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What is The Pearl Fund?

The full name of the fund is 'The Pearl Fund, The Maro Itoje African Education Programme' (known as The Pearl Fund). The fund was envisioned by the British-Nigerian philanthropist and England rugby star Maro Itoje. The Pearl Fund will work in partnership with international aid organisations, including World Vision UK and CDLi, with support from Stewardship. The fund aims to generate a multi-million-pound charitable investment in the education of children in Nigeria and wider African countries, offering long-term support to help break the cycle of poverty. 

Is The Pearl Fund only supporting Nigeria and Ghana?

The Pearl Fund aims to generate multi-million-pound investment in the education of children, and, as the fund grows, it aims to extend support to other education projects in Africa. 

How will donations be managed and used?

Donations will be made by visiting the Stewardship fundraising page, and the funds will be split with 70% going to CDLi, and 30% going towards World Vision UK education projects in Ghana.   

How will donations be split?

The aim is for 70% of all donations to go to CDLi, and the other 30% will be used by World Vision UK to fund its educational projects in Ghana. Stewardship will manage donations on behalf of The Pearl Fund, which will mean a reduced administration burden to both. Donations to The Pearl Fund will be managed by a Stewardship Partner Account that can receive the gifts made and then allocate grants from those gifts to the nominated charities, including World Vision and CDLi.

How will data be managed?

Each time a new gift is made, you will be asked for your personal information so Stewardship can meet its regulatory responsibilities in accepting gifts. You will then be given the opportunity to either share your contact information (name, email and address) with CDLi and World Vision, or make the donation anonymous. This allows you to remain in control of what information is shared. It also allows:


  • Stewardship to connect donors to the partners they support in order to complete the transaction (anonymity is respected if requested).

  • Partners the chance to reach out to our donors and thank them for their support if they want to share their details with the partners.

Stewardship Privacy Notice

Who is Maro Itoje?

Maro Itoje is an England and Saracens rugby player. He was born to Nigerian parents who moved to the UK, who instilled the importance of education in him. After attending Harrow School, Maro’s rugby career took off and he made his debut in the England squad at the 2016 Six Nations – where he has remained a leading figure ever since. The same year – whilst studying for a politics degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies – Maro guided his team, Saracens, to victory in the Champions Cup and was named European Player of the Year. His team nickname ‘The Pearl’ inspired the fund’s name. Currently playing as a lock or blindside flanker for Saracens and the England national team, Maro has won four English Premiership titles, three European Rugby Championship titles, three Six Nations titles and has been selected for two British and Irish Lions tours. He is a passionate collector and curator of African art, sitting on the Frieze 91 Committee, and his extensive philanthropic work has led to his inclusion on the 2023 ‘Powerlist’ for most influential black people in the UK. 

Who is Stewardship?

Stewardship is a donor advised fund charity registered in England and Wales. Stewardship runs a donor advised fund, which is a type of charitable giving vehicle which makes it tax-effective and easy to give. Stewardship connects and serves Christian givers, workers, charities and churches in the UK and beyond to steward their resources well and create impact for God’s Kingdom. Founded over a century ago by a small group of Christians who partnered to release generous gifts and financial support to Christian ministries, today, Stewardship helps over 30,000 people experience the joy of being generous stewards, giving more than £85 million each year to over 6,000 charities, 4,000 churches and 2,300 Christian workers.

How does Stewardship's fundraising page work?

You can give as a guest as often as you like, or you can open a Stewardship Giving Account to set up a regular gift. It’s simple to do and you can make regular and one-off charitable gifts with the account. The account allows you to easily manage all your charitable giving in one place, online:

•            Give safely and securely.

•            Maximise your giving with Gift Aid (where applicable).

•            Choose to give anonymously, if you prefer.

Stewardship will deduct from any gift up to 3.5% fee on donations, this covers admin costs and supports Stewardship's charitable activities such as training, events and resources that help charities and churches further God's kingdom.

How did The Pearl Fund select the beneficiary charities?

The Pearl Fund is managed by Stewardship. Maro Itoje advises Stewardship on how grants are made from The Pearl Fund, and these grants are made at the discretion of Stewardship, subject to reasonable due diligence on the ultimate beneficiary charity. Maro Itoje has selected World Vision UK because of their expertise in long-term development. World Vision are experts in giving children the tools they need to thrive and understand the essential role that education plays for them to succeed. The Pearl Fund will benefit from World Vision’s 70 years of expertise working with vulnerable children and their communities to create lasting change. In respect of programmes in Nigeria, The Pearl Fund will partner with CDLi. CDLi is an NGO in Nigeria which Maro selected because of their expertise in developing communities and reducing poverty within them. CDLi provides educational scholarships, health insurance, nutrition and school needs support for orphans, children with special needs and other vulnerable children. 

Why is The Pearl Fund partnering with World Vision?

World Vision UK are experts in long-term development. The Pearl Fund will benefit from World Vision’s 70 years of expertise working with vulnerable children and their communities to create lasting change. 

Why is The Pearl fund partnering with CDLi?

CDLi is an NGO in Nigeria with expertise in developing communities and reducing poverty amongst members of the community. CDLI raises educational scholarships, health insurance, nutrition and school needs support for orphans, children with special needs and other vulnerable children. 

How will children benefit from The Pearl Fund?

The Pearl Fund aims to generate a multi-million-pound investment in the education of children in Nigeria (in partnership with CDLi) and wider African countries (in partnership with World Vision UK), offering long-term support to help break the cycle of poverty. With the support of its fundraisers, The Pearl Fund hopes to raise £100,000 each year for a new cohort of children to start school in one of Lagos’ most deprived areas and guarantee their entire education will be financed ‘from cradle to college’. The fund will also operate in Eku, providing university education to young people who have already successfully completed primary and secondary education but are otherwise unable to afford university or vocational training


The long-term partnership will also fundraise for World Vision education projects in Ghana. Programmes like reading clubs, advocacy classes and mobile libraries will be secured for young people. Both areas of funding – in Nigeria and Ghana - will also have additional sectoral programmes embedded around them, such as economic support for their family, improved nutrition, and access to clean water. . 

Can I make a regular/monthly donation?

You can set up a regular direct debit and regular financial gifts with Stewardship’s Giving Account and Giving Account for Companies.  

Can I Gift Aid my donation?

Yes, you can. All eligible donations will be boosted by 25% Gift Aid, so The Pearl Fund receives more each time you give. 

Can businesses and companies get involved?

Giving from companies is a little different from individuals but Stewardship can help with any questions.

How else can I get involved with The Pearl Fund?

Follow the Pearl Fund on Twitter, Facebook, Tik Tok and Instagram, or set up a regular financial gift with a Giving Account or Giving Account for Companies. Visit World Vision to find out more about thie education projects in Africa. Visit CDLi to find out more about their education projects in Nigeria.

How does World Vision select where to work?

World Vision is one of the world’s largest children’s charities. It works to help communities to tackle the root causes of poverty – helping them protect children from early marriage, child labour, sexual violence, and the impacts of armed conflicts. With a continued presence in almost 100 countries, when disasters strike World Vision can respond immediately. Inspired by the Christian faith, World Vision has worked together with communities, partners, local leaders and governments, for over 70 years, so that children – of all faiths and none – are empowered to experience fullness of life.  

How long has World Vision worked in Ghana?

Working with children and their communities to build a better future, World Vision’s dedicated team of professionals has been in Ghana since 1979. World Vision partner with parents, like-minded organisations, faith leaders and the government to address the underlying causes of poverty and injustice.

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