Sharing the Wealth
Grant Gordon, Philanthropy Impact Chairman, posted a blog following the 5th Shaftesbury Dinner on the theme Sharing the Wealth.
The dinner was kindly hosted by Sandaire and Saxton Bampfylde. Guests included Stephen Bampfylde, Matthew Bowcock, Steven Edwards, Grant Gordon, Larissa Joy, Charles Peacock, John Pepin, Alexander Scott, Catherine Tillotson, Julia Unwin and Andy Wates.
Philanthropy Impact actively engages with professional advisers - in law, tax, accounting, banking and family offices - as they influence and encourage individuals and families of wealth to direct a portion of their wealth to those charitable causes that will achieve both the greatest impact and the greatest personal satisfaction.
The Philanthropy Impact Shaftesbury Dinner series is named in memory of Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury (1801 – 1885) who was one of the forefathers of modern philanthropy.
The aim of the Philanthropy Impact Shaftesbury Dinners is to:
• Create and disseminate ideas in relation to philanthropy
• Spread knowledge and information about the work of Philanthropy Impact – to increase philanthropy and social investment across borders, sectors and causes.
In the US, encouraged by Gates and other philanthropists, an expansive era of giving is unfolding. Total US philanthropy is approaching $400BN per annum, strongly driven by the wealthiest who are making the choice to give back. While there is a debate about how philanthropic funds are being deployed and whether certain pledges benefit society as a whole, the general ethos in the US is that the rich have a moral obligation to be givers.
Philanthropy Impact research reinforced by other studies on UK giving shows, in contrast, that giving by the UK’s wealthy is stuck in the slow lane. The majority of the giving by the wealthy is driven by a small cohort of committed and generous givers. This arguably calls into question whether giving is really embedded as part of the values of our country's richest citizens. Faced with vast unmet needs and the wide division between rich and poor there is self-interest for the wealthy to fulfill their side of the social compact. Author John Nickson and other thinkers are calling on persons of wealth to step up and support ‘Our Common Good’ through giving.
A Philanthropy Impact debate on this issue, highlighted strategies that could unleash more giving among the wealthiest in Britain. Advisers can discuss with clients their commitment to philanthropy perhaps encouraging a more strategic approach and a shift away from reactive giving. Fundraisers can help by making giving emotionally engaging, while acknowledging donor’s expectations in terms of outcomes and impact. We should all use clear and simple language when talking about giving. Those involved as givers should consider stepping into the limelight as role models to share their experiences and demonstrate how giving is making a positive impact on our communities and wider society. Building a nation where being a holder of wealth is accompanied by an automatic obligation to give will take time, but with resolve and leadership this is achievable.