Lewis Hamilton backs new Mission 44 equality charity with £20m donation


Lewis Hamilton's Mission 44 charity aims to support young people from under-represented backgrounds, with funding from the seven-time F1 champion as well as his sponsors

Lewis Hamilton with actions speak louder than words t-shirt

Andrej Isakovic/AFP via Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton has pledged £20m of his fortune to launch a new charitable foundation, Mission 44, to help young people from under-represented backgrounds achieve their ambitions.

It will offer support to work in sectors where there is currently little diversity — not just in motor sport — and will target those in under-represented groups who are at risk of being left behind in society.

As part of its work. Mission 44 will partner with organisations and programmes to create more opportunities in education and employment.

Hamilton’s brand partners and sponsors will also contribute to the foundation, which has been set up following the recommendations in the Hamilton Commission report on diversity, commissioned by the seven-time World Champion.

“For 15 years, I have remained one of the few Black employees within Formula 1”

It found evidence of reduced opportunities and limited role models for young Black students in schools, which restricted their employment chances.

The report called on these factors to be addressed in order to offer under-represented groups an equal chance of success.

“Supporting the ambitions of under-represented young people has always been important to me and Mission 44 represents my commitment to create real change within this community,” said Hamilton.

“In my early life, I experienced first-hand how coming from an under-represented background can affect your future, but, luckily for me, I was able to overcome those odds through opportunity and support.

“I want to ensure that other young people from similar backgrounds are able to do the same.”

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Hamilton is also working with Mercedes on a joint initiative called Ignite, which focuses on increasing diversity in motor sport, by improving education and offering financial support.

With several million pounds-worth of funding from Hamilton and Mercedes, the charitable foundation will develop “exciting and stimulating” curriculum materials for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, and promote greater diversity among teachers.

It will also offer funding to students who would not otherwise have the means to pursue careers in STEM subjects and motor racing.

“Mercedes have long supported my ambition to improve diversity and inclusion within the motorsport industry,” said Hamilton.

“I am so thrilled that, through Ignite, we are able to formally work together to achieve this. Diverse workforces are not only more successful but are also the morally correct approach for any industry.

“The findings of The Hamilton Commission have provided us a fantastic base to begin our work, and I am confident that Ignite will result in real, tangible change within motorsport.

“For 15 years, I have remained one of the few Black employees within Formula 1, and I am proud that my work with Mercedes is going to change that for the better.”

Earlier this month, Hamilton said that he was spurred to take action over diversity after seeing a sea of white faces in a series of photographs taken at the Mercedes factories, as the team celebrated its 2019 F1 titles.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said that he hoped the project would increase the number employees from under-represented groups at the team.

“Opening up motorsport and becoming a more diverse and inclusive team are fundamental to our team’s values and, with the full support of Mercedes-Benz, we are committed to making a positive impact on society and building a platform from which future generations can access and enjoy our fantastic sport,” he said.

“Ignite will complement our team’s own Accelerate 25 programme, and through these platforms we hope to see much more talent from under-represented groups both join our team and take up careers in the wider motorsport industry.”