When Hurricane Ivan struck the Caribbean in 2003, Mrs. Olde founded IAMCO, a charitable organization to assist with disaster relief and the alleviation of poverty throughout the Caribbean.
Mrs. Olde has been honored by Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II, who has named her to the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her philanthropic endeavors before, during and after Hurricane Ivan’s impact on the Cayman Islands.
Giving back is a belief with which Mrs. Olde was raised; she grew up in a family known for its commitment to community and charity. This belief continues in the UK, Cayman Islands and Canada, where Susan spends her time.
Additionally, Mrs. Olde has contributed to several pieces of literature, including Ernest Jacob Olde – A Legacy, The Art of the Cayman Islands and The National Gallery History of Art – Collections Guide, with the latter being released this year.
Susan A. Olde OBE married the late Ernest Jacob Olde IV in 1991, and they have two children, Erika Jane Olde and Ernest Jacob Olde VI. Mr. Olde was the founder of Olde Financial Corporation, a discount stock brokerage firm, which was later sold to H&R Block in 1999.
Susan A. Olde OBE’s achievements have ranged from contributing to publications to receiving awards for her philanthropic efforts
Named to the Order of the British Empire for her charitable work in the Cayman Islands
Honorary Board of Directors member at the Royal Opera House
Board Member for Have a Heart – Cayman, an organization that funds pediatric surgeries for children
Global philanthropist based in the Caribbean and London, England
Read the latest stories about the charities and organizations Mrs. Olde supports.
From donating meals to school children to supporting a variety of cultural institutions, Mrs. Olde’s contributions impact the lives of others.
In September 2004, Hurricane Ivan hit the Caribbean Islands hard. Mrs. Susan A. Olde OBE, a longtime resident of the Cayman Islands, understood that action needed to be taken quickly to rebuild and restore the island.
To assist with disaster relief and the alleviation of poverty throughout the Caribbean, Mrs. Olde founded the IAMCO Charity. For almost two years, IAMCO— thanks to generous personal involvement and contributions from Mrs. Olde—worked on the restoration of East End, beginning with the distribution of food, tarpaulins and generators to residents. By August 2006, 114 households had been repaired, 45 major reconstructions had been completed and a number of residents had been supplied with materials to do their own repairs.
In addition to her work on the Cayman Islands, Mrs. Olde has pledged significant support to the international organization Mary’s Meals. This program provides school meals to children in countries where poverty and hunger can prevent them from gaining an education. Mrs. Olde’s efforts spearheaded the program’s presence in Haiti which has now served meals to more than 4,500 children in the area.
“I hope that many other individuals, foundations and corporations will follow Mrs. Olde’s example, and show how much they care about Cayman, especially at a time when our community was in need of so much more help to assist in the recovery process.”
Mr. Bruce Dinwiddy CMG
former Governor of the Cayman Islands
Mrs. Susan A. Olde OBE has been a longtime supporter of a number of cultural institutions around the world. She believes deeply in the power of the arts to transform and support communities and culture, both through performances as well as local support for arts education.
Most recently, Mrs. Olde received an award from the Cayman National Cultural Foundation. Its National Arts and Culture Awards presented her with the Heritage Gold Cross as a patron of the arts.
Mrs. Susan A. Olde OBE is also deeply involved with the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (NCGI), the country’s leading visual arts organization. She has been on the management board since 2005, currently serving as its Chairperson and played a crucial role in the progression of the Capital Project and the development of the Permanent Collection of Art, among other initiatives. She has also sponsored several educational programs to inspire children to become more involved with the arts.
Mrs. Olde’s contributions to The Royal Opera House have sponsored numerous productions, such as The Royal Ballet’s A Winter’s Tale. As a member of the Board of Honorary Directors, she is instrumental in continuing the success of the Royal Opera House. Her contributions are currently supporting Antonio Pappano’s role as music director of the Royal Opera.
She has also supported the Academy of Vocal Arts, in honor of Bryan Hymel. In August 2014, Mrs. Olde participated in establishing the Bryan Hymel Scholarship, a comprehensive scholarship with a fellowship stipend included, which will be awarded to one outstanding Resident Artist in perpetuity. She has also seeded a fund to help Resident Artists study abroad, particularly in France, to improve language skills needed for opera and vocal performance, as well as to learn more about the culture and repertoire in France.
“Mrs. Olde is a true philanthropist who is deeply committed to providing opportunities to further arts and culture in the Cayman Islands. It is a pleasure to work alongside someone with such a dynamic vision.”
The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands
Mrs. Susan A. Olde OBE believes in the power of education to lift up and help at risk children throughout the world. She is driven to support education and youth development because of her own family’s personal experiences with learning differences, particularly her late husband’s struggle with dyslexia.
In 2003, the Olde family gifted St. Ignatius Catholic School a music building to honor the late Ernest Jacob Olde IV. This building provides a top quality educational facility for all students and allows ample rehearsal space for the many students in the school who participate in Concert Band, Training Band, Stage Band, Steel Pans, String Ensemble, Saxophone Ensemble, High School Choir, Junior Choir, Infant Choir and Musical Theatre Group.
Expanding upon her passion for youth development, Mrs. Olde established a learning support center at St. Ignatius, of which she funded for 10 years to support learning differences for students with special needs. Spearheaded by Dr. Yianoula Alexikas-Lannigan PhD, of Palm Beach County, Florida, this center was the first mainstream learning support model brought to the Cayman Islands. Mrs. Olde also served on the board of St. Ignatius for a number of years.
Through her in-depth knowledge of the education system in the Cayman Islands, Mrs. Olde has taken a keen interest in the work of a local organization LIFE (Literacy is for everyone), and has generously supported LIFE’s literacy intervention programs, such as Leveled Literacy Intervention and Partners in Print. This organization provides supplementary literacy programs for children and adults with the ultimate goal of raising literacy levels and the quality of education across the Cayman Islands.
Mrs. Olde also has a deep interest in providing mentorships for children around the Islands. In the wake of increased crime and drug demand among Cayman’s young people, the Young Caymanian Leadership Awards (YCLA) program was established to recognize and lift up local role models for the Islands’ youth. Mrs. Olde has been a Major Sponsor of the YCLA and has been working with this organization for more than eight years.
Mrs. Olde’s contribution to education doesn’t stop there. She has also contributed to Millfield Somerset UK, Kellogg College, Oxford Brookes University, University of Notre Dame, KidsCan New Zealand and the Cayman Islands Little League.
“Mrs. Olde has done a lot for the local community and is deeply respected in the Cayman Islands. She is very personable and generous, and it is a real pleasure working with her.”
Literacy is for Everyone (LIFE)
Continuing her focus on at risk children, Mrs. Olde has supported the foundation Have a Heart, which funds pediatric surgeries for children in desperate need of medical attention throughout the Caribbean region. While Have a Heart originated in India, this organization is making a substantial impact on children’s lives throughout the Caribbean, Latin and South America. Mrs. Olde serves as a board member and will have a tremendous role in the future development and expansion of this foundation.
Mrs. Susan A. Olde OBE has taken a personal interest in funding medical research because of her own personal fight with cancer, as well as the impact cancer has had on many friends and family. She worked closely with the Mayo Clinic, supporting the Division of Rheumatology and Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, and her contributions have advanced the Mayo Clinic’s research on kidney cancer. She has also served on the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center Leadership Council.