Archive for the ‘Grassroots initiative’ Category

Sharing ideas: the Nexus Europe Youth Summit and Module Three of The Philanthropy Workshop

May 15, 2013

On Saturday the 11th May, we had the great pleasure of taking part in the Nexus Europe Youth Summit on Innovative Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship at The Clubhouse in Central London. In the words of the organisers, the Summit “brought together philanthropists, investors, social entrepreneurs and allies under the age of 40 from across Europe, to inspire new leadership, greater generosity and more strategic investing in social and environmental projects”.

The Institute organised a breakout session in the afternoon under the headline, “New Models in Philanthropy – If it ain’t broke why fix it?”; Mary Glanville, Managing Director of the Institute for Philanthropy in the UK, facilitated an animated discussion between two eminent philanthropists with different approaches to giving, Fran Perrin and Marcelle Speller. Fran is the Founder and Director of the Indigo Trust, a grant-making trust that funds technology-driven projects that bring about social change, largely in African countries; and Marcelle is the Founder and CEO of the online fundraising platform for small and local charities,

The session kicked off with a discussion around the role of philanthropists today. Fran put forward the view that philanthropists ought to use their unique position to fund innovative, potentially risky, projects that the Government cannot. In some cases, that might mean providing capital in order to test a new model for delivery (governments often find it difficult to invest in “unproven” organisations or models). Marcelle agreed that philanthropists need to recognise their comparative advantage in the social change ecosystem by providing “more than money”: philanthropic investments must add up to “more than the sum of their parts”, and effect change well beyond the value of the initial investment.

Bringing “more than money” to philanthropy was a theme that ran through the discussions. Marcelle co-founded in 1996, and when she sold the business in 2005 she sought to apply her business experience from Holiday Rentals to her philanthropy. Marcelle has not only built a successful platform from which oft-overlooked social groups can raise money and awareness of their work, but she’s also leveraged substantial funds from other institutions, including Government. Earlier this year, ran a matched fund which raised an impressive total of £1.2 million from an initial £500,000 investment from the Office for Civil Society.

Fran has similarly applied her professional skills to her philanthropy, using her extensive knowledge of online and digital technologies to assess grant applications and offer advice to Indigo Trust grantees. However, whilst Fran and Marcelle have applied their substantial existing experience to philanthropy, they both recognise the need to network and learn from others. For Fran in particular, this is also about publicly sharing detailed information about the grants the Indigo Trust makes. This strong belief in funder transparency has led Indigo to sign up to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), a consistent way of publishing information about international aid.

Sharing insight and experience lies at the core of the Institute’s flagship donor education programme, The Philanthropy Workshop (TPW). TPW provides a confidential forum in which philanthropists may seek advice of their peers, get feedback, and share learnings from achievements (and failures!). This week, members of Cohort 19 of TPW are convening in New York for the third module of learning of the programme. Participants will gain practical knowledge on essential tools to measure results, learn about advocacy as a tool for social change, and receive constructive feedback on their individual strategies for giving. Upon graduation from the Workshop, they will join a supportive group of TPW alumni with whom they will continue to network and develop their knowledge of philanthropy.

For information about joining the next cohort of TPW, please see here or contact The Philanthropy Workshop team at or on +44 (0) 207 040 0262 (in the UK) or +1 212 513 0020 (in the US). 


UK YPI participants donate over £1 million to charity!

December 20, 2012

December 2012 was a landmark milestone for the Youth Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) in the UK: grants won for grassroots charities by pupils across the UK reached a grand total of £1 million!

Since launching in one school in London in 2006, YPI is now delivered in eighty five schools across England, eighty one in Scotland and, for the first time this year, in five Northern Irish schools.  The past six years have seen groups of young people across the United Kingdom identify a cause they care about and subsequently champion a local charity that commits time and effort to that cause.  Thanks to the passion, compassion, and dedication of these young people, YPI has been able to channel hundreds of grants of £3,000 to grassroots charities operating within their communities.

On 13th December 2012, pupils, staff and charity representatives celebrated this milestone at Lampton School in Hounslow, London, whilst the following day a similar celebratory event took place north of the border at Banchory Academy, Aberdeenshire.

The significance of this achievement is clear, especially as the UK’s national and local governments are further tightening the amount of funding available to charities delivering crucial services to their communities. Having spoken to many of the charities represented by YPI Participants, it is evident that their financial and human resources are suffering at this time but that the efforts and engagement shown by YPI participants is invaluable as the charities seek to foster a wider support base from within in their communities.

Kudzai, a Year 10 student from Lampton School, who is currently participating in the YPI programme, said: “YPI helped me to understand that there are people right here in my local community working tirelessly to bring about change and do the right thing. Most people my age look at our community and struggle to find inspiration but I’ve learnt that there are people right here in Hounslow working hard to make a difference and that’s inspired me to try and do what I can.”

Statements such as Kudzai’s are common from students taking part in the programme and represent a sense of responsibility to their communities present in the younger generation that all too often goes unrecognised.  As YPI donations in the UK pass the £1 million mark, we of course look forward to many more millions of pounds donated in years to come but even more so to the many thousands of young people that will commit their time, talent, and creativity to fight for causes important to them in their communities.  Here’s to the next stage of YPI’s growth in the UK.

Written by George Macpherson, YPI Schools Coordinator in the UK

You can find out more about YPI here:

PRESS RELEASE: Government funding will inspire the next generation of philanthropists

June 13, 2012

An innovative programme to raise awareness of philanthropy among young people has been awarded £303,800 from the Social Action Fund (SAF). The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) currently works with 10,000 young people in England, developing skills through hands-on experience of philanthropy and providing them with ‘real life’ experiences of charitable giving.

Working in teams to identify the social needs of their local community, pupils select a local charity that best addresses their chosen issue. They interview staff and beneficiaries before preparing a presentation for a judging panel with the best team winning a £3,000 donation for their charity. The new funding from the SAF means the London-based project can expand to the Midlands and North West, enabling a total of 18,000 pupils to participate.

Since September 2007, 40,000 young people in England have participated in YPI and over 220 local charities have benefited from donations totalling over £660,000. An evaluation report from York Consulting, also published today, praised the success of the programme to date: “YPI is an intensive, all-round skills development package for schools, with universal appeal for young people of all abilities. Feedback from young people and the commitment shown by them shows how much they enjoy and value taking part.”

Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, said:

“The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative is clearly making a real difference to communities across the UK. The money we have awarded through the Social Action Fund means this hugely successful initiative can extend its reach beyond London enabling more young people to support local good causes. It will broaden young people’s horizons, empower them to address community issues and gives them real opportunities to develop their teamwork and presentation skills. Head teachers across the country should embrace this programme.”

Alex Reynolds, YPI Director, said:

“We are hugely grateful for this support from the Social Action Fund. It will enable us to inspire thousands more teenagers across the country to positively engage with their local communities and develop a new generation of philanthropists.”


Notes to editors

  1. For further information or to request an interview, please contact Anna Zachariassen on 07794 126211 /
  2. A complete list of successful applicants to both windows of the Social Action Fund is available at
  3. The Social Action Fund is managed by The Social Investment Business, on behalf of the Cabinet Office and will fund social action projects in England from civil society organisations, public sector bodies and businesses with a track record of delivering social action programmes.
  4. The Social Action Fund is part of a broader programme of support for social action that was announced in the Giving White Paper and takes its place alongside two other funding streams – Innovation in Giving Fund and Challenge Prizes.
  5. The Social Investment Business, the largest social investor in the UK, exists to help social enterprises, charities and community organisations do more of what they do best – supporting people and communities most in need. It helps organisations prosper by providing innovative financial solutions, business support and long term strategic thinking @TheSocialInvest
  6. The Social Investment Business manages the Futurebuilders Fund and the Social Action Fund on behalf of the Office for Civil Society, the Social Enterprise Investment Fund for the Department of Health and the Communitybuilders Fund which was endowed to parent charity the Adventure Capital Fund by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
  7. It has over 1,100 active investments ranging in size and scope from, for example:
    1.  £3,600 to help a small organisation bid successfully for a public sector contract;
    2.  £6.7million to help a large national charity establish and develop innovative new services for children and young people.
  8. The Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI) is an active citizenship programme that raises awareness among young people about philanthropy. The programme was launched in Toronto by the Toskan Casale Foundation and is directed in the UK by the Institute for Philanthropy.
  9. The York Consulting Evaluation of the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative is available here

Philanthropy Lesson #005: Think Small (with thanks to Aik Saath)

September 14, 2010

Philanthropy is a world where you often hear uncomfortably lofty language; there are times when the ambitions of donors seem grandiose, if not unattainable altogether.  Tackling climate change?  Eradicating poverty?  These are problems of great complexity, and it often seems futile even to attempt their solution.

In making such an attempt, the goal – somewhat paradoxically – is to think small; to look to the roots, and particularly the grassroots, of a social issue.  This was a lesson illustrated by Aik Saath, one of the recipients of £3,000 from our Youth and Philanthropy Initiative.  Aik Saath was formed in response to ethnic unrest between Asian youths in Slough, a town a few miles from London; its successful approach was based upon engaging carefully with those closest to the problem.  They set up dispute resolution groups composed not of external advisors, but of young people who were directly affected by the rising threats and violence.  Taught by Dr. Dudley Weeks, a world expert in the field of conflict resolution, these teenagers responded so decisively that within only two years the trouble that had so sharply flared was swiftly doused.

When looking at problems of a global scale, it’s often tempting – and reassuring – to look for grand solutions.  But more often than not, as Aik Saath have shown, it’s best to look closest to home for your answers; in other words, to think small.