The History of The Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust (EKCT)
The founder of the Trust, Ernest Kleinwort (1901-1977), was educated at
Cambridge, and was a partner and former Chairman of the old established
banking house of Kleinwort, Sons & Co. and with his considerable input
they merged in 1961 with Robert Benson, Lonsdale Ltd to form the Kleinwort
Benson Group. Today the bank is part of the Société Générale Group
and is known as Kleinwort Hambros.
In the 1960’s he played a vital role during the formative years of what
was known as the World Wide Fund for Nature. He assisted with their
development, serving on the advisory panel of, and then as a Member of the
board of trustees, of the ‘British National Appeal’, later to become WWF –
He was also a member of the Board of trustees of WWF International until
his death in 1977, working alongside HRH the Duke of Edinburgh and the
late HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands.
For his services to Nature Conservation, Ernest was made Commander of
Order of the Golden Ark in 1974, a Dutch Royal honour.
The Trust has had three Chairmen since inception, Patrick Pery, 6th Earl
of Limerick (deceased), Sir Simon Robertson and the current Chairman Lord
Chandos. With the serving trustees they have ensured that the original
guidelines to support the conservation of wildlife and the natural
environment, the encouragement of youth enterprise and out¬door activity
and charities in the county of Sussex have been maintained to this day.
Since 1988, EKCT has donated over £36.8 million to such causes, averaging
£1.31 million per year.