lyford Cay Foundations, Bahamas Reef Environmental Educational Foundation, The Cape Eleuthera Foundation, Girl Rising, and Swift Swimming. Grants have already been made to Race Against Dementia, and Lend A Hand Bahamas. It is not currently accepting unsolicited funding requests.
With St Andrews University, The Connery Foundation is partnering with the St Andrews’ Scottish Oceans Institute to bring together postgraduate and undergraduate students from Scotland and the Bahamas. The students will conduct collaborative ocean research projects on-site with The Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organization.
The Foundation’s support for Dyslexia Scotland will see the Sean Connery Dyslexia Initiative work in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council to help schools provide additional dyslexia and literacy support for children, both at the school and at home. The programme is focused on both learners and educators. Every learner involved will benefit from three sessions per week of personalised or group support from specially trained educators. In addition, the educators will learn how best to respond to the needs of learners with dyslexia and those with other literacy difficulties.
Stephane Connery said:
“For my father, who came from an extremely modest background, learning to read opened the door to a world of endless possibilities. With literacy, hard work, and dedication he was able to forge an extraordinary career. When his beloved granddaughters were identified as dyslexic, Sean became acutely aware that someone can be both highly intelligent and yet struggle to decode language. Just as learning to read opened the doors of opportunity for my father, we hope this programme will help to open the doors of opportunity for children challenged by dyslexia and, in success, be expanded across Scotland with government support.”
Cathy Magee, the Chief Executive of Dyslexia Scotland said:
“I am delighted and extremely grateful to the Sean Connery Foundation for their support with these two exceptionally generous grants. Both the Tutor Bursary Fund, which will enable our specialist dyslexia tutors to provide 2,500 hours of tutoring to children and young people most in need across Scotland, and the ground-breaking Dyslexia initiative in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council will make a significant difference to children and young people with dyslexia in Scotland.”