Two days before she was admitted into hospital for the last time, Marina compiled photos of her beloved garden and wrote in her final letter:

“I had a lovely white rose planted called ‘Marina’ and beside it is another rose called ‘Let there be Love’.  I felt Let there be Love, is so right beside ‘Marina’ because this is what I would like to see happening.”

These last words of Marina inform the mission of the foundation, established to keep her legacy alive.  The Marina H Smith foundation will support causes close to her heart and that reflect her values.

1. Love and Care for survivors

From the day the National Holocaust Centre opened, Marina was at the door welcoming survivors with a hug. She insisted the memorial centre should not only exist to learn lessons from history; it should also be a place where victims are given dignity and where survivors are heard and find a home. For almost 25 years, a day would barely pass without Holocaust survivors or their families visiting Marina for lunch or afternoon tea, served with her best china. It wasn’t just about hospitality. She took the time to listen, to visit and correspond. Many Holocaust survivors and their families felt embraced and found their voice.

Recognising the value of preserving memory and acknowledge survivors’ experiences, in 2003 she encouraged a campaign through schools in the UK to raise seed funds for Aegis Trust to establish itself in Rwanda. This enabled Aegis to work with survivors of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and the Rwandan authorities to establish the Kigali Genocide Memorial, with support from the Pears Foundation and Swedish and Belgian Governments. Reflecting the experiences at the UK National Holocaust Centre, the psychological wounds of survivors of the Genocide against the Tutsi are met at the Kigali Genocide Memorial.

The Marina H Smith Foundation will:
• Support the National Holocaust Centre to welcome, host and care for survivors.
• Support other genocide memorials and organisations to provide psychosocial support to survivors of genocide and atrocities.

Marina and Eddie named their home Beth Shalom meaning House of Peace in Hebrew, before the National Holocaust Centre opened.  Their vision of contributing to peace in a troubled world started at home.  Long after the official title was changed to The National Holocaust Centre, the original house name Beth Shalom continued to be used by many Holocaust survivors as a meaningful reflection of what the place means to them.  

In turn Aegis Trust was established with a mission to prevent genocide.  Its focus, after the establishment of the Kigali Genocide Memorial in 2004, was to develop education programmes that build peace and to contribute to reconciliation and resilience against violence.  That experience is now applied in other countries at risk of or recovering from atrocities. Peacebuilders often have lonely walks. Marina found ways to encourage and support them regardless of the resources at her disposal. Alain Lazaret in the Central African Republic added that Marina’s  “wise and powerful pieces of advice and words of consolation sparked a flame in my heart that will never, never, never be put out.  She was a beacon of light shining in our dark world of war and daily violence; she was the sweet balm, soothing the aching heart of CAR with her prayers.”

In the words of Cardinal Nzapalainga of the Central African Republic:  “Our people need a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen to their pain”.   

The Marina H Smith Foundation will:

  • Encourage and support social entrepreneurs who are building peace, especially in countries recovering from, or at risk of genocide and atrocities.

Marina was a teacher and the first Director of Education of the National Holocaust Centre.  Her emphasis was not only about the value and importance to keep alive memory and knowledge of the Holocaust, but to ensure that the injustices, exclusion and hatred that leads to genocide are addressed through education.   

The Marina H Smith Foundation will:

  • Support Holocaust education and peace education programmes, especially those that aim to build resilience against hate and violence.

Aside from her sons Stephen and James, the co-founders of the National Holocaust Centre and Aegis Trust, Marina would often support others to bring about social change, organising small fundraising campaigns for projects that otherwise may not be funded, especially when she recognised the potential in a social entrepreneur who may need a little encouragement.  

When she didn’t have resource, Marina would invest her time writing, meeting and calling to encourage them to make change, at a grassroots level. She helped people find belief that, though a small acorn, through determination and patience they could grow a vision into large oak tree.

Marina encouraged young peace builders in South Sudan and Central African Republic. 

White Rose Recycled Fashion itself is an example of this, starting with £2000 and a belief that it would grow to sustain the work of Aegis Trust.  Marina always attended the opening of the first shops and raised funds for the first clothing banks, as a sustainable source of income. It now has over 100 employees and is on course to be a major source of income for Aegis Trust’s peace building programmes.

Marina H Smith Foundation will:

  • Provide support for early-stage projects that have potential to scale in contributing to peacebuilding.
  • Encourage sustainability of projects that have enduring impact in preventing violence and resilience.

The Marina H. Smith Foundation will be managed by White Rose, a Charitable Incorporated Organisation based in the UK.

White Rose invests in social impact projects including those that were supported by Marina Smith. 

There will be three impact levels from the Marina H Smith foundation:

  1. Support of and social transformation through the causes that she strongly believed in, as outlined above.
  2. Social impact of the enterprises White Rose CIO invests in: addressing climate change, encouraging volunteering, employment and sustainable livelihoods in countries affected by or at risk of atrocities.
  3. From profit generated by the enterprises, that donate to Aegis Trust’s work.

Investment committee

That oversees investments:

Mike Saunders
Merv Chia
Glen Ford

Foundation committee

That decides on grants awarded

James Smith
Stephen Smith