Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Sharing the lessons of The Philanthropy Workshop 2013

June 21, 2013

For almost two decades, The Philanthropy Workshop has worked to create a dynamic network of strategic philanthropists who today are making a difference all around the world. As the latest cohort (our 19th!) recently finished the programme in New York, we wanted to share some of their key lessons from the year, and exciting plans for what they will do next.

This year’s group, hailing from the US, Canada, the Philippines, Sweden and the UK began the programme in London in October 2012, and travelled through Argentina and Chile in March before completing the course in May.

Perhaps the most poignant observation from this year’s programme was the relevance of sustainability to all causes people seek to positively advance. Traversing the dramatic wild landscapes in Patagonia illuminated how our well-being is inextricably intertwined with the well-being of the natural world around us. In the words of one of our hosts: “The full realisation of the human being, in a context of individual, social and environmental harmony, is the central focus of sustainable development”. Many members of the cohort expressed that this deeper appreciation for the issue of sustainability will undoubtedly influence their philanthropy- and indeed many other aspects of their lives.

A theme which recurred throughout this year’s programme is that of collaboration- not just among donors or their beneficiaries, but across the whole spectrum of agents and stakeholders in any given issue. The “Theory of Aligned Contributions” helped the group think through what role they might play in achieving impact collectively with others.  As one participant reflected at the end of our final week: “fitting your contributions into the right partnership unlocks great potential.” A number of participants were particularly struck by the recommendation to remember to speak to those who they do not agree with, and to look for allies in unexpected places.

A liberating tip offered this year is to “fail forward,” as one member of the group described it; “starting with what you can and evolving as you go, aiming for progress and not perfection, and learning from your mistakes.” And we were reminded that philanthropy is a practice. As much as TPW is about giving emerging philanthropists the time and space to develop their giving strategies, there is only so much that can be set out on paper and there is much to be learned by doing.

At the end of the programme, we had the opportunity to hear from each participant about their philanthropic plans, which, among other things, will include incubating and scaling social enterprises in the Philippines; connecting social activists around the globe with vital advocacy resources and tools; developing a portfolio of organisations in Stockholm to improve prospects for some of the world’s poorest girls; changing the trajectory of vulnerable women in Canada; and preserving some of the last remaining intact ecosystems in the United States.

Written by Natalie Tucker, Programme Officer for The Philanthropy Workshop

We look forward to welcoming our 20th Cohort to TPW this October, for information about joining us please see here or contact The Philanthropy Workshop team at tpw@instituteforphilanthropy.org or on +44 (0) 207 040 0262 (in the UK) or +1 212 513 0020 (in the US).

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After The Giving Pledge: Giving Behaviour of 22 Donors

June 4, 2013

In February this year, the Gates Foundation announced that the Giving Pledge, founded by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates in 2010, would for the first time extend its invitation to wealthy donors outside the US.  They added twelve signatories from eight non-US countries, bringing the total number of those who have so far taken the Pledge to 105. In response to this announcement, we conducted a survey of our own network of philanthropists to gauge their attitudes to the Pledge, the results of which can be viewed here. The findings of the survey raised several interesting points, of which the question of timeframe over which to disburse philanthropic assets was one.

To drill deeper into this issue, and to respond to interest from alumni of our donor education programmes, we asked philanthropists within our networks about the rate at which they intend to deploy their philanthropic assets.  They provided us with the following response about their giving behaviour.

About the 22 donors who responded to our survey

  • They come from the UK, the US, Brazil, Canada, Lebanon and Mexico;
  • They give away an annual average of $2,168,050;
  • Their foundations have an average endowment of $79,081,250;
  • Their areas of philanthropic giving, in order of frequency, are: education; children and youth; community re-generation; environment; healthcare; international development; women and girls; board governance; impact investing; reproductive health; film as a vehicle for social change; local charities; technology; transparency; human rights; encouraging philanthropy; encouraging non-profit impact; alleviation of poverty; religion; and historic preservation.
  • Eight donors had made provision for their families to pursue their own philanthropic goals separate to their own philanthropy.  Eight had not, and four others had not yet decided.

The rates of their giving

  • Of the twenty-two donors, seven had decided the precise time-frames within which they were looking to give away all of their philanthropic capital.  Three of them aim to do so within the next ten years; two of them aim to do so five to ten years after their death; one over the next five to eight years; and one over the course of the next twenty years.
  • One of the donors commented that “I strongly believe that philanthropy can be more effective when driven by the wishes and strategy of a living donor. Long-lasting philanthropic institutions can become sclerotic and bureaucratic, not always but often. Family foundations may end up with their hands tied, by a legacy directed at tackling a social problem that no longer exists. Innovation and risk taking is often reduced.
  • Another stated thatRisk taking and innovation are crucial for philanthropy. Philanthropy needs to be able to adapt as social problems and the needs of society change over time.”

The percentages of their giving

graph

The values and beliefs that drive their giving

  • “Partnership: the more we (civil society, philanthropists, NGOs and activists) can work together towards a cause, the faster we can move the needle.  Engagement: not only personal engagement, but moral and legal and financial engagement.  Empower the organisation so they do the best they can to move the needle. Help the executive team to excel in their strategy and operations to achieve their mission and reach goals they have set with their trustees (and other constituencies).”
  • “I focus on leadership and because my funds are limited, I support smallish charities with dynamic leadership in unattractive and unpopular fields where it is difficult to raise funds.”
  • “Philanthropic capital should be deployed in the most strategic way possible.”
  • “I generally believe in addressing the needs of underserved poor in the neediest parts of the world (where I have worked for much of my professional life), not the arts or environmental needs so popular among donors here at home, or SOBs (symphony, opera, ballet) – as much as I love them personally.”
  • “Everybody deserves the opportunity to grow in a safe environment, with responsible, caring and self-sufficient parents, as well, to receive quality education. Seeing how many individuals and communities have improved their lives as a result of my father´s work in philanthropy is the best example of the importance of philanthropy in my life.”

www.instituteforphilanthropy.org

For more information please contact:

Mary Glanville

Mary.Glanville@instituteforphilanthropy.org

+44 (0) 207 2400626

A response to the Giving Pledge announcement

February 19, 2013

The Giving Pledge is the most high profile public campaign promoting philanthropy among the wealthy. A unique, international survey of high net worth individuals has been conducted by the Institute for Philanthropy which reveals the attitudes of philanthropists to the Giving Pledge.

The majority of respondents (68.4%) estimate that they will give up to 50% of their wealth in their lifetimes. Of the 26.3% of respondents who estimated that they will give at least 50% of their wealth in their lifetimes less than half (four of ten) have signed up to the Giving Pledge or adopted its principles.  Two people (5%) did not respond to this question. 18.42% estimate they will give between 51-75% of wealth; 7.9% estimate they will give over 76% of wealth.  Furthermore, the majority have already decided the way in which they will carry out their giving (in their lifetimes, or through a vehicle after their death, for example).

David Sainsbury, one of the new Giving Pledge signatories announced today, explains his motivations for philanthropy: “A number of years ago my wife, Susie, and I decided that spending any more money on ourselves or our family would not add anything to our happiness, but that using it to support social progress was something that we both found deeply fulfilling. We, therefore, decided to transfer gradually most of our wealth to our charitable trusts, and looking back that has turned out to be a very life-enhancing decision.”

The motive for the four philanthropists who completed the survey and who have signed up to the Giving Pledge or have adopted principles is “Wish to devote the majority of wealth to good causes”, not “Wish to encourage other people to become more involved in philanthropy” or “Belief that wealth is a burden on future generations”.

Interestingly, our results indicate that the number of philanthropists who have already made the decision to commit the majority of their wealth to good causes is potentially much greater than the Giving Pledge campaign implies.

This could be due to a low level of knowledge of the Pledge among philanthropists (just over half of the respondents had heard of the Giving Pledge and knew what it consisted of (55.2%) and of those who have not heard of the Giving Pledge, half are in the UK (four people) and half in North America (three from the US and one from Canada)).

There are however other factors beyond a lack of knowledge: our survey found that the most common consideration behind not signing the Pledge or adopting principles is a desire to remain private. The second most popular consideration was a wish to pass wealth to future generations.

NOTES:

  • Respondents came from seven different countries, the UK (39.5%) and US (36.8%) were the most common geographies, however we also had respondents from Canada, Mexico, Netherlands, Finland and Italy.
  • The average annual giving of respondents is $1,532,941 (result possibly skewed by two donors who are giving away very large sums of money). One third of respondents are giving away at least $1m annually.
  • Of those who have signed up or have adopted the principles of the Giving Pledge, these people are giving away at least $1m philanthropically a year
  • The timeframe in which giving will take place is fairly mixed: 26.3% said the majority of giving would be carried out during the philanthropists lifetime, 31.5% said that there would be a vehicle for philanthropy after their death, and 29% said that they had not decided yet.
  • The majority of respondents reported they believed that the Giving Pledge would result in an increase in philanthropic money (71%).
  • Many respondents expressed the belief that the role of philanthropy was not just to “throw money at problems”; rather it should be well-researched, thought through and strategically deployed for impact. As one donor said of the Giving Pledge: “money shouldn’t be the only thing acknowledged”.
  • The survey was distributed throughout an influential network of philanthropists, many of whom have graduated from The Philanthropy Workshop (TPW) programme which educates major donors in the skills of strategic philanthropy.
  • 38 people responded to the survey

www.instituteforphilanthropy.org

For more information please contact:

Daisy Wakefield,

daisy@instituteforphilanthropy.org

+44 (0) 207 2400626

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: http://www.goypi.org/

TPW Alumni are honoured at the Spears Wealth Management Awards

November 6, 2012

The great and the good of the private wealth management world turned out last Tuesday for the Spears Wealth Management Awards, which this year took place at auction house Phillips de Pury in London. The awards, which are now in their sixth year, celebrate the UK’s top wealth managers, philanthropists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs for their successes, innovations and acumen in the year 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012. Whilst we could not attend the evening ourselves, we were so pleased to hear that this year the two awards for philanthropy (Philanthropist of the Year and Lifetime Achievement in Philanthropy award) were given to the Indigo Trust’s Fran Perrin, and The Funding Network’s Fred Mulder, both of whom are alumni of the Institute’s Philanthropy Workshop.

Fran Perrin, who is also a trustee of the Institute for Philanthropy, was awarded Philanthropist of the Year for her work with the Indigo Trust, a London-based grant-making foundation which supports technology driven projects to bring about social change, largely in African countries. The trust, which is still relatively young, has made great impact in affecting change in the areas in which it works, primarily in innovation, transparency and citizen-empowerment. Importantly, the Indigo Trust also represents a fantastic example of a truly strategic foundation: by investing in locally-driven initiatives, the trust is able to catalyse further social change in the communities in which its grantees work.

Fred Mulder, with three other donors, founded The Funding Network (TFN), “the friendly Dragons’ Den for charities”, in 2002. The premise of TFN is simple: that giving is more interesting, more satisfying, and probably more competent if it is done in the company of other people. One of the first open giving circles in the UK, TFN has quickly become a huge success, regularly attracting a diverse mixture of donors who are pitched to by local, national and international charitable projects. To date, TFN groups across the country have raised over £4 million for over 590 charities, an enormous achievement. Fred was also the winner of the Judges Special Beacon Fellowship Prize in March 2004, and was awarded a CBE for Services to Philanthropy in the 2012 New Year honours list.

In response to receiving the award, Fran Perrin said last week:

“I’m surprised and delighted to be awarded the Spears Wealth Management Awards Philanthropist of the Year. I hope this recognises both my passion for strategic philanthropy and also the importance of using modern technologies to improve lives across African countries. I’m very proud of the work of the Indigo Trust and the fantastic team who make it possible to support extraordinary individuals and projects.

I’m particularly pleased to see the Spears Lifetime Achievement in Philanthropy award go to Dr Frederick Mulder who, like me, has worked with the Institute for Philanthropy to help donors achieve impact.”

Both awards are extremely well-deserved, and we congratulate both Fran and Fred for their fantastic contribution to philanthropy.

Lessons from the ‘charity tax’: a blog post by Matthew Bowcock on CivilSociety.co.uk

July 10, 2012

Writing on the Civil Society blog on Monday 9th July, TPW alumnus and Chair of the Community Foundation Network, Matthew Bowcock, warns that while the prospect of a curb on tax relief for major donations is consigned to history for now, the sector should not assume that it has disappeared forever.

Reflecting upon the debate around the proposed ‘Charity Tax’, Matthew makes several interesting observations about the changing nature of the philanthropy sector in the UK. Among other points, Matthew suggests that the Charity Tax debate has highlighted the increasing independence of charities and philanthropists, has emphasised the need for better data on philanthropy, and has shown just how fragile British philanthropy now is.

Matthew concludes the piece by saying:

“Philanthropists should expect that they will come under increasing scrutiny and pressure to justify the public benefits that their giving delivers in return for tax reliefs. In any future debate philanthropy must find better ways to argue its value by presenting the benefits that it brings to society and correcting public misunderstanding. Evidence needs to go beyond quantifying the amount of giving, which is a crude ‘input’ measure, and include the economic and quantifiable social value delivered by philanthropic investments in projects, as well as the substantial benefit of time, talent and other non-financial resources that major donors often commit to the charities they support. Only then will the true value of independent philanthropy be appreciated and its role established in Britain’s culture.”

Matthew Bowcock’s blog post offers much food for thought, and we recommend that you take the time to read it. The full article is available on the Civil Society website via this link: http://bit.ly/MXU2eo

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.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

  1. For further information or to request an interview, please contact Anna Zachariassen on 07794 126211 / anna@thrivemedia.co.uk
  2. A complete list of successful applicants to both windows of the Social Action Fund is available at http://www.thesocialinvestmentbusiness.org/our-funds/social-action-fund/winners/
  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 www.thesocialinvestmentbusiness.org @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 http://www.instituteforphilanthropy.org/content/Youth-Philanthropy-Initiative

Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, has endorsed our YPI programme

June 1, 2012

The Youth Philanthropy Initiative has recently received funding from the Government’s Social Action Fund. The Minister 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.”

Philanthropy Lesson #009: Share success stories (with thanks to Sunil Mittal)

November 9, 2010

The Indian telecoms magnate and Chairman of Bharti Enterprises, Sunil Mittal, was named ‘Philanthropist of the Year’ at the inaugural session of the Asian Awards last week for his contribution in the area of education for the underprivileged. In many ways, Mittal’s newest accolade is conspicuous on the global philanthropy landscape, not only because Indian philanthropy has suffered a relatively poor reputation in the international giving tables, but because as an Indian philanthropist focussing his efforts towards his home nation he is part of an even smaller minority.

But why are Mittal’s philanthropic endeavours so incongruous with his country’s typical giving profile? Commentators cite a variety of different factors to explain this phenomenon, from India’s Janus-faced reputation in the international political economy as a country home to immense wealth and crippling poverty, to a preoccupation amongst India’s new (very) wealthy with high profile and audacious donations to their (often American, Ivy league) alma maters. That is one view; yet it is possible that these analyses are suffering from a case of short-sightedness. As Arpan Sheth of Bain & Co. highlights in his March 2010 report, India’s giving (quantified as % of GDP) actually leads that of other developing nations, ahead of both China and Brazil, for example. Others suggest that giving in India is not quantified simply by monetary donation, rather that the economy of giving is regulated through complex networks of cultural, religious and familial norms that cannot be articulated on a spreadsheet. Whatever the reasoning behind the trends in Indian philanthropy, however, one thing is clear: that there are too few visible Indian philanthropists, such as Sunil Mittal, with a focus on their native country, and opportunities to promote fantastic philanthropic work such as his ought to be celebrated.

Philanthropy Lesson #007: Invest in Talent (with thanks to Oxford and Blavatnik)

September 21, 2010

One of the more welcome orthodoxies in philanthropy is that donors should invest in the talent within an organisation; or, in sector-speak, “build capacity”. For that reason, it’s heartening to see Leonard Blavatnik’s recent gift of £75million to Oxford University, so that they can establish a School of Government there. The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Hamilton, commented that “the School represents a huge milestone in Oxford’s history. It will give tomorrow’s leaders the best of Oxford’s traditional strengths alongside new and practical ways of understanding and addressing the challenges of good governance. The University has educated 26 British Prime Ministers and over 30 other world leaders, yet until now the major international schools of government have all been outside Europe, principally in the United States. The establishment of the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford will correct that imbalance.”

More pertinently, the School, and Blavatnik’s gift, implies a belief that great leaders are not only born but nurtured. The School’s aim is to create a growing network of governance graduates, effectively building a “brains trust” whose collective knowledge and experience will help them to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. That is strategic philanthropy in action; and, for that reason, it deserves a thumbs-up.