Out of Bermuda’s World Cup tears, a fund to help players
If you’ve ever been unclear about how community philanthropy works, consider the Marshalls’ football fund.
Former senator Charles Marshall, MBE, JP, is now in his eighties. He left school at the age of 16 and became an apprentice at the Bermuda Electric Light Company.
His passion in life was sport, particularly football, and he became a respected referee and leading light in football’s governing body, the Bermuda Football Association. Along the way, Charlie (as everyone affectionately calls him) and his wife, Lesley, also built successful businesses in electrical contracting, communications and electronics.
In anyone’s language, this is a story of hard work and accomplishment. The Marshalls had done really well for themselves and their family — but they decided to do more with their success.
Charlie recalls how, about 30 years ago, Bermuda came as close as it had ever been to participating in the World Cup, football’s most prestigious international tournament. But instead, without funds and in deep debt, Bermuda found itself facing a five-year ban from international competition.
There and then, Charlie resolved that if he ever had the means, he would set up a fund to assist players to reach their full potential and help Bermuda to achieve its best on the world stage. True to his word, the Marshalls invested $1 million to create the Charles E and Lesley Marshall Fund for Football, managed since 2017 by the Bermuda Foundation.
The Marshalls believe that sport builds character and self-discipline, benefiting young people as they embark on their journey through life, including their careers. Since inception, their fund has disbursed 41 grants, totalling $178,000, to 20 different organisations. This year they made contributions for equipment and uniforms to enable clubs to keep their programmes going. The fund also supported the Clyde Best and Josef F Gooden Football Academy, and covered the cost of training and trials overseas for 11 talented and academic young students aged 14 to 18.
Charlie and Lesley Marshall leveraged financial success to benefit their community. Pure community philanthropy. This thoughtful generosity will be their legacy.
Submitted by the Bermuda Foundation to acknowledge the start of the giving season: National Philanthropy Day (November 15), Community Foundations Week (November 15-19) and Giving Tuesday (November 30)