The Caring Family Foundation generously stepped up to support UNHCR’s lifesaving emergency work in response to the war against Ukraine in 2022 and 2023’s devastating earthquakes in Türkiye-Syria. As co-founder of the Foundation with husband, Richard Caring, we sat down with Patricia Caring, to learn more about what philanthropy means to her.
Tell us a bit about yourself
Born in Brazil and having lived in the UK for over ten years, I have forged a strong bond with both countries. A mother of four, I’m acutely aware of the importance of building a better future for the next generation and it’s this personal connection that drives and inspires the work we do at The Caring Family Foundation. Our work spans both Brazil and the UK, focusing on three critical issues: child poverty, domestic abuse, and reforestation, and when global crises arise such as the conflict in Ukraine and natural disasters in Syria and Türkiye, we extend our support to help families and children in need.
My journey of giving back is more than just a mission; it is a heartfelt commitment to fostering positive change and making tangible and enduring differences in my two beloved homes. I am passionately dedicated to supporting initiatives that empower women, protect children, and safeguard the environment.
In my role as Co-Chairwoman at The Birley Clubs which comprises of five private members clubs in Mayfair, it is also my mission to inspire the hospitality industry to embark on their own philanthropic journey. It is an honour to be able to include our employees, members and guests in our work and I am hugely proud of the socially conscious community that we have created with our business. It not only allows them the opportunity to give back, but they have a sense of pride knowing they are part of a meaningful movement.
What inspired you to take the step into philanthropy?
My path into philanthropy is a deep-rooted seed in my heart. It has always been there, and I am lucky to have a partner who shares the same sentiment of compassion and a sense of responsibility. Over the years, my husband Richard and I received numerous requests for charitable donations. We were always eager to help, but there was a persistent question about how effectively our contributions were reaching those in need, and it was this uncertainty that ignited the idea of establishing our own foundation.
The Covid-19 pandemic was a pivotal moment for The Caring Family Foundation that spurred us into action. It was a time of global crisis that exposed the extent of deprivation and child poverty on a wider scale. And being a mother, seeing the heartbreak and hardships faced by mothers and children resonated deeply. We realised we couldn’t stand by, we had to act.
During the pandemic, our Million and One Meals campaign galvanised our employees and volunteers to help prepare and distribute over a million meals to NHS key workers and as restaurants reopened, our commitment to ending hunger continued with the ‘Food from the Heart Campaign’ in the UK and later, ‘Amor Que Nutre Campaign’ in Brazil. Together, we’ve provided close to 2.5 million meals and have continued our work to deliver meals to communities in Sao Paolo and across the UK.
In Brazil, the circumstances women face due to domestic abuse is heartbreaking and an issue that is widespread. Throughout the pandemic, I heard from my friends about the increase of cases, and I just knew I had to do something. When we got the opportunity to partner with ‘Bem Querer Mulher,’ a refuge for women and children fleeing domestic violence, we built a centre from scratch with the aim to provide comprehensive support, including medical, social, psychological, housing, and legal assistance. To date, we’ve delivered almost 19,000 services, and our goal is to replicate this model in the UK in 2024 to offer vital support to victims in need.
On a more global scale, while our current reforestation work centres on the Amazon rainforest, our work benefits the planet. With my children and their futures in mind, we set out to reforest parts of Brazil’s rainforests to help the fight against climate change. It was during our work that we realised planting trees is hugely important but what can really make a difference is the protection and support of the indigenous families of the rainforests. We are on track to planting 2 million trees, but this has also created jobs and sustainable ways of living for the indigenous communities, so that they have the resources they need to go on to protecting the Amazon rainforest for us all.
What made you choose to support UK for UNHCR so generously?
The decision to support UNHCR aligns with the mission of The Caring Family Foundation, to make a positive impact on global issues.
Our support for the Ukraine emergency and the Türkiye-Syria earthquakes was not something we could pass on. With so many children and families affected, it was an instinctive feeling to offer our support. UNHCR are experts in standing with those who face the most challenging of circumstances and we recognise that their work plays a vital role in ensuring that those who have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict, persecution, or natural disasters, receive the assistance and dignity they deserve.
Together we have provided hundreds of thousands of people with lifesaving supplies such as food, medical supplies, blankets, and baby kits. The funding has also provided safe spaces, ‘blue dot centres’, for children and provided mental health and psychosocial support. These centres also work to identify unaccompanied and vulnerable children to reduce the high risk of child trafficking. 100 per cent of The Caring Family Foundation’s donation has directly supported children and families in Ukraine and we are so proud to work alongside UNHCR in creating a safer and more compassionate world for all.
Do you have any advice for those looking to start their own philanthropic journey?
My first piece of advice for those starting their philanthropic journey is simply to start and do what you can, because even the smallest of acts can have a ripple effect to touch someone’s life. Philanthropy is not just about giving money, giving your time is also valuable. There are so many charities that are in need of volunteers, there may be a skill that you can offer, or lend a listening ear and sometimes, even this could mean a lot to someone.
Be humble and have an open mind. Your philanthropic journey can make a difference and inspire others to join you in making the world a better place. My belief is: if I can save just one life or one family, it makes everything we do worthwhile.
UK for UNHCR is enormously grateful for The Caring Family Foundation’s extraordinary support for our emergency work and for their continued support for displaced and marginalised communities across the globe.
If you would like to find out more about our philanthropy programme, you can do so here.