Barbados benefits significantly from the generosity of non-nationals who give to local charities and augment critical government initiatives. These many globally influential and wealthy non-Barbadians have established homes and businesses here. Recent research estimates that non-national philanthropists have contributed in excess of US$100 million to social programmes in Barbados over the last 10 years. Some significant impacts include:

COVID-19 Response

In 2020 and 2021, over US$13 million was contributed to Barbados’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic by The Maria Holder Memorial Trust, Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor, John Magnier, J.P McManus and the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust, including PPE, respirators and vaccines. In March 2020, The Barbados Community Foundation, funded primarily by non-national donors, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic provided basic needs support for those who lost income sources, purchasing and distributing PPE and medical equipment and supplies, and implementing food security strategies.


The Substance Abuse Foundation Inc. established its treatment centres at Verdun House in June 2000 and Marina House in October 2015. They are a leading internationally accredited health institution, providing critical intervention and recovery services to individuals suffering from the disease of addiction. The Julia and Hans Rausing Trust has provided major support to the organization for over 20 years. Marina House was made possible by a gift from The Maria Holder Memorial Trust. The Diabetes and Hypertension Association of Barbados and the Maria Holder Diabetes Centre for the Caribbean was funded by the Medicore Foundation and is still supported by The Maria Holder Memorial Trust. Major funding has gone into this, and diabetes is a severe crisis in the Caribbean, especially in Barbados. In 2017, there were 38,800 cases of diabetes in Barbados (International Diabetes Federation, 2021).

Maria Holder Memorial Trust donates two ambulances to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital


The Maria Holder Memorial Trust has made a significant contribution to the development of Early Childhood Education in Barbados. The trust committed to constructing six additional schools after the first was completed at Sharon in St. Thomas. This was done in order to assist the Barbados Government in providing universal nursery education to students from ages 3 - 5. Three schools have been completed to date, The Maria Holder Nursery at Oldbury, The Maria Holder Nursery School Gall Hill, and The Maria Holder Nursery School Government Hill. The other three schools are currently in the planning stages. So as to complement the Schools, the Trust also funded the training for 76 Teachers with a postgraduate certificate in Early Childhood Education.

Students of The Schoolhouse for Special Needs tend to their garden


The Sandy Lane Charitable Trust (established in 2005) has a singular mission, “helping the underprivileged children of Barbados” by whatever means necessary. Whether it is through health care, education or community programmes. The Trust spends US$2.5M per annum supporting these initiatives and investing in innovative capital projects, which include the Thelma Vaughn Respite Centre for severe brain injured children, the Thrive Family Centre (the first purpose-built child psychiatric unit in Barbados), and the Sunshine School (a school for children with special needs from age 1-11).

The Nightingale Children’s Village was created by the Barbados Children’s Trust (established in 1997 by Sue Magnier, Lady Carole Bamford, Yvonne Brewer and Sue Sangster), to provide a caring, safe and stable residential community for children under the age of 12, unable to live with their own families due to disability, addiction or family breakdown.

With the generous support of the LesLois Shaw Foundation, The Centre for Global Child Health at The Hospital for Sick Children, the SickKids Foundation in Toronto and the Government of Barbados, the University of the West Indies and the Barbados Community College have launched a new partnership to positively impact the health and well-being of children in Barbados. Program activities are focused on elevating education, clinical care and research.

Improving Life for the Deaf in Barbados

The Calypso Project is an international collaboration providing growth, development, and engagement opportunities for the Deaf Community in Barbados. The aspiration is to encourage not only Barbadian community empowerment, but also provide inspiration to deaf people worldwide through the medium of music and visual arts. The genesis of this project can be attributed to Ken Carter of Decibels, a UK-based deaf charity. Calypso is the brainchild of Ruth Montgomery, a professional deaf flautist and the Creative Director of the UK-based charity Audiovisability. Ruth was introduced to the Barbados Deaf Community by Ken in January 2018.

Barbadian deaf community rehearses for Calypso Project concert

Over a 9-month period between March and November of 2022, the Bajan deaf community worked through practical training sessions in collaboration with internationally renowned deaf musicians and artists such as rapper Warren ‘Wawa’ Snipe and US deaf songwriter, Sean Forbes. This practical element of the project has had a significant impact on the networks, organisations and individuals involved, ranging from the macro level of management to more personal aspects of deaf community members in Barbados gaining/retaining employment.

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Third Sector Ecosystem

The Aspire Foundation (Barbados) Inc. (a local charity established in 2016) - with start-up support from The Maria Holder Memorial Trust, Michael and Jania Geoghegan, and The Peter & Jan Boos Family Foundation - works with charities and non-profits through its Incubator Programme to increase their operational effectiveness and to ensure sustainability.

Other Beneficiaries

Other charities in Barbados benefitting from the philanthropy of generous nonnationals include: The Barbados Council for the Disabled, The Barbados Cancer Society, The Diabetes and Hypertension Association of Barbados, The Barbados Alliance to End Homelessness, QEH, UWI, and Pinelands Creative Workshop.

The Future

More substantial and closer collaboration between non-national philanthropists and our local communities and charitable organizations will be transformational as we work together to strengthen the island’s social capital and achievement of social justice for the common good.

There are many opportunities for non-national and national philanthropists to partner to address social issues. The SocialSolar RE Fund and BarbadosHelps crowdfunding platform are two projects in development that will have a significant impact by providing financial resources to eligible charities and non-profits.