THE BEIT TRUST - 1906-2016
















Welcome to the Beit Trust  -  now in its 111th year 


The Trust was initially set up in 1906 by the Will of Mr Alfred Beit, a brilliant financier and a director of the British South Africa Company with many interests including the development of Rhodesia’s railway system. In 1903 he suffered a stroke near Salisbury, Rhodesia, and died on 16 July 1906 in England at the age of 53, leaving much of his fortune bequeathed to a wide range of charitable causes. During his lifetime Alfred Beit perceived that Northern and Southern Rhodesia (now Zambia and Zimbabwe) and their adjacent territories would for some time be too poor to provide enough money for development, and that private capital to get countries established was unlikely to be attracted at an early stage.


In his Will he therefore set up the Beit Railway Fund to promote the development of communications in the region.  He also provided that, if at a later date the Trustees should decide that the Fund was no longer required for its primary purpose, the income could be applied to "education, public or other charitable purposes in Northern and Southern Rhodesia", for the benefit of the people. In 1954 the Trust was reconstituted by an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom as an incorporated charity and, with the advent of Federation, the country of Nyasaland (now Malawi) was included in the "Specified Area" as a beneficiary.  Under Section 3 of The Act, The Beit Trust is an incorporated body. The Trust does not fundraise and seeks to continue the philanthropic work desired by the donor through the careful stewardship and maintenance in perpetuity of its existing resources.

In his Will Alfred Beit laid down the terms of the Trust which were re-emphasised in The Beit Trust Act 1954.  Although a mining magnate himself, he forbade his Trustees from investing in mining shares, other than preferred stocks.  The Trust’s benevolent mandate is for Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, and in 1946 the Trustees switched from communications infrastructure, to providing assistance in education (including postgraduate scholarships as above, teacher training, books and computers, as well as school buildings), health (including hospitals, clinics and medical equipment) welfare (including care homes for orphans and the old) and the environment (notably conservation of endangered animals).  Individual Grants do not normally exceed £50,000.  The Trustees have occasionally provided funds for crisis relief, but remain reluctant to make grants to other UK grant-making charities.

The Trustees have always given preference to funding buildings and infrastructure.  Grants are occasionally given for very large new constructions, such as bridges, hospitals, or schools, but generally most projects are chosen with the purpose of enhancing existing establishments or programmes, such as independent, rural, or mission schools, hospitals, or wildlife schemes.  It does not make grants for vehicles, and very seldom makes grants to other grant-making organisations

Detailed applications for infrastructure grants in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe should be submitted to:

The Beit Trust Representative:                                                                                        

P.O. Box CH 76                                                                                                      Chisipite                                                                                                                  Harare                                                                                                              ZIMBABWE                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

While recognising the pressing need, the Trustees are aware of the help given to AIDS alleviation and orphanages by other major donors, and therefore set limits to the Trust’s assistance with the pandemic.

Academic and vocational bursaries are also provided at selected secondary schools and training organisations, and medical bursaries are provided to selected British doctors and students whose visits will be of immediate, skilled, practical benefit to hospitals in the three beneficial countries. 

The Trust provides a limited number of Postgraduate Scholarships for relevant courses at universities in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland or South Africa.  Candidates must be domiciled in Malawi, Zambia or Zimbabwe (the “Beneficial Countries”) and aged under 30 (or 35 in the case of medical doctors).  Please note that the Beit Trust does not sponsor undergraduates; seldom sponsors PhDs, and rarely sponsors MBAs except in South Africa.  No candidate will be considered unless his/her future work is demonstrably beneficial to the people of his/her parent country. For further details look on our Scholarship page.

There is no scheme for funding “Gap-year” holidays.

General enquiries should, in the first instance, be made to:

The Secretary to the Beit Trust: 

Beit House,Grove Road Woking                                                                                                                                 Surrey GU21 5JB UK                                                                                                           E-Mail: