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"Helping people is contagious": Patricia Caring on blending philanthropy with hospitality

patricia caring
Patricia Caring: blending activism and hospitalityDan Kennedy

Glamorous and glossy, immaculately dressed in the latest catwalk collections with her long, sleek hair coiffed just so, Patricia Caring perfectly fits the bill as wife to one of London's most famous hospitality tycoons, Richard Caring. But while you will, indeed, find her at her husband's clubs – which include Annabel's, Mark's and George – you're far more likely to find Patricia overseeing tree-planting in Brazilian rainforests, or organising meal deliveries to vulnerable communities, through the couple's charity: the Caring Family Foundation.

"Richard and I always had the desire to help – we have philanthropy in our hearts," she explains. "Although we supported many charities, it never felt like we were doing something to help people directly. That's when we decided to create the foundation. We're doers, and we love to get involved. I like to visit our projects, to meet people and get to know them, to feel their emotions and understand where the real needs are for us to support."

The Carings launched the foundation in 2019, with a focus on combatting child poverty, domestic abuse, and deforestation in the UK and Brazil, Patricia's homeland. Since then, they've been instrumental in planting two million trees in the Amazon, supporting more than 10 thousand women and children with domestic abuse services (including a dedicated centre in Brazil) and delivering two and a half million meals to communities in need.

With so much already achieved in just five years, I ask Caring what she's proudest of to-date. "It's hard to mention just one thing, there are so many I can think of," she says. "But one in particular is about a woman that I met at our centre, on one of my first visits to Brazil. This one woman's story stuck with me because of the violence and brutality she and her family had endured for generations. She was in a fragile state when I met her, and having suicidal thoughts. We offered all the support she needed to rebuild her and her daughter's life. When I went back to Brazil, she emotionally shared that she had finally broken free from her abuser, has found economic independence and is now employed. There are still a lot of things she has to work through, but she is in a good place, and she can smile again."

patricia caring visting the caring family foundation
Patricia Caring visting The Caring Family Foundation DANIEL EDUARDO
patricia caring
With the Cuca community in São Paulo, where the foundation delivers aidDANIEL EDUARDO

What is unique about Caring is not just her hands-on approach, but the way she has managed to merge the somewhat unlikely worlds of luxury clubs and philanthropy. As the co-chairwoman of The Birley Clubs, she has masterminded the annual 'Annabel's for the Amazon' event, which supports the foundation's reforestation work; meanwhile, the 'Food from the Heart' campaign, in partnership with The Ivy Collection, provides nutritious meals to children experiencing food poverty and food insecurity across the UK.

"I saw natural opportunities to contribute positively to the areas I'm passionate about," she says. "It started with integrating the foundation into globally recognised days such as International Women's Day and International Day of the Girl, and has gradually evolved over time to larger-scale campaigns. It is now part of the DNA of our business, and there is such enthusiasm from our members and employees for the work we do."

london, england february 18 richard caring and patricia caring attend the british vogue and tiffany co celebrate fashion and film party 2024 at annabel's on february 18, 2024 in london, england photo by jed cullendave benettgetty images
Richard and Patricia Caring at Annabel’s Dave Benett - Getty Images

This year, the foundation plans to unveil a groundbreaking Domestic Abuse Centre in London, which will both address barriers to employment and foster independence. Caring is passionate about enacting tangible change, and the centre will offer real job opportunities through the Employability Readiness course. Some women who benefit from the centre will even be offered jobs within the Birley group. "I am excited to explore the possibilities of taking it a step further, by creating employment opportunities for the women re-entering the workforce within our hospitality business," says Caring. "It's a dream of mine to one day unite the industry in a collective philanthropic effort to help as many women and children as possible."

a group of people standing together
Caring at Bem Querer Mulher in Sao PauloDANIEL EDUARDO

It feels as if Caring, and the foundation, have already achieved so much – but she insists there is a long journey ahead. "There are more children to be fed, more women to reach, more trees to plant and more indigenous families of the Amazon rainforest to help," she says, enthusiastically. "Helping people is contagious and I want to keep working at this pace, building a legacy that my children and their children will carry on into the future. I feel like we are only just getting started."

Learn more about The Caring Family Foundation HERE

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