Sir John Cass's Foundation rebrands after investigation into slave trade roots

28 Apr 2021 News

Sir John Cass’s Foundation has changed its name to The Portal Trust, as part of work to distance itself from the founder’s connections to the slave trade.

An independent report commissioned by the foundation last year identified “Sir John Cass’s role not just in investing in the Royal African Company, but in his active management of the slave trade from its London base”.

Cass Business School was also renamed this month, and is now called Bayes Business School.

Influence of Black Lives Matter

The foundation said that it had chosen to reflect on its own history after being inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Richard Foley, the chief executive of The Portal Trust, said that the charity had undertaken “extensive consultation” ahead of the decision.

He added: “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 transatlantic 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.”

'Redress the hurt'

The foundation was established in 1748, with a commitment to support education through helping schools and other organisations in London.

It has awarded nearly £18m towards this cause in the last decade, according to its most recent annual report, and holds just under £40m in investments.

Foley said: “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.”

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