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Sir John Cass Foundation relaunches under new name of The Portal Trust


The Sir John Cass Foundation has officially relaunched as The Portal Trust: part of its work to acknowledge and move away from its Founder’s association with the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

The Foundation began reflecting on its past and its mission last year, prompted by events in the USA, including the murder of George Floyd, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Following extensive consultation with stakeholders, the new brand was chosen with the Foundation changing its name to The Portal Trust on 27 January, but retaining the working name, Sir John Cass’s Foundation until this week’s relaunch on 27 April. The name change and rebrand was developed by Red Stone.

The last few months have also seen it appoint a diversity consultant, and new governors and ambassadors.

Richard Foley, The Portal Trust’s Chief Executive, explained:

“We’re excited to announce our brand has evolved with a fresh new feel and strapline, that we believe reflects our vision, core proposition and most importantly our valued community.


“For nearly three hundred years the Foundation has pursued ideals of supporting the most disadvantaged within our local community of London. Our new brand name allows us to continue to do that with renewed vigour without reference to our founder’s historical connections with the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Our new brand name of The Portal Trust, which has evolved from our vision to ‘support all’, is a neat summary of all our ideals.


“Our consultation and research told us that the brand needed to be a ‘total refresh’ but also that the Trust itself should be more focused on our community and recipients. Our core philanthropic principles and the importance of inspiring, educating and informing our community take on new life now.


“We will never forget the tragic circumstances that led us here. We have begun a programme of change to redress the hurt caused to our stakeholders and partners. The most visible changes being our new name, the appointment of new Governors, Ambassadors and an independent Diversity Consultant. Our momentum for change continues unabated and The Portal Trust will continue to support those most in need.”

In related news, City University in London is also renaming its business school, formerly the Cass Business School. And, also this month, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, and The Rowntree Society issued apologies for historical ‘deeply disturbing practices’ by Rowntree companies, which saw them benefit from slavery, unfree labour and other forms of racial exploitation during the eras of colonialism and apartheid, and outlined the actions they will take.

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