Case study: Young Philanthropy


Magazine article

In early 2011, Michael Harris and Adam Pike founded – a new initiative to introduce young professionals to a career of giving and a future as leading philanthropists. One year on, they have established a new model for young philanthropy and it is spreading across the city... Michael and Adam tell us more:

“In 2010, we watched Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, two of the world’s richest men, announce the Giving Pledge; an effort to invite billionaires to give away the majority of their wealth to good causes.

At the time, we had both just made the transition from youth work to jobs in the City. As recent graduates, we had limited resources but wanted to continue to contribute in a meaningful way and impact on the causes we cared about.

We spoke with friends and colleagues and were not surprised to hear of their passion on many issues with ideas to match. However, we lacked the means and platform to influence and create a positive lasting impact. It became clear that as a group we possessed significant collective wealth, energy and experience that had not been mobilised by existing funding models.

With this in mind we devised the concept of a Young Philanthropy Syndicate; a new platform that enables young professionals to form a syndicate that invests in a niche charity project, with the support of an experienced philanthropist. With their financial support, guidance and experience, the impact of the investment and experience of philanthropy is enhanced.

In partnership with the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), we devised a unique and cost-effective platform for new founders to set up and manage their own Syndicates. Three pilots have been established, each investing approximately £7,000 in a chosen cause. Five more firms have signed up to set up pilot Syndicates of their own.

Our vision is to become recognised as the key driver of young philanthropy in the UK, to represent a multitude of Syndicates across the UK and to become renowned for the quality of our Young Philanthropy Networking events. By the end of 2012, we aim to have over 15 Young Philanthropy Syndicates up and running, with an investment portfolio of over £100,000.

We see each new Young Philanthropy Syndicate as a Giving Pledge in its own right; a commitment to invest in a niche initiative that will transform people’s lives.”

For more information, you can e-mail Michael and Adam at

Michael Harris is an Associate in Tax at PwC, Adam Pike is a Management Consultant at Deloitte.